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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Lama Al-Aswad, MD, MPH, Department of Ophthalmology, New York University School of Medicine, NYU Langone Health, 222 E 41 St, New York, NY 10017 (lama.al-aswad@nyulangone.edu)

Author Contributions: Dr Gong had full access to all the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: Gong, Winn, Chen, Domeracki, Mitchell, Naseri, Siatkowski, Al-Aswad. Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: Gong, Winn, Beal, Blomquist, Culican, Dagi Glass, Goshe, Jones, Khouri, Legault, Martin, Mitchell, Oetting, Olson, Pettey, Reinoso, Reynolds, Siatkowski, SooHoo, Sun, Syed, Tao, Taravati, WuDunn.

Drafting of the manuscript: Gong, Legault, Martin, Olson, SooHoo, Al-Aswad. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Gong, Winn, Beal, Blomquist, Chen, Culican, Dagi Glass, Domeracki, Goshe, Jones, Khouri, Mitchell, Naseri, Oetting, Pettey, Reinoso, Reynolds, Siatkowski, Sun, Syed, Tao, Taravati, WuDunn, Al-Aswad.

Statistical analysis: Gong, Legault. Administrative, technical, or material support: Winn, Beal, Blomquist, Culican, Dagi Glass, Domeracki, Jones, Oetting, Pettey, Reinoso, Reynolds, Sun, Taravati, Al-Aswad. Supervision: Winn, Chen, Goshe, Khouri, Naseri, Reynolds, Tao, Al-Aswad.

Disclosures: Dr Chen reported receiving personal fees from Carl Zeiss Meditec, Allergan, and Alimera Sciences, Inc, outside the submitted work. Dr Dagi Glass reported receiving an unrestricted departmental grant to Columbia Ophthalmology from Research to Prevent Blindness during the conduct of the study.

Dr Khouri reported receiving grants from Allergan and NJ Health Foundation outside the submitted work. Dr Taravati reported receiving grants from Research to Prevent Blindness during the conduct of the study.

Dr Al-Aswad reported serving as the President of Women in Ophthalmology in 2018. No other disclosures were reported.


Research Funding:

This study was supported in part by an unrestricted grant from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc (Drs Gong, Winn, Chen, Dagi Glass, and Al-Aswad), to the Columbia University Medical Center Department of Ophthalmology;

An unrestricted grant from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc (Dr Culican), to the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Washington University;

Vision Core Grant P30 EY 0268 from the National Institutes of Health.


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Ophthalmology

Gender Differences in Case Volume Among Ophthalmology Residents

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Journal Title:

JAMA Ophthalmology


Volume 137, Number 9


, Pages 1015-1020

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Importance Although almost equal numbers of male and female medical students enter into ophthalmology residency programs, whether they have similar surgical experiences during training is unclear. Objective To determine differences for cataract surgery and total procedural volume between male and female residents during ophthalmology residency. Design, Setting, Participants This retrospective, longitudinal analysis of resident case logs from 24 US ophthalmology residency programs spanned July 2005 to June 2017. A total of 1271 residents were included. Data were analyzed from August 12, 2017, through April 4, 2018. Main Outcomes and Measures Variables analyzed included mean volumes of cataract surgery and total procedures, resident gender, and maternity or paternity leave status. Results Among the 1271 residents included in the analysis (815 men [64.1%]), being female was associated with performing fewer cataract operations and total procedures. Male residents performed a mean (SD) of 176.7 (66.2) cataract operations, and female residents performed a mean (SD) of 161.7 (56.2) (mean difference, −15.0 [95% CI, −22.2 to −7.8]; P < .001); men performed a mean (SD) of 509.4 (208.6) total procedures and women performed a mean (SD) of 451.3 (158.8) (mean difference, −58.1 [95% CI, −80.2 to −36.0]; P < .001). Eighty-five of 815 male residents (10.4%) and 71 of 456 female residents (15.6%) took parental leave. Male residents who took paternity leave performed a mean of 27.5 (95% CI, 13.3 to 41.6; P < .001) more cataract operations compared with men who did not take leave, but female residents who took maternity leave performed similar numbers of operations as women who did not take leave (mean difference, −2.0 [95% CI, −18.0 to 14.0]; P = .81). From 2005 to 2017, each additional year was associated with a 5.5 (95% CI, 4.4 to 6.7; P < .001) increase in cataract volume and 24.4 (95% CI, 20.9 to 27.8; P < .001) increase in total procedural volume. This increase was not different between genders for cataract procedure volume (β = −1.6 [95% CI, −3.7 to 0.4]; P = .11) but was different for total procedural volume such that the increase in total procedural volume over time for men was greater than that for women (β = −8.0 [95% CI, −14.0 to −2.1]; P = .008). Conclusions and Relevance Female residents performed 7.8 to 22.2 fewer cataract operations and 36.0 to 80.2 fewer total procedures compared with their male counterparts from 2005 to 2017, a finding that warrants further exploration to ensure that residents have equivalent surgical training experiences during residency regardless of gender. However, this study included a limited number of programs (24 of 119 [20.2%]). Future research including all ophthalmology residency programs may minimize the selection bias issues present in this study.

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© 2019 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.

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