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Donald L. Budenz, MD, MPH

David Fleischman, MD, MS, FACS

Meredith R. Klifto, MD

The University of North Carolina Department of Ophthalmology offers a one-year Glaucoma Fellowship for each year’s trainee to work alongside and under the supervision of our glaucoma faculty mentors — Donald Budenz, MD, MPH, David Fleischman, MD, MS, FACS and Meredith Klifto, MD. Led by Fellowship Program Director Dr. David Fleischman, our program trains fellows in all aspects of diagnosis, clinical care and surgical management of glaucoma using the latest approaches to treatment and state-of-the-art equipment.

Medical and Surgical Training

Each year’s glaucoma fellow administers outpatient care at the UNC Kittner Eye Center and operates at the local area UNC Hospitals Hillsborough campus training exclusively with our glaucoma faculty specialists.

The fellow will assist in pediatric glaucoma clinical and surgical care under the mentorship of Dr. Klifto and the Division of Pediatric & Strabismus Surgery’s Michelle Go, MD, MS. Glaucoma fellowship training includes the diagnostic modalities of gonioscopy, optic disc evaluation and visual field and nerve fiber layer interpretation.

Surgical training will include trabeculectomy with MMC (with and without the Ex-PRESS Glaucoma Filtration Device), glaucoma drainage implants (Ahmed, Baerveldt and ClearPath), cyclophotocoagulation, combined glaucoma and cataract surgery, complex cataract surgery (small pupil, posterior synechiae, pseudoexfoliation, trauma) and iris repairs. Our minimally invasive glaucoma procedural training includes, but is not limited to, Kahook Dual Blade, Trabectome, iStent, and Hydrus implants. In addition, our program trains fellows in achieving proficiency in laser trabeculoplasty, laser peripheral iridotomy and argon laser peripheral iridoplasty.

The typical one-year fellowship consists of seeing consultation patients with our glaucoma faculty experts and participating in their surgeries. The fellow also spends up to one-half day per week supervising and teaching residents in a glaucoma and urgent care clinic, rotates seeing consults with residents, as an extension of rotating as attending faculty-on-call.

Weekly Grand Rounds in the Ophthalmology Department are held Wednesday mornings and consist of presentations of interesting cases by residents and fellows with discussion among faculty. The glaucoma fellow will meet on a regular basis with glaucoma faculty and rotating residents to discuss interesting topics and/or journal club articles. Glaucoma Service Rounds are held twice monthly.


While strong clinical training is the core of the program, research opportunities (both clinical and basic science) abound. Our program is supplemented by the invaluable contribution of Dr. Jean-Claude Mwanza (Research Associate Professor in Glaucoma Diagnostic and Epidemiology Research) and Dr. Emily Gower (Associate Professor of Ocular Epidemiology).

The department’s clinical faculty and basic science researchers can serve as a valuable source of ideas and  resources for research projects.  Each fellow is expected to complete at least one research project (clinical or basic science). Along with residents, each year’s glaucoma fellow presents the results of their research in a two-day program held in the month of June.   The department additionally encourages and funds fellows to present their research at an academic meeting such as AAO, ARVO or AGS.


Fellows must obtain an unrestricted North Carolina state medical license prior to beginning the fellowship. All 3 parts of the USMLE must be passed for the North Carolina medical license.

Salary, Vacation & Benefits

UNC Department of Ophthalmology offers highly competitive salary compensation to its fellows. As medical staff appointees, UNC Ophthalmology fellows also receive a generous benefits package that includes medical malpractice insurance and health benefits.

Fellows are allowed two weeks of vacation per year. Extra time will be allotted towards end of fellowship for job interviews as well as for meeting presentations, fellow-specific wet labs and courses. UNC Ophthalmology follows the University of North Carolina holiday schedule for all residents and fellows.

Application Process

The deadline for applications is October 1st of the year prior to the July 1st starting date for a fellowship.  Applicants should apply to the SF Match ( and complete the CAS Glaucoma Fellowship application. See SF Match website for deadline. Fellowship program applicants are encouraged to contact Glaucoma Fellowship Program Director David Fleischman with any questions.