This starts with hands-on practice in our on-site clinical skills labs, beginning in the students’ first year, comprehensive patient care at The Eye Institute, our clinical learning facility, in the second year, and continues through 15-months of externships beginning in the third year. Graduates of PCO enter the profession with nearly 3,000 hours of clinical experience.
Clinical concepts and skills training begin in the first semester of the first year, followed by an expedited entry into patient care experiences and a significantly expanded clinical training program. The Eye Institute is the clinical facility for our optometry students. Located a few miles from the main campus, TEI offers students the opportunity to work with patients ranging from infants to the elderly and who present diverse vision and eye problems. By the middle of their second year, students are integrated into The Eye Institute and its two satellite locations as full participants in the service delivery system, which manages 40,000 annual patient visits.
PCO students are provided with the most expansive clinical experiences in optometric education. As a result of this early exposure, our students also have an expedited entry into PCO’s 15-month extensive externship program. The exceptional clinical education received by our students prepares each of them to assume a leadership role in the delivery of comprehensive eye and vision care in the community.
The Eye Institute
The Eye Institute (TEI), located close to the Elkins Park campus, serves as PCO’s clinical teaching facility. This community clinic manages more than 60,000 visits each year and puts direct patient care on student’s resumes. At The Eye Institute, students treat patients who range from infants to seniors and are exposed to a wide range of eye diseases and conditions not typically encountered. Students are able to collaborate with optometrists, ophthalmologists, opticians, and optometric technicians to deliver the highest quality of eye care in an actual community setting.
The Eye Institute undertook an $11 million renovation that broke ground in April 2010. A 15,000 square foot expansion was added on to the lower level of the original building to allow all patient care services to occur on one level. The rehabilitation of the existing facility’s interior included new walls and layout, new ceilings, flooring, wall coverings, lighting and furniture, along with wiring that supports the integration of electronic health records.
The Eye Institute is home to state-of-the-art technology that optimizes the delivery of patient services and fosters a quality learning environment for PCO students.