Program Design

The residency programs are designed to provide the graduate optometrist excellent training experiences through extensive participation in patient care provided to a large and diagnostically diverse patient population, through rotations to specialized clinical services, and through special lectures and conferences.

Resident activities are supervised by a highly trained clinical faculty, which includes optometrists, general and specialty ophthalmologists, and specialists in other related disciplines.

As in traditional medical residencies, these residency programs emphasize learning through teaching for a large portion of the program.  In this system, residents expand and refine their own learning through supervision of optometry students.  This allows the residents to practice at their highest level and to concentrate on more complex diagnostic and treatment procedures.

Subject Content

The residencies consist of clinical assignments, a didactic program, and research and independent study. A schedule is designed for each resident that complies with the program requirements.

Clinical Assignments

The residencies are conducted primarily at The Eye Institute, the patient care facility of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University.  It is one of the largest optometric facilities of its kind in the world and has over 45,000 patient visits a year.  Patients are drawn from the major metropolitan area, as well as from throughout the country. Residents may also rotate through our satellite clinics or other off-site locations based on programmatic design. 

Each resident is assigned to a specific Service Unit: a Primary Care Suite, the Pediatrics/Binocular Vision Service, the Feinbloom Vision Rehabilitation Center, Neuro-Ophthalmic Disease Service or the Cornea and Specialty Contact Lens Service. Descriptions of clinical activities of each program are included in the fact sheets. Specific information regarding clinical activities can be found in the Program Goals and Objectives.

Didactic Program

  • Orientation - During the two-week orientation period, a series of lectures covers various operational and patient care protocols in The Eye Institute. Additionally, there are schedule periods of observation that allow the resident to become familiar with the patient flow, suite or subspecialty operation and student intern education.
  • Grand Rounds - Residents attend the Grand Rounds program, which is held biweekly at The Eye Institute. This 1.5-hour program consists of case presentations and discussions and is attended by faculty, residents, and fourth year students.  Each resident is required to attend all of these meetings throughout the year unless otherwise assigned.
  • Resident's Day – Residents are also required to present at the annual Resident’s Day Conference were attendance are mandatory. 
  • Conferences - Regularly scheduled conferences include anterior segment ocular disease; glaucoma; retina; fluorescein angiography; emergency eye care; neuro-ophthalmic disease; and ocular pathology.  Conferences, as well as regularly scheduled informal case discussions, are conducted by clinical faculty specialists in these areas.  These conferences/lectures are in addition to the residents scheduled patient care responsibilities.
  • Laboratories - Residents may be assigned to teach in relevant laboratories, such as primary care methods, pediatrics, vision rehabilitation or neuro-anatomy when applicable. This allows to enhance their working knowledge of a specific subject and to gain teaching experience if desired.
  • Residents may attend regular didactic courses, electives, and continuing education courses offered at the College.

Research / Independent Study

Each resident is required to write a publishable paper/manuscript before the end of the program.

Residents are required to present at least one case and discuss diagnostic and management rationale at a COPE-approved Grand Rounds program during the year. 

Residents are expected to conduct independent study consisting of reading pertinent literature on topics that support the educational objectives of the program.

While research is not required, residents are encouraged to participate in new or ongoing research projects at the College.

Teaching and Learning Resources

The entire faculty and staff of The Eye Institute and the college are learning resources for the residents.  Residents may use the library at the Elkins Park campus and personal faculty libraries at The Eye Institute. Literature search and article copy services are also available.

Resident Supervision and Evaluation

Residents are supervised and evaluated by the Chief or coordinator of their assigned Service Unit, in conjunction with the staff of all services to which they are assigned. Overall supervision is by the Director of On-Campus Residency Programs in accordance with a written Supervision Policy. The resident receives formal written evaluations three times a year along with other feedback given as necessary.

Criteria for completion

  1. Attendance at all clinical assignments
  2. Attendance at assigned lectures and conferences
  3. Acceptable level of performance in all areas of the program based on Resident Evaluations
  4. Completion of a publishable quality paper/manuscript
  5. Presentation of a COPE-approved Grand Rounds lecture
  6. Attendance of one optometric meeting of the Resident's choosing 
Certain programs may have additional requirements. Please see the individual programs Goals and Objectives. A certificate of completion is awarded upon completion of the program.

Residency Duration

With the exception of the Neuro-Ophthalmic Disease residency, the majority of our residents complete the traditional 52 or 54-week residency program. The Neuro-Opthalmic Diseas residency is 104 weeks (two years) in duration. However, citizenship status may dictate which program they may be eligible for.  These stipulations are in place due to certain visa requirements.  The eligibility criteria for each program are noted below.

  • Traditional 52 or 54-week program: Candidates who are U.S. citizens and enrolled in a U.S. Optometry School will be eligible to apply to our traditional 52 or 54-week program which begins on July 1 of the start year and ends on July 15 of the following academic year. 
  • Concentrated 52-week program: Candidates who are non-U.S. citizens and enrolled in a U.S. Optometry school will require an Optional Practice Training (OPT) VISA under their F1 Student VISA, which is 12 months (52-weeks) in duration.  Therefore, these candidates will be eligible to apply to our concentrated 52-week program.  The 52-week program is an educational and clinical equivalent of our 52 or 54-week program and is designed to be completed in a more concentrated fashion. 
  • Prospective residents on a F1 visa must apply for an OPT visa 90 days prior to completion of studies. Candidates should contact the Designated School Official (DSO) at their current institution to begin the process. All persons appointed to the staff of Salus University/Pennsylvania College of Optometry are required to provide, on the first day of work, written documentation that they have authorization to work in the United States.
At this time we are not accepting applications from candidates who are enrolled in optometry schools or colleges not accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education. The institution is also not actively pursuing residency candidates who currently have or are only eligible for the H1B VISA.  We acknowledge the limitations that this may cause for otherwise well qualified applicants, and we are dedicated to evaluating all viable options for the future.