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.
Residents are assigned to 40-44 hours of activities per week which include clinical assignments which include Saturday assignments and didactic conference activities. Activities are supervised by a highly trained clinical faculty, which includes optometrists, general and specialty ophthalmologists, and subspecialists 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.
The residencies consist of clinical assignments, a didactic program, and scholarship. A schedule is designed for each resident that complies with the program requirements as approved through the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education.
The residencies are conducted primarily at TEI, 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.
- 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 on Fridays at The Eye Institute. This 1-hour program consists of case presentations and discussions and is attended by faculty, residents, students, and local optometrists. Each resident is required to attend all of these meetings throughout the year unless otherwise assigned. Each resident is also required to give one 30-minute grand rounds presentation during the course of the year at this venue.
- Resident's Day – Residents are also required to attend and present at the annual Resident’s Day Conference were attendance is mandatory.
- Conferences - Regularly scheduled conferences include anterior segment ocular disease; glaucoma; retina; 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. The residents are assigned to an average of 4 hours of conference activities per week. 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 clinical skills, 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 through the University.
- Each resident is required to write a publishable paper/manuscript before the end of the program.
- Residents are required to present at least one 30-minute grand rounds presentation at the biweekly Friday morning Grand Rounds Program during the year.
- Residents are required to present at least one 15-minute rapid fire grand rounds presentation during Resident’s Days.
- Residents are required to submit one abstract for a presentations/poster to the American Academy of Optometry for Residents Day at the annual Academy Meeting.
- Residents are expected to conduct independent study consisting of reading pertinent literature on topics that support the educational objectives of the program.
- While formal 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 Learning Resource Center (LRC) at the Elkins Park campus and personal faculty libraries at The Eye Institute. Literature search and article copy services are also available through the LRC.
Resident Supervision and Evaluation
Residents are supervised and evaluated by the Coordinator of their program and Chief of their assigned Service Unit. The evaluation process includes feedback from mentors and faculty 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 (two midterm and one final) along with other feedback given as appropriate.
Criteria for completion
- Attendance at all clinical assignments
- Attendance at all scheduled resident conferences unless conflicting with a clinical assignment
- Acceptable level of performance in all areas of the program based on resident evaluations
- Completion of a final publishable quality manuscript
- Presentation of two Grand Rounds presentations (one during the Grand Rounds Program and one during Resident’s Days)
- Submission of one abstract for a poster/presentation to AAO
- 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.
Most the on-campus residency programs, except for the two-year Neuro-Ophthalmic Disease program, are either a traditional 54-week program or concentrated 52-week program. The Neuro-Ophthalmic Disease residency is 104 weeks (two years) in duration.
Candidates who are U.S. citizens are enrolled in the traditional 54-week program starting on July 1 of the start year and ending on July 15 of the following academic year. The 54-week program was designed to provide a two week overlap between outgoing and incoming Residents to aid in the transition of patient care and with orientation of the incoming Residents.
Candidates who are non-U.S. citizens are enrolled in the concentrated 52-week program starting on July 1 of the start year and ending on June 30 of the following academic year. The concentrated program spans from visa restrictions on the OPT extension of the F1 student visa which is 12 months in duration. To make up for the missed two weeks of activities, residents enrolled in the concentrated 52-week program are required to complete five additional Saturday patient care days. A Saturday counts for two patient care sessions. 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 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 54-week program which begins on July 1 of the start year and ends on July 15 of the following academic year.
- 1. 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 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.