Primary Care

Established in 1977, the Residency in Primary Care/Ocular Disease is one of the largest residency programs in the country.

It is an rigorous 54-week (or equivalent) educational program at The Eye Institute, the patient care facility of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University. This residency provides an exceptional clinical experience. The residents have the opportunity to provide primary, secondary, and tertiary eye care to our uniquely established patient base in an urban, inner-city neighborhood. This includes diagnosis, treatment, and management of visual disorders, binocular and accommodative disorders, anterior and posterior segment eye pathology as well as ocular manifestations of systemic disease. Our primary care/ocular disease residents also rotate through the various Specialty Ocular Disease Services, Emergency Service, and Pediatrics/Binocular Vision Service under the guidance of our top-notch faculty to further their knowledge and advance their clinical skills in all aspects of optometric care.


The mission of the Residency in Primary Care/Ocular Disease is to recruit qualified graduating or graduate optometrists; to train the entry level graduate optometrist in advanced patient care through clinical management and co-management experiences in a broad range of ophthalmic disorders; to provide an orientation and an ongoing didactic program throughout the year; to promote development of skills as an educator and self-learner; and to provide a suitable environment in which the resident can flourish.

The nature of the patient population at The Eye Institute provides the foundation for the resident to hone their entry level skills to an advanced level and to cultivate new skills and knowledge as well. The resident is able to achieve the objectives of the program through an appropriate level of supervision and support of a highly trained clinical faculty of optometrists and general and subspecialty ophthalmologists leading to clinical autonomy.

The Primary Eye Care residents are typically assigned 40-44 hours per week. About half the time is in Primary Care, and the other half is in Specialty Services, as well as in various educational activities. Residents are also required to attend lectures and conferences which are scheduled outside of normal patient care responsibilities.

  • Primary and Secondary Care - Each resident is assigned to a Primary Care Service Unit in The Eye Institute. The resident examines and manages patients with refractive/binocular vision problems, as well as ocular and systemic disease processes, both in a direct care mode and as the supervisor of optometric interns.
  • Emergency Eye Care - Under appropriate supervision, residents manage their own patients in the Emergency Service, where they see walk-in patients with ocular urgencies/emergencies, an average of one session per week. Patients may be referred to our ophthalmology subspecialists. In addition, each resident is on-call weekends and evenings four to five weeks per program year.
  • Specialty Services
    • Residents are assigned to the following Specialty Services in The Eye Institute on a rotating basis:
      • Vitreo-retinal Disease
      • Neuro-Ophthalmic Disease
      • Specialty Glaucoma
      • Cornea and External Disease
      • Specialty Contact Lenses
      • Special Populations
      • Pediatrics/Binocular Vision
    • Residents may also have the opportunity to participate in other services in The Eye Institute and other area eye care venues.
  • Residents actively attend and participate in well-rounded educational program throughout the year, which includes case discussions, conferences, lectures, and workshops. They also participate in Grand Rounds presentations to fourth year students, fellow residents, and faculty members. A schedule for conferences/ lectures is distributed to the residents on a quarterly basis. Our primary care residents are also typically assigned to teach in our clinical skills laboratory on a rotating basis throughout the program year.
  • Residents play an active role in various local and national continuing education conferences (AAO, AOA, SECO, etc.) via poster and paper presentations.
  • Residents are occasionally asked to conduct vision screenings off-campus and to participate in other College activities. An additional stipend may be paid for these services.

Sample Primary Care/Ocular Disease Resident Schedule (PDF)