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Residency in Primary Care Optometry

Basic Information

Category Title: Ocular Disease
Program Area of Emphasis: Primary Care Optometry
Program Site: Ralph H. Johnson VAMC
Program Location: VA
Program Address: 109 Bee Street

Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Phone Number: 843-577-5011
Fax Number:
Affiliation: Southern College of Optometry
Director of Residency Education:

Cheryl E. Mengelt, O.D.

Program Application Deadline: January 1
Program URL:

Program Description

Date Program Established: 01/2011
Accreditation Status: Accredited

Click here for more information about accreditation of optometric residency programs.

Combined Residency/Graduate Program: No
Program Mission Statement:

The mission of this residency program is to prepare optometrists in providing ocular disease and full-scope primary care optometry. Residents will be taught the clinical education necessary to become practitioners who are able to deliver both ocular disease and primary care optometry, including therapeutic management of ocular disease, contact lenses for medically necessary needs, and low vision/rehabilitative eye care, in a multidisciplinary environment. This program will provide academic and clinical experiences that will enable residents to expand their knowledge base, strengthen their patient care skills, and participate in clinical and academic education. Individuals who complete the program are expected to be able to deliver a high level of clinical care and to serve as optometric educators.

Program Description:

Goal 1: Provide the resident with experience in Ocular Disease and Primary Care Optometry, including the role of ocular diagnostic and therapeutic drugs in the diagnosis and management of complex ocular conditions.

Goal 2: Provide the resident with experience in Low Vision / Vision Rehabilitation Optometry to strengthen clinical competence in delivering Vision Rehabilitative eye care

Goal 3: Provide the resident with clinical teaching experiences and training to enable them to become Attending Optometrists in outpatient clinical or hospital-based primary eye-care settings.

Goal 4: Provide the Resident with didactic teaching experiences.

Goal 5: Provide the Resident with research experiences and training to enable them to not only appreciate the significance of research in clinical practice, but to engage in, and conduct worthwhile clinical research and other scholarly activity.



Program Length: 1 year
Number of Positions Available in Program: 2
Program Starting Date: July 1
Typical Weekly Hours and After-Hours Responsibilities:

Daily hours are 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday - Thursday. Each resident may have an emphasis after completing the requirements. Low Vision is 25%, Ocular Disease is 50% and Contact Lenses are 25%. 




Requirements for Completion:

A.  The resident is required to deliver clinical services at a level that is satisfactory to the Residency Program Supervisor, the Director of Residency Programs, and the SCO and Ralph H. Johnson VAMC administrations. Normal clinic hours are from 7:00 A.M. until 5:30 P.M., Monday through Thursday (four ten hour work days). The resident is expected to be present during all working hours, except attending conferences and doing study or research. The resident will carry a pager while in the clinic in order to address urgent eye problems. However, optometry residents are not required to answer calls during off-duty hours. 

B.  The resident is required to keep a record of patient contacts.  Cases will be reviewed periodically by the Program Supervisor of the Residency Program, and the Director of Residency Programs.

C.  The resident is required to write a publication quality paper based on original research, literature review, or a clinical case. The resident will be encouraged to submit this paper to an approved journal.

D.  The resident will be required to deliver an oral presentation at the annual Resident Weekend, held on the campus at SCO.

E.  The resident is expected to perform in a professional manner in the delivery of patient care services and to observe those proprieties of conduct and courtesies that are consistent with the rules and regulations governing Ralph H. Johnson VAMC.

F.  The resident is required to participate in and complete the requirements set forth in the curriculum.

G.  Upon successful completion of the Residency Program, the Residency Supervisor and the Director of Residency Programs will recommend the granting of certification to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

H.  Any resident accepted for training can be dismissed, without receiving a certificate of completion, for infractions of the rules and regulations of the Ralph H. Johnson VAMC or those set forth by Southern College of Optometry, for any action which jeopardizes the safety of patients, personnel, or physical facilities.

A resident rotating through a hospital based (or similar) residency program must adhere to all facility policies and procedures, including but not limited to, receiving all required immunizations or showing appropriate medical documentation that he/she is in full medical compliance with required immunizations.  In addition, if a resident cannot receive a flu or similar immunization due to potential allergic reaction, medical documentation must be made available to the Program Supervisor prior to the program's start date.  A resident should receive the required immunizations provided by the facility when appropriate.  Otherwise, any costs incurred will be the resident's responsibility.  Any grievances should be submitted in writing to SCO's Director for Residency Programs utilizing the procedures found in the Residency Handbook.


Program Salary/Stipend: $34,888.00. Compensation is not contingent upon productivity of the resident.
Program Benefits and Liability Coverage: Health Coverage

Professional Liability Insurance


Paid Sick Leave

Completion Certificate: Yes
VA Hospital Affiliation: Yes

Key Contacts

Program Coordinator, Coordinator Title: William Denton, Residency Supervisor
Telephone: 843-577-5011
E-mail Address:
Program Co-Coordinator, Co-Coordinator Title:
E-mail Address:

Application Information

Application Materials and Procedures:

Cheryl E. Mengelt, O.D., Director of Residency Programs, Southern College of Optometry, 1245 Madison Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104, 901-722-3201 901-722-3244 (fax)

Selection Procedure and Admission Criteria:

A.  All applicants must complete the SCO application online at All applicants must complete the Optometry Residency Match (ORMatch), and provide all required supporting documentation by the deadline of January 1 to be considered for an SCO program.

  1. You must have already passed NBEO Part I, II and TMOD in order to apply to one of our programs through ORMatch.

  2. You must have passed NBEO Part III and ISE (if applicable) in order to begin an SCO affiliated residency program. 

  3. Those applying to a VA hospital or a state that does not require TMOD to obtain licensure are an exception if TMOD is not passed on first attempt.

B. Applicant must have earned an O.D. degree, or will have earned such a degree by the time of matriculation from a school/college of optometry accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education. 

C. Applicant will furnish a transcript to ORMatch from his/her school/college of optometry. An applicant should have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the professional optometric curriculum.

D. Applicant must pass all parts of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry examinations required for state licensure. If accepted, the resident is expected to obtain the appropriate state license.

E. A personal interview will be required. 

F. The College affirms that no person shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity at or affiliated with Southern College of Optometry on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, gender, age, disability, or national origin.




United States citizenship is required to qualify for VHA appointment in a paid VA optometry resident position funded by the Office of Academic Affiliations. Reference: VA Handbook 5005/57, Part II, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3.g.(1) & (5)(c), dated June 14, 2012.
Program Application Deadline: January 1

Additional Comments

All applicant requirements (CV, letter of intent, transcripts, NBEO scores, and three letters of recommendation) are due to Dr. William Denton by January 1.