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Residency in Primary Care Optometry, with Emphasis in Ocular Disease

Basic Information

Category Title: Primary Care Optometry
Program Area of Emphasis: Ocular Disease
Program Site: WJB Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Program Location: VA
Program Address: 6439 Garners Ferry Road

Columbia, South Carolina 29209
Phone Number: 803-776-4000, ext. 7062
Fax Number: 803-695-7960
Affiliation: Southern College of Optometry
Director of Residency Education:

Cheryl E. Mengelt, O.D.

Program Application Deadline: March 1
Program URL:

Program Description

Date Program Established: 01/1996
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 the residency is to prepare optometrists to provide full-scope primary care optometry with an emphasis in ocular disease by providing post-graduate clinical experience beyond that provided in the Doctor of Optometry program.

Program Description:

Goal 1: Enhance the resident’s skills in optometric primary care

Goal 2: Strengthen the resident’s expertise in the diagnosis and management of ocular disease.

Goal 3: Expand the resident’s knowledge of specialized diagnostic procedures.

Goal 4: Increase the resident’s knowledge of systemic diseases and their treatment.

Goal 5: Enhance the resident’s knowledge of specialty optometric care.

Goal 6: Develop the resident’s skill in presenting topics to fellow professionals.

Goal 7: Instill in the resident an appreciation of the importance of scholarly activity.


Program Length: 1 year
Number of Positions Available in Program: 3
Program Starting Date: July 1
Typical Weekly Hours and After-Hours Responsibilities:

Each resident will work a compressed schedule, which includes a 4 day work week each week with ten hour work days. One half day each week will be specialty clinic exam slots one hour in length each for low vision and specialty contact lens fitting. (The weekly day off will be determined by the supervisor and will remain consistent throughout the duration of the residency. Each resident will have a different day off than their fellow resident to help facilitate overall clinic flow.) The WJB Dorn Optometry Residents will be responsible for taking call during their normal tour of duty only (7a - 5:30p) and will not be responsible for after-hours call or weekends. The Resident will cary the on-call pager on a rotating basis per a pre-determined schedule.

Requirements for Completion:

A.  The resident is required to deliver clinical services at a level that is satisfactory to the Residency Supervisor, the Director of Residency Programs, and the SCO and William Jennings Bryan Dorn VAMC administrations. Normal clinic hours are 7:00 A.M. until 5:30 P.M. The resident clinics operate on a compressed schedule with four ten hour days per week which affords the resident a week day off each week. The resident is expected to be present during all working hours, except attending conferences and doing study or research. The residents will share the responsibility of carrying the 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 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.

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 profesional 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 William Jennings Bryan Dorn VAMC.

F.   The resident will be 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 Wiliam Jennings Bryan Dorn VAMC or those set forth by Southern College of Optometry, or 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: Anthony Van Alstine,O.D., Residency Supervisor
Telephone: 803-776-4000, ext. 7062
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. All applicants must complete the Optometry Residency Match (ORMatch), and provide all required supporting documentation by the deadline of January 30 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.

* for 2021-22, applicants must be eligible for an optometric license prior to the start of the program, however, NBEO scores are not necessary in order to submit an application.

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. 

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: March 1

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