Are you ready to practice full-scope optometry after graduation? Or do you believe you may need a bridge between being a student optometrist and a practicing optometrist? Or have you noticed you wanted to work with students? Well, these are common questions many of us have when considering residency.
Optometric residency programs are an optional one-year program to which fourth-year optometry students can apply. Residents have the opportunity to learn and engage in specialty optometry such as ocular disease, cornea and contact lens, pediatric and binocular vision or even primary care optometry by working in VA hospitals or community health centers.
Residencies offer valuable experience to graduating optometry students during their first year post-optometry school as a practicing doctor! They may benefit and relieve some stress many young optometrists have while learning a lot from experienced doctors. Fourth-year students apply to residency programs using ORMatch in their final year during externship rotation, which is followed by interviews, and often hear back if they match a few months before graduating in the spring.
However, young optometrists are not required to complete residency and may choose to work in heavy patient-based practices such as OD/MD practices where they see a wide range of patients.
The best way to learn about doing a residency is learning what interests YOU! Do you want to learn more under a resident-trained optometrist in a specialty? Do you want to have the opportunity to present patient cases at different optometry conferences? Or do you want to work on your own and learn as you go working with different optometrists in private or corporate settings? A lot of options exist, and at the end of the day, you will be a great optometrist regardless of if you do a residency or not!