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Program Policies

Residency in Cornea and Contact Lenses, with Emphasis in Anterior Segment, Refractive and Ocular Surgery
Eye Specialty Group/The Eye Center at Southern College of Optometry


The mission of the Residency in Cornea and Contact Lenses, with Emphasis in Anterior Segment, Refractive and Ocular Surgery is to produce highly trained postdoctoral clinicians, researchers and educators skilled in advanced contact lens procedures and refractive surgery patient management. Resident will divide time between campus-based patient care and referral center experiences, instruction and research. The applicant completes requirements for residency certification with a capstone project.




Goal 1: Develop resident’s fundamental knowledge in the disciplines of corneal function, advanced contact lens care and care of the refractive surgery patient.


Objective 1: The resident will build on their basic understanding of corneal physiology in health and disease states.


Outcome: The resident will perform a literature review in the areas of oxygen demand / utilization, corneal dystrophies, degenerations, dysgenesis, corneal wound healing, microbial keratitis and inflammatory disease.


Measure: The supervisor will report quarterly on the resident’s command of the body of knowledge of the aforementioned areas using the online evaluation system.


Objective 2: The resident will build on their basic understanding of contact lens designs and application to specific advanced fitting scenarios.


Outcome: The resident will demonstrate clinically applicable knowledge of manufacturer fitting guides, the indications for product use and nuances between products.


Measure: The resident’s patient charts will be reviewed weekly with the supervisor to ensure successful management of patient needs.  The supervisor will report on the resident’s knowledge base using the online evaluation system.


Objective 3: The resident will expand their fundamental knowledge of refractive surgery techniques.


Outcome: The resident will expand their fundamental knowledge of refractive surgery techniques. 


Measure: The resident will be evaluated quarterly by the Program Supervisor using the online evaluation system in order to ascertain the knowledge level and decision-making ability of the resident in this capacity.


Goal 2: Elevate the resident’s clinical skills to an advanced level in the areas of cornea, contact lens and refractive surgery.


Objective 1: The resident will gain exposure to a variety of infectious, inflammatory and traumatic corneal insults.


Outcome: The resident will perform clinical rounds with a supervising OD/MD and assist in the management 250 patients.


Measure: The resident will report on the number of patient encounters of these types using the activity log.  The log will be regularly reviewed by the program supervisor to ensure ideal exposure to a variety of corneal insults is occurring and that proper management strategies are being employed by the resident.


Objective 2:   The resident will perform 250 contact lens fittings of a cosmetic and/or advanced nature.


Outcome: The resident will correctly select and apply specific soft and gas permeable contact lens designs to patients with high refractive errors +8.00 DS, high corneal toricity >3.00D, irregular toricity (major meridians are not 90 degrees apart), post-operative patients and various disease states, including but not limited to LASIK/epi-LASIK/PRK/RK/PK/DASEK/Keratoconus/Bandage lens/Leaking bleb tamponade after Trabeculectomy.


Measure:   The resident’s activity log will be reviewed regularly by the supervisor ensuring successful management of these advanced fits through the appropriate application of manufacturer fitting guides.


Objective 3: The resident will participate in the management of 100 refractive surgery encounters. 


Outcome: The resident will be able to successfully perform preoperative work-ups, observe the intraoperative procedures and perform postoperative care including co-management of complications.


Measure: The resident will report on the number, nature and outcomes of these surgical encounters utilizing the activity log.


Goal 3: Develop the resident’s critical thinking skills, investigative capacity and ability to transmit the knowledge gained through clinical research.


Objective 1: The resident will deepen their understanding of research design.


Outcome: Resident will acquire skills necessary to participate in sponsored clinical studies and / or independent research.


Measure: The resident will complete a capstone project and report the results in the form of a publishable quality manuscript.  In addition a poster presented at a national optometry meeting such as AOA, AAO or SECO and a didactic presentation to a group of OD’s and/or MD’s based upon this project are encouraged.



Advanced Competencies

The resident will develop advanced competencies in cornea and contact lenses with an emphasis in anterior segment, refractive and ocular surgery including:

  • Deepen theoretical knowledge of contact lens design, procedures, and pathophysiology
  • Facility with functional rehabilitation of regular and irregular corneas
  • Facility with physiological rehabilitation of corneal disease, dystrophies, and disorders
  • Competent pre-operative and post-operative care of anterior segment and refractive surgery patients
  • Facility with diagnostic technologies including topography, tomography, profilometry, specular microscopy, pachymetry, aberrometry, and biometry
  • Effective communication with patients, students, and practitioners

Program Goal 1


Objective: The resident will develop an advanced degree of proficiency in the use of specialized ocular diagnostic procedures and instrumentation.


Learning Activity: The resident will utilize diagnostic technologies including corneal topography, tomography, profilometry, specular microscopy, pachymetry, aberrometry, and biometry in the care of patients.  Special emphasis will be placed on the performance techniques and on developing skills in analysis of the test results.


Outcome:  The resident will be able to utilize advanced diagnostic procedures for maximum benefit in the care of patients with corneal disease.


Program Goal 2


Objective: The resident will develop an advanced degree of proficiency in the pre-operative and post-operative care of refractive surgery patients.


Learning Activity: The resident will provide pre- and post-operative evaluation, counseling, and care to patients who are considering or have undergone refractive surgery.


Outcome: The resident will be able to provide state-of-the art care for patients in all phases of pre- and post-operative refractive surgical status.


Program Goal 3


Objective: The resident will develop effective presentation skills in communicating with fellow professionals.


Learning Activity: The resident will make presentations to fellow residents during the weekly resident conferences held at Southern College of Optometry.  The resident will provide a continuing education lecture on an approved topic at Southern College of Optometry’s annual Resident’s Day.  The resident will be encouraged to submit an abstract and if accepted present a poster at a national optometric meeting such as AOA, AAO, SECO.


Outcome: The resident will become comfortable and effective at communicating scientific information to groups of health care providers.


Program Goal 4


Objective: The resident’s writing and research skills will be enhanced.


Learning Activity: The resident will prepare a publication quality manuscript and participate in clinical research conducted at Southern College of Optometry and/or Eye Specialty Group.


Outcome:  The resident will complete a publication quality manuscript prior to the end of the residency.


Program Goal 5


Objective: The resident will develop an advanced degree of proficiency in the clinical care of patient with contact lenses, corneal disease and refractive surgery.


Learning Activity: The resident will provide optometric services to a minimum of 1500 contact lens, corneal disease, and/or refractive surgery patients at Southern College of Optometry and/or the offices of Eye Specialty Group.


Outcome:  The resident will develop an advanced degree of proficiency because of the complexity and variety of patient encounters.



Resident performs direct patient care in specific areas of advanced contact lens techniques, corneal rehabilitation and refractive surgery management.

·  Approximately 30 hours per week on campus in the Cornea & Contact Lens Service in direct patient care

·  Approximately 10 hours per week direct patient pre-op and post-op care of refractive surgery patients including surgical observation of specific techniques which may include PRK, LASIK, Epi-LASIK, DASEK, IOL implantations, INTACS, CK

·  Approximately 8 hours per week in research towards completion of the capstone project

The resident must make one or more didactic presentation(s) to a professional group that may consist of OD, MD and/or residents on a subject(s) approved by their supervisor.  The resident will give a presentation on a topic approved by the supervisor during Resident’s Day at Southern College of Optometry.

Resident maintains an online Activity Log on each encounter detailing the nature of the patient encounter or educational activity, which is reviewed by the Director of Residencies and the Program Supervisor. A statement summarizing the knowledge gained from each encounter is required at the supervisor level.

Residency expectations include participation in an after hour “on-call” rotation to handle emergencies in the related services in consultation with other licensed providers and independent but subject to review by preceptor.



The residency program is 12.5 months in length from July 1 to July 15 of the following year.  



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.

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.



All applicants selected for admission must sign a standard resident contract.



The residency program is 12.5 months in length from July 1 to July 15 of the following year.  The stipend is $42,000 which will be paid on a bi-monthly basis. Compensation is not contingent upon productivity of the resident. The resident may also purchase health insurance at the student rate.  Professional liability insurance and a $750 travel stipend are provided by the College.  Also included in the benefit package are clinic coats, 10 days academic leave, 10 personal days and 18 days vacation leave, as outlined in the paragraph below. Please note that the $400 Professional Privilege Tax, due May of each year, is not covered by the College. The resident is expected to obtain a DEA license and will be provided a financial benefit for this purpose.  A receipt will need to be turned in to the Director for Residency Programs.



Eighteen days of vacation leave are provided to the resident.  These days are those on which The Eye Center at Southern College of Optometry is normally closed: July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and the Friday following, ten working days at Christmas and New Year’s, Martin Luther King Day, two days during the Spring Break, and Memorial Day.  Provision of these vacation days is automatic and does not require approval or submission of a leave request form.  The resident may be required to provide on call services during some of these days. Ten days of educational leave are provided.  These days are intended to allow the resident to attend professional meetings. Ten days of personal leave are provided. The resident must submit a standard leave request form in advance to request educational and personal leave.  This form should be completed by the resident and submitted to the supervisor.  The supervisor will then approve or disapprove the request.  If the request is approved by the supervisor the leave request form is forwarded to the Director of Residency Programs, who is responsible for tracking the resident’s leave balance and ensuring that the clinical schedule will be appropriately covered.  If the resident has a leave balance sufficient to cover the request, the DRP will approve the request and forward the appropriate copies of the form to the resident and the supervisor.  Requests will be granted on a first come/first served basis during times when more than one resident is requesting time off. The resident and supervisor are responsible for notifying the appropriate Chiefs of Service and the Director of Clinical Operations of the days that the resident will not be available to provide clinical services.

The resident should understand that on-call duties may be concurrent with some expected leave days.  Residents should plan and consult with the director of the on-call service to avoid conflicts.



The On-Call schedule for the academic year shall consist of equitable weeks of service for each in-house resident at Southern College of Optometry.  “On-Call” shall be defined as the period of time for which the resident is responsible for responding to urgent/emergent after-hours calls and those calls which may come during regular business hours of The Eye Center at Southern College of Optometry when TEC/SCO is closed for breaks and holidays.  An annually updated On-Call Manual will be supplied by TEC Chief of Staff to all residents at the onset of the program and can also be found in an electronic version here. At this time no on-call responsibilities are mandated for the ESG portion of this program. 



The capstone project consists of original research in a relevant area leading to a paper suitable for publication in a refereed journal. Research projects may include original research consisting of a pilot study, clinical study, basic science study or case report series related to corneal physiology, contact lens design, fitting, care or complications, refractive surgery patient selection, procedures, outcomes analysis, complications or co-management.

Capstone project selection requires the approval of the Supervisor no later than 6 to 8 weeks into training. Experimental designs must be accepted no later than 1 month after the approval. Regular progress reports submitted to the supervisor ensures timely completion of milestones and ultimate completion.



A.  The resident is required to deliver clinical services at a level that is satisfactory to the Residency Supervisor, Director of Residency Programs, and the SCO administration.  The resident receives a specific schedule each quarter.  Resident schedule includes approximately 40 hours per week assigned in accordance with those outlined in DUTIES.  Resident takes after hours, on-call assignments on a periodic basis.

B.  The resident will be required to keep a record of patient contacts.  The Supervisor of the Residency Program and the Director of Residency Programs when appropriate will review cases periodically.

C.  The resident will be required to write a paper based on original research and a thorough literature review, or a clinical case series for publication in an acceptable professional journal.

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

E.  Resident must perform in a professional manner while engaged in the delivery of patient care services. Professional conduct, proprieties and courtesies must be consistent with the rules and regulations governing the Southern College of Optometry.

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 may be dismissed, without receiving a certificate of completion, for infractions of the rules and regulations of Southern College of Optometry, for failure to meet the requirements set forth in the Residency Handbook and program description, or for any action, that 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.



Other employment (moonlighting) activities are at the discretion of the residency supervisor. Moonlighting, if permitted, may not interfere with any part of the residency, including on-call assignments.  The professional liability protection provided by the College does NOT cover moonlighting activities.



The Cornea & Contact Lens-Refractive Surgery Residency program at Southern College of Optometry and Eye Specialty Group is fully accredited by the ACOE, 243 N. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63141, 314-991-4100.



Resident receives a Certificate of upon evidence of satisfactory performance in meeting all requirements of the program.



The resident reports to the Supervisor of the residency program.  The Supervisor reports directly to the SCO Director of Residency Programs, who reports directly to the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Southern College of Optometry.



Cheryl Mengelt, O.D.

Director, Residency Programs

Southern College of Optometry

1245 Madison Avenue

Memphis, TN  38104

(901) 722-3201

email: cervin[email protected]