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The Optometry Residency Program at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Optometry seeks to recruit and admit the best qualified post-graduate optometrists and provide them with advanced clinical education and concentrated clinical experience in specialty areas of optometry.  This mentored educational and clinical experience will prepare optometrists for life-long scholarship in patient care, education, and optometric leadership.

Application Process

Program Goals

  • Goal I – Improve the resident’s proficiency and clinical competency in delivering quality eye care.
  • Goal II – Train the resident to become an effective educator and communicator.
  • Goal III – Enhance the resident’s didactic knowledge of clinical eye care.
  • Goal IV – Develop the resident’s ability to critically and comprehensively review the literature, and to present that knowledge in both oral and written form.

Residency Info Session Video

Each year we hold several online information sessions about our residency program. In the recorded info session below, we discuss the application process, as well as the seven different residency tracks available at Berkeley Optometry: cornea and contact lenses, vision therapy and vision rehabilitation, low vision rehabilitation, pediatric optometry/primary care optometry, ocular disease, primary care optometry/community health optometry, and primary care optometry/contact lenses.

Requirements for Awarding of Certificate

All program requirements must be fulfilled, which include:  three case presentations, one formal paper, patient logs, completion of the residency binder, required evaluations, and a favorable recommendation from the chief mentor.

Dates and Time Requirements

June 24, 2024, to July 5, 2025.

Residents are scheduled for 5 days/week, and most clinics run from approximately 8 am-6 pm. All residents participate in the after-hours emergency on-call program.


  • A yearly stipend of $39,500 (not contingent upon productivity).
  • Tuition and fees are paid for by the program.
  • Professional liability protection is covered by the University Eye Center while in residency.  Liability coverage is valid while working in University internal and external clinics only.
  • Personal health insurance coverage is required.  Residents are automatically enrolled in the University’s major medical Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). SHIP provides major medical insurance coverage to supplement the campus primary health care services available through University Health Services (UHS). Enrollment in the SHIP is automatic and billed to the resident unless they opt out by showing self-coverage by a comparable insurance plan.
  • The resident has 10 days of personal leave (including sick days) and 9 days of continuing education leave.
  • The resident is excused from the clinic on 11 federal (or observed) holidays.


Residents are required to obtain immunization, evidence of immunity, or freedom from the disease for a number of common infectious diseases, for their protection, and for the protection of the public they will serve.

Common Curriculum (All Residents)

Kuniyoshi Kanai OD, FAAO

In addition to the primary area of training, all residents participate in the common curriculum.  The following training applies to all residents: After Hours Emergency Consultation Program (On-Call), Digital Health Clinic (Telemedicine primarily for diabetic retinopathy evaluation), UCSF Ophthalmology Grand Rounds, and Resident Meetings. Every Thursday morning during the academic year (Aug-May) residents will be assigned to a variety of meetings, with the majority of those meetings being at UCSF Grand Rounds.

This common curriculum rounds out the resident’s education in optometry regardless of specialty area. Residents also have the option of participating in research during their residency year in their primary specialty area. Residents have the option of working on a project in our Clinical Research Center or with one of our many esteemed research faculty.

Residency Handbook

7 Residency Tracks

Vision Rehabilitation – Vision Therapy and Vision Rehabilitation

Debora Lee, OD, FAAO, MPH

This specialty track is designed to provide residents with advanced experience in the assessment and management of patients of all ages with ocular motor, binocular vision, and visual perceptual anomalies.  Residents will gain experience in vision therapy techniques, neuro-rehabilitation activities, and educational advocacy methods when appropriate. Our clinic draws from a common core of patients, including school children with reading challenges, adults with traumatic brain injuries, visually mature conditions, patients with anomalous adaptations to early-onset strabismus and amblyopia, children with cortical vision impairment or developmental and adults with clinical outcomes following vascular accidents. Our residents can gain experience working independently with all of these populations.

Owing to the high number of advanced clinical presentations and the close collaboration with our institution’s clinical and research faculty, residents are offered the opportunity and encouraged to participate in academic meetings and collaborate in poster and paper authorships. Our residents are encouraged to lead seminars and other educational activities as part of our optometric program. Residents will also have opportunities to precept our third-year optometry interns during their rotations through the Binocular Vision Clinic. As a way of expanding their own knowledge and expertise, our residents are participating in informal weekly seminar series and discussion sessions with their mentors. In addition, the resident will spend one day a week in an ocular disease community health clinic.

ORMatch#: 12042

Cornea and Contact Lenses

Pam Satjawatcharaphong, OD, FAAO, FSLS

This program offers experience in fitting contact lenses for a general population of patients which primarily focuses on those who need special designs such as keratoconic, post-surgical, bitoric, multifocal, aphakic, and prosthetic/cosmetic lenses. Residents will work with a wide array of lens designs, including standard and impression molded sclerals, corneal gas permeable lenses, hybrids, and custom soft lenses.  They can diversify their experience by rotating through Myopic Control Clinic, Dry Eye Clinic, and Refractive Surgery Center. Residents may gain contact lens teaching experience in both didactic and clinical courses and have the opportunity to participate in contact lens research projects if interested. During the year, residents attend contact lens-related conferences, such as the Gas Permeable Lens Institute Residency Meeting and the Global Specialty Lens Symposium.

Funding for this residency was established by Dr. Michael G. Harris in appreciation for the outstanding clinical education he received at Berkeley Optometry, and his desire to train future educators and practitioners.

ORMatch#: 12113

Vision Rehabilitation – Low Vision Rehabilitation

Marlena A. Chu, OD, FAAO, Low Vision Diplomate (AAO)

The Ian L. Bailey Low Vision Residency provides residents with a broad experience in low vision care and rehabilitation for patients with decreased vision.  Our Low Vision Clinics have a diverse clinical population and provide service for substantial numbers of visually handicapped children and adults in college, at work, or in rehabilitation programs.

The resident gains experience in understanding and measuring visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and visual field losses, functional vision changes with low luminance testing, prescribing hand-held and spectacle-mounted optical systems for distance and near activities, and prescribing devices to compensate for peripheral vision loss.  The resident also learns about electronic magnification systems, and computer hardware and software solutions.  By working with our rehabilitation specialists, the resident will acquire knowledge about rehabilitation services such as support group programs; educational access and modifications; orientation and mobility instruction; low-vision driving evaluations; contrast enhancements; adaptive techniques; and lighting options.

The resident rotates through low vision clinics at the California School for the Blind, in Fremont, CA, and San Diego, CA; the San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired; and the Sacramento Society for the Blind.  In addition, the resident will spend one day a week in an ocular disease community health clinic.

ORMatch#: 12221

Ocular Disease

Carl Jacobsen, OD, FAAO

The specialty program in Ocular Disease offers advanced training in the diagnosis and management of ocular disease with an emphasis on glaucoma care. Patient care is offered primarily through the Berkeley Optometry Ophthalmology Clinic with possible rotations through affiliated off-campus clinics. The Ophthalmology Clinic is a referral clinic for area optometrists as well as other Berkeley Optometry clinics and, as such, serves a diverse patient population. Advanced imaging, retinal fluorescein angiography, minor surgical procedures, intravitreal injections, anterior segment laser procedures, and posterior segment laser procedures are performed in this clinic routinely. Supplementing direct patient care, the resident will attend and participate in daily clinic seminars and help supervise fourth-year optometry students.

The resident is supervised primarily by residency-trained optometrists with assistance from staff ophthalmologists specializing in general ophthalmology, retina, cornea, and glaucoma. The goal of this residency is to develop a skilled clinician with advanced ability to detect, diagnose, and treat eye disease.

ORMatch#: 12324

Pediatric Optometry – Primary Care Optometry

Deborah Orel-Bixler, PhD, OD, FAAO

The specialty program in Pediatric Vision is broad-based, covering all sensory-motor aspects of visual development in infants and children. The primary goal of the pediatric residency program is to provide the resident with proficiency in optometric care and management of the pediatric population. This program includes training in vision screening, visual evaluation, monocular and binocular sensory processes, optics, binocular vision, cognition, and motor development. Residents will gain extensive experience in the diagnosis and management of anomalies of binocular vision and assessment of vision function in the normal and multi-handicapped pediatric population, using electrodiagnostic techniques (visual evoked potentials) and behavioral analysis of visual functions such as preferential looking techniques.

ORMatch#: 12453

Primary Care Optometry – Community Health Optometry

Meredith Whiteside, OD, FAAO

The specialty program in Primary Care Optometry/Community Health Optometry is designed to give residents a broad array of experience in providing advanced vision care for patients in a dynamic clinical program. The overall goal of the program is to develop clinicians with outstanding skills in detecting, diagnosing and managing eye and vision disorders in a challenging yet supportive primary care setting. By the end of the program, residents are fully prepared to begin careers providing advanced care in multi-doctor and/or multi-specialty clinical settings. Patient care takes place both in the Primary Care Clinic of the University Eye Center in Minor Hall and in Berkeley Optometry’s affiliated community health care centers in the Bay Area. These ambulatory care centers are multidisciplinary settings in which residents serve as members of an interdisciplinary team and gain extensive experience in geriatrics and family eye care.

At least two days a week are spent examining patients in the University Eye Center, an 80,000-patient-per-year teaching clinic that provides a rich clinical experience, including urgent eye care evaluations, management of glaucoma, and care of patients with diabetes or cataracts.  The resident furthers their knowledge and experience by rotating through partnered community clinics, such as UCSF Berkeley Outpatient Clinic, and West Oakland Health Center.   Finally, residents may also gain experience in clinical teaching as their schedule allows and based on their interest level.

ORMatch#: 34857

Primary Care Optometry – Cornea and Contact Lenses

Christina S. Wilmer, OD, FAAO

The specialty program in Primary Care is designed to provide a broad clinical experience in an advanced curriculum. The patient population is diverse, and a large variety of eye and vision disorders are encountered. The resident will participate in patient care in several different clinical settings, including multidisciplinary environments and ambulatory care centers. At least two days a week are spent in the campus Tang Eye Center, which provides extensive exposure to anterior segment disease and urgent care management, often in consultation or referral from the primary care medical staff.

The track in primary care is designed to advance the resident’s clinical knowledge, diagnostic skills, and case management. During the residency year, primary care residents will be able to tailor their clinical experience to reflect a more focused curriculum or to maintain a broad overview of optometric subspecialties. These can include ocular disease, urgent care management, cornea and contact lenses, refractive surgery, low vision, pediatrics, and geriatrics. The primary care track includes a secondary area of study in cornea and contact lenses.  This provides the resident with additional opportunities for specialty contact lens fitting and design under the guidance of an expert contact lens mentor.

ORMatch#: 12532