Published in Non-Clinical

How to Choose the Best Optometry Residency

This is editorially independent content
2 min read

Choosing which residency you want is not easy. Here are some tips that I can offer after going through the process myself!

First off, there are so many residences to choose from, so while this is a great thing for the diversity of education, it can be daunting!
My tip? Take your time.
The first thing you want to do is look at the broad categories of specialties, and you can use your experience at your rotations as a guide.
What did you love in your externships and rotations? What did you hate?
This is going to help you find the one category that you should heavily consider. For me, it was an ocular disease residency.
Now you've got a decent good starting point.
From there, you can look at the residency databases to understand which practice types are available. You want to make sure that not only will they provide you value, but you can provide them value. Having synergy in the relationship is important for a successful optometry residency.
I suggest spending the most time possible when preparing.
When setting up interviews and thinking about your interview answers, start early. Your letters / essays should be extremely thorough, and you should strive and aim for the residency you want. Great preparation will help you get what you want instead of settling for second best.
Lastly, go with your gut. Your gut instinct shouldn't be ignored. Watch the video and see how my gut instinct helped me choose the right residency!

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments!

Patricia Fulmer, OD, FAAO
About Patricia Fulmer, OD, FAAO

Dr. Fulmer is the sole owner of Legacy Vision Center, a cold start, medically focused practice in Huntsville, AL, which launched at the end of 2020. A graduate of the UAB School of Optometry, she completed an ocular disease and primary care residency at the Thomas E. Creek VA Medical Center before returning to Alabama to serve as the Center Director and consultative optometrist for a referral-based, tertiary care facility and then as an associate at a multi-doctor family practice. Her clinical interests include disease management, particularly glaucoma, uveitis, dry eye, and neurology-related cases, as well as educating students and colleagues through lecturing and writing. She is an active member in the American Academy of Optometry and American Optometric Association and currently serves her profession as a member of the Board of Directors of the Alabama Optometric Association and as President of the North Alabama Optometric Association. In her free time, Dr. Fulmer enjoys spending time with her husband and family, spoiling their fur-babies, traveling, attending concerts, and exploring the outdoors while kayaking and hiking. She also loves giving back through volunteering, including serving on the Board for HEALS, Inc, an organization that focuses on providing healthcare to local in-need youth.

Patricia Fulmer, OD, FAAO
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