This is the second part of a two-part Q&A with the 2021-2022 Residents of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus and their on-campus residency experiences at The Eye Institute (TEI) during their first official year of being a Doctor of Optometry.

What are you taking away from this year?
2021-2022 ResidentsNatalee Rackus, OD ‘21, Resident ‘22, (Low Vision Rehabilitation/Ocular Disease): My biggest take away(s) from this year is to always push yourself to learn more and that you learn the most in the toughest situations.
Rochelle Fleisher, OD, Resident  '22 (Primary Care/Ocular Disease): No case is too difficult to tackle on my own! Though I have endless support as a resident at TEI, I have learned so much this year and gained immense confidence as a clinician.
Crystal Liu, OD ‘21, Resident ‘22 (Primary Care/Ocular Disease): There truly is something new to learn every single day, and some days you may learn five new things, or even ten!
What surprised you most about residency?
Wayne Tan, OD ‘21, Resident ‘22 (Primary Care/Ocular Disease): I was surprised by how supportive everyone was during my residency, during one of the most difficult times in my life. Everyone from my resident supports, co-residents, resident director, suite chief, and mentors cared very deeply for me. TEI will always be a piece of home to me.
Fleisher: How close I got to my coresidents! We spend so much time together at work but also outside of work, and I’m so grateful for the bonds we’ve created. I am so proud of each and every one of them - they’re a huge inspiration! We may all be moving away but I know I’ve made friends for life.
What was your favorite memory from residency?
Tan: I love academia and I hope to be able to continue to contribute in some manner in the future. Some of my favorite days at TEI are the ones I got to sit down and pass on what I learned from the smartest teachers in optometry.
Resident's group shotLiu: I really liked riding my scooter around TEI when I broke my ankle, but building relationships with my co-residents and attendings takes the cake! I’ve really enjoyed discussing crazy cases, the Hmart lunch runs, and trying out new restaurants in the city!
Rackus: It is hard to pick just one, but I really enjoyed going to the vendor representative dinners. It was nice to have good (free) food and to spend extra time with my co-residents.
What is the coolest case you saw this year?
It’s hard to pick just one! A few of my most interesting have been pigmented paravenous retinochoroidal atrophy, orbital floor fracture, various cranial nerve palsies, and genetic conditions like RP and LCA.
2021-2022 resident group shotTan: There are too many cool cases to count. But my coolest case was a keratoconus case where my patient cried after seeing 20/20 for the first time in her life. This case will leave a lasting impact on me.
What would you tell someone considering doing an optometry residency?
Rackus: I would tell them that residency has so many opportunities to help you grow both clinically and professionally. It also adds a lot to your resume, especially if you have an interest in a particular specialty.
Liu: I recommend a residency to anyone who is considering it. The knowledge I’ve gained, the growth I’ve experienced, and the confidence I’ve built as a clinician in just one year of residency is something I will always be so grateful for! Residency can be tough, but the rewards of hard work and sacrifice are worth it!