Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Miami, FL

900 Northwest 17th St
Miami, FL 33136
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

Externship Supervisor
John J. McSoley, OD
Phone: (305) 326-6000 ext. 4044 / (800) 329-7000 ext. 4044
Fax: (305) 482-5141

Additional Faculty
John J. McSoley, OD, Assistant Director Optometric Services, Director Student Externship Program
Mark Dunbar, OD, Director Optometric Services, Supervisor Optometric Residency Program
Maricarmen Perez-Blanco, OD
Michelle Caputo, OD
Suzanna Tamkins, OD
Terri Rose, OD

Program Description
Bascom Palmer Eye Institute is world-renowned center for research and clinical care.  It houses the Department of Ophthalmology for the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and serves as a secondary and tertiary care center.  There is a large and well-respected residency and fellowship program in ophthalmology.   Optometry has had a consistent presence in the institute since 1974.   Many past and current Bascom Palmer optometrists have made significant contributions to the optometric profession and patient care.  The current clinical optometric staff consists of six optometrists.  We have an optometry residency program as well.

The optometry externship rotation is a 6 month rotation.  The clinic time of the extern is divided between optometry clinics and time in sub-specialty ophthalmology clinics.  This mix offers a large number of patients within the spectrum of normal to advanced or complicated ocular disease.  Clinical responsibilities include performing the initial examinations on patients who will see the optometrists or ophthalmologists.  Specific duties or skills include history taking, entrance tests, refraction, measurements of intraocular pressure, anterior segment examination.  Skills we expect you will take away will include: ocular motility testing, gonioscopy, fundus examination, interpretation of ancillary tests (eg imaging studies, visual fields) and most importantly formulation of an informed diagnosis and appropriate management plan.  Although expectations are high and the work is hard, the goal is to offer a diverse clinical experience that gives the extern the opportunity to improve exam efficiency, develop a differential diagnosis and gain confidence while expanding their exposure and understanding of eye disease.  The majority of time is time in clinic.  There is time for didactic education as well.  This is intended to build on the education of the students and lay the groundwork for a career of learning and patient care.


Not provided (see below)

Equipment Required

20D, 90D or 78D lens, 4-mirror goniolens, a long white clinic jacket with no writing or patches on it, and a copy of a negative PPD test (if you have had one done in the last six months.)  There is an extensive library.

External Rotations


No formal housing is available.  However, in the past, new externs have frequently found housing on Key Biscayne, which is both safe and reasonably affordable.   Other convenient and pleasant areas are the Brickell area, Miami Beach and Coconut Grove.  A car is recommended but not necessary.

Extern Responsibilities
Externs are required to be at the hospital ready to see patients by 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. Monday through Friday, with the exception of Thursday mornings when Grand Rounds are scheduled at 7:30 a.m. Clinics finish around 4:30 - 5:00 p.m., however on Monday and Tuesday evenings educational meetings may last until 7:00 p.m.

Additional Requirements
There are many educational opportunities for the extern outside the area of direct patient care to supplement the extern’s clinical training and experience.  Conferences and lectures that the externs are required to attend include:


Educational Conference



Staff lecture/meeting 



Optometric journal club 
Fluorescein /Imaging conference  



Grand rounds
Slide/case conference


The extern will be required to review journal articles for the Tuesday Journal Club, participate in discussions and prepare a case presentation which will be presented to the optometric staff and residents.

General Objectives
Develop efficiency and accuracy of examinations.  Expected areas of growth include history taking skills, ability to tailor examinations to patient needs, develop assessment and treatment plans.

Additional Objectives
The exposure to a variety of ocular conditions during the rotations through the various subspecialty clinics offers an opportunity to develop specific clinical skills, test interpretation, disease recognition and ability to develop differential diagnoses.

Maximizing your opportunities will require hard work and a degree of self-motivation.  If you are willing to work hard and be aggressive in your desire to learn you will gain a great deal of knowledge while at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.

Directions to Clinic

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Thank you for your interest in our program.  I urge you to be as informed as possible when making these important career decisions.  Feel free to contact me if you require any additional discussion.  Best wishes.

John J. McSoley, O.D.
Assistant Director, Optometric Services
Director, Student Externship Program