Residency in Cornea and Contact Lenses
SUNY College of Optometry, NYC

SUNY College of Optometry 
33 West 42nd St, New York, NY 10036

Program Supervisor
David Libassi, OD
Phone: (212) 938-5872
Fax: (212) 938-4146

Additional Program Faculty
David Ritterband, MD
John Seeder, MD

Description of Program
This 12-month program is designed to enhance the individual's understanding of contact lens design and application, as well as their potential impact on corneal physiology. Through direct patient encounter and supervision of third- and fourth-year interns, the Cornea and Contact Lens resident will gain experience primarily in the fitting of rigid gas permeable and custom soft contact lenses. The resident will work alongside senior Specialty Contact Lens Clinical faculty with extensive experience in fitting all lens designs. The resident will fit, manage and follow clinical cases of keratoconus, irregular cornea, post corneal transplant, rigid and soft prosthetic lenses, high myopia, high astigmatism, pediatric aphakia, as well as some disposable soft spherical and toric lenses. Additional clinical time is scheduled each week for the resident to work with a corneal specialist on the diagnosis and management of patients suffering with anomalies of the cornea.

Program Length

12 months

Start Date

July 1





Hours Per Week

40 (Plus On-call: Approximately 4 weeks/year rotating with other residents. Currently, on-call consists of phone triage)


Fully accredited by ACOE

Application Deadline

February 1

ORMS Matching Service


Educational Opportunities
Didactic educational requirements are primarily fulfilled by the SUNY Friday Program. This program of weekly seminars by select academic and clinical faculty is designed to reinforce the residents' broad clinical experiences. In addition, the contact lens resident will attend an off-campus two-day clinical educational program in the fitting and management of ocular prosthetics. Certification of prosthetic training and subsequent patient care at the university provides the resident with a rare and desirable clinical skill. Finally, residents are encouraged to attend and participate in the American Academy of Optometry yearly educational meeting.

Teaching Responsibilities
The resident will have direct clinical teaching responsibilities, give both minor and major presentations to other residents and selected faculty, as well as present seminars to the third- and/or fourth-year students. 

Research Responsibilities
Working directly with the program supervisor and the coordinator for clinical research the resident will be responsible for conducting his/her own publishable research or actively participating as co-investigator/co-author for an on-going project. Such research will likely involve both clinical as well as laboratory research skills.

There is optional participation in a health insurance plan including prescription drug coverage, with a contribution from the employee, depending on the option chosen. Dental care and vision coverage is available through the union representing this position. Residents earn sick leave and annual leave at the rate of 1.25 days per month. Twelve paid holidays per calendar year.

Mission Statement

Mission Statement

The Cornea and Contact Lens residency, sponsored by the State University of New York State College of Optometry, provides qualified optometrists with advanced clinical education in contact lens patient care.  The program will provide four main components; a clinical patient care component, a didactic component that provides advanced knowledge in contact lens care; a teaching component that allows for the acquisition of clinical and classroom educator skills; and research / scholarly activity portion.  The resident is scheduled for direct patient care in the areas of anterior segment and specialty contact lens care.
Upon completion of the program the resident will be qualified to provide high level patient care in the areas of contact lenses, corneal disease management, and pre / post corneal surgery. It is expected that the graduating resident should be clinically prepared to engage in collaborative contact lens research, conduct related scholarly activities, and function as an optometric educator in this field.  

GOAL 1:  To attract and select qualified candidates.
Objective 1.   The program will be announced in the College’s advertisement of all its residency positions, in the AOA Foresight at least one time per year, and to the presiding SUNY fourth year optometry class.

Objective 2. The program will be included in the College’s written material made
available at the luncheon for residency networking at the annual American Academy of Optometry meeting, American Optometric Association meeting, and other professional meetings.

Objective 3. The Cornea & Contact Lens Residency Program will be listed and described on the Residency Page of the College’s Web Site.

Objective 4. The Residency Director and Supervisor are committed to identifying qualified optometric candidates and to the completion of a fair, consistent and professional manner of interviewing selected candidates.

GOAL 2:  To provide advanced training in the design and application of specialty contact lenses.
Objective 1.  The resident will be confident in their ability to successfully manage patients in need of the following specialty Contact Lens correction:   Soft Spherical and Astigmatic lenses, Gas Permeable Spherical and Astigmatic correction, Adult and Pediatric Aphakia, Keratoconic Gas Permeable and Piggyback correction, Post corneal surgical correction and Ocular Prosthetics. The resident will examine, manage and provide patient education to at least the minimum numbers of each of the following types of patients:

Type of Patient  Minimum number
Soft spherical Lenses    50
Soft astigmatic lenses    15
RGP Spherical lenses  100
RGP Astigmatic lenses    20
Aphakic Adult lenses    10
Aphakic Pediatric lenses    10  
Keratoconic RGP Lenses   125     
Keratoconic Piggyback fit    20
Post Corneal Surgery Fits   20
Ocular Prosthetics     5
Total Minimum   375

Objective 2. The resident will attend and demonstrate proficiency in the procedures covered in the Advanced Clinical Laboratory for SUNY Residents given in the Summer Quarter. This laboratory, conducted in July and August, trains residents in the use of advanced clinical testing procedures.
Objective 3.   The resident will receive specialized training in the design and fitting of artificial eyes and become comfortable evaluating, fitting, and adjusting ocular prosthetics.

GOAL 3:   To provide the resident with advanced didactic education in contact lenses.
Objective 1.   The resident will attend the annual   Gas Permeable Lens Institute (GPLI) Cornea and Contact Lens Resident Symposium weekend seminar held each August.  The resident will attend lectures at the Cornea & Contact Lens Section of the American Academy of Optometry annual meeting.
Objective 2.  The resident shall attend at least one all day regional or national scholarly education program devoted to specialty contact lens care.
Objective 3. The resident will attend one lecture session concerning post refractive surgical care and observe at least 1 PRK refractive surgery, 1 Lasik refractive surgery, and 1 corneal transplant surgery.  The resident will demonstrate competence in the follow up care needed for patients who have undergone corneal refractive or transplant surgery.
Objective 4.  The resident will attend the required 45 hours of Grand Rounds and /or Workshops in the Friday Program as specified in the College's Manual of Procedures for Residency Programs.

GOAL 4:   To provide the resident with experience in didactic and clinical teaching.
Objective 1.  The resident will attend a College sponsored day long class on effective public speaking presentations.
Objective 2.  The resident will provide 1 minor and 1 major presentation in the SUNY Friday Program for residents.  The minor presentations will be formally evaluated.
Objective 3. Under the mentorship of the program supervisor and other selected faculty, the resident will provide clinical and/or laboratory instruction to optometric interns rotating through the  Anterior Segment / Contact Lens Service  for at least 16 sessions during the Fall and Spring academic quarters.
GOAL 5:   To provide the resident with research/scholarly activity opportunities.

Objective 1. By August 1, the resident, with approval from the resident supervisor, will identify one or more clinical cases of interest to the resident.  This subject matter or patient experience will be submitted to the American Academy of Optometry, with the goal of presenting the results as a poster or paper during the annual meeting.
Objective 2.  The resident will, by May 1st, complete a publishable quality paper in accordance with the policy contained in the College's Manual for Procedures for Residency Programs.

GOAL 6:  The resident will provide direct patient care for patients in a cornea practice all four quarters of the year.
Objective 1.  The resident will provide supervised direct patient care and therapeutic management in a cornea practice all four quarters of the year.  Under the supervision of an attending eye care provider, the resident will manage a variety of genetic, infectious, and post surgical corneal anomalies.  
GOAL 7: Contact Lens Residents should be comfortable pursuing careers in private practice, academia, and the ophthalmic industry.
Objective 1.   Career paths of past residents will be monitored in an effort to determine how this year of specialized training has affected their professional success.

Contact Lens Residency Curriculum