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Optometrist Spotlight:  Why I Chose a Contact Lens Residency

Posted by Amanda Dexter on Dec 14, 2015 12:00:00 AM

Dr. Booke Messer, OD, FSLSDr. Brooke Messer, OD, FSLS received her doctor of optometry degree from Southern California College of Optometry, and subsequently went on to specialize in Cornea and Specialty Contact Lenses by completing a one year residency.

She is a highly trained optometrist in fitting specialty contact lenses for keratoconus, post surgical corneas, and other corneal diseases, as well as multifocal contact lenses, orthokeratology contact lenses for myopia control and pediatric contact lenses.

Dr. Messer has authored articles for publications such as Contact Lens Spectrum and Review of Optometry, and enjoys teaching other doctors complex contact lens fitting techniques in classroom and clinical settings.

Dr. Messer is a member of the American Academy of Optometry, Scleral Lens Education Society and the Contact Lens Society of America.

Why did you choose to do a residency?

I chose to do a residency because I wanted to be involved in the profession through meetings, education, and writing.  I knew that residency training would help me gain the knowledge I needed to reach those goals.  I also know I wanted to have a private practice that was “different” from the others and that having a specialty would help my practice stand out. 

How did you make the decision to do a residency in cornea and contact lenses?

After my excellent rotations in optometry school, I realized that I knew very little about managing irregular corneas and specialty contact lenses.  I felt comfortable with my ocular disease knowledge and knew that contact lens training would round out my knowledge.  I also chose a contact lens residency because it’s one of the avenues in optometry that can work well alongside opticians, ophthalmology and even primary care physicians.

What was a typical day like during your residency year?

  • 8-10 patients per day
  • Mostly keratoconus but also some corneal transplants and other post-surgical eyes
  • Small amount of multifocal contact lenses, both soft and gas permeable, as well as orthokeratology

Do you believe that your residency was worth the extra year of training?

Absolutely.  Looking back I wish I had two years to work alongside some of the best in the contact lens field!!


How do you feel the residency has helped you in your career so far?

My residency helped me tremendously.  Through my residency mentor, I met my future business partner, who owned a specialty contact lens private practice in Minneapolis, MN.  We partnered in the business just one year after my residency and continue to write and speak together.  My residency also helped me obtain a part time position with a fantastic corneal specialist where I continue to fit contact lenses for his patients with irregular corneas.

Would you recommend a residency in cornea and contact lenses?

YES YES YES!! The contact lens world in optometry is small and well connected.  It doesn’t take long before you are comfortable speaking with some of the best minds in the industry.  

Any downsides to completing a residency?


Do you have any advice for students considering a residency in contact lenses?

Choose a program based on the faculty and patient base you’ll be working with rather than location.  

Its a hard year but so worth it!

The Top 15 Tips and Tricks for Studying for Part I of NBEO®

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Topics: Optometrist Spotlight



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