A Message from Our Program Directors

Ellen Butts, OD
Program Director, Optometry Ocular Disease Residency

William Smith, OD
Program Director, Optometry Low Vision Rehabilitation & Ocular Disease Residency

Welcome! We are proud to announce the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Optometric Residency program, affiliated with the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. We offer two residency positions: one in ocular disease and one in combined low vision rehabilitation/ocular disease. With a diverse patient population, residents will have the opportunity to hone their skills working alongside all subspecialities in both optometry and ophthalmology. 

Our resident in low vision rehabilitation will also work with our Low Vision Division which consists of residency trained optometrists and occupational therapists. The team works closely with community agencies such as the Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Veterans Administration and Teachers of the Visually Impaired. Beginning in May 2023, the Low Vision Division will transition services to the Vision Rehabilitation Institute. In the new building, the Low Vision Division will be able to expand services and rehabilitation treatments offered. The new low vision suite will contain a fully functioning life skills apartment where visually impaired individuals can learn strategies to address activities of daily living such as cooking and doing laundry. The low vision team will also have access to a driving simulator as well as Street Lab, which is a virtual reality/augmented reality space to evaluate mobility, scanning and gaze tracking to better understand an individual’s ability to function in daily environments. The Low Vision Division also has a comprehensive Bioptic Driving Program in place with certified driving instructors.

Our residents will be encouraged to participate in volunteer and research opportunities as well as attend and present at optometric meetings. One service program we are particularly proud of is the Guerrilla Eye Service. This team of consists of undergraduate and medical students, residents, and attendings dedicated to eliminating barriers for access to eye care in the Western PA area. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to our team for more information on our program. Consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the US, Pittsburgh balances a small town feel with city living. With affordable housing, delicious food, and a welcoming eye care family, Pittsburgh is the perfect place to be a resident! 


Contact Information

Ellen Butts, OD
Director of Optometry Service
Director of Optometric Education

William Smith, OD
Director Low Vision Service