There are now more than 50 accredited optometric residency programs. We sought to learn the primary motivating factors for selecting residency education beyond the traditional 4-year professional program. Questionnaires addressing this issue were sent in May 1990 to directors of all Council on Optometric Education (COE)-accredited residency programs for distribution to currently participating residents. Of the 81 existing residency positions, 61 questionnaires (75 percent) were returned. Three residents (5 percent) accepted positions in residency programs because they had no definite practice plans following graduation. One resident (2 percent) could not take state board examinations and elected to enter a residency program until licensure could be obtained. Fifty-three (85 percent) selected residency education to enhance their clinical skills, and five residents (8 percent) cited other reasons, such as to prepare for a career in optometric education, to enhance long-term career objectives, and to mature. For 50 (83 percent) of the respondents, residency education was their first choice following graduation from optometry school. We conclude that optometric residency education is highly valued as a source of enrichment of clinical skills.