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Cincinnati VA Medical Center


Residency in Ocular Disease

Eye CenterWelcome to the Cincinnati VA Medical Center Optometry Resident website, where you will find information for prospective residency candidates.


The mission of the Optometry residency program at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center located in Cincinnati, OH is to train individuals to be leaders in Optometry by having advanced  clinical competence, current knowledge, the capacity to practice full-scope Optometry within an integrated health care setting, and who have the skills to participate in clinical research and Optometric education.




Policy & Procedures

The Cincinnati VA Medical Center Residency in Ocular Disease is designed to cultivate the skills of optometrists and enable them to diagnose and manage complex cases of ocular disease.  The resident provides direct patient care with graduated levels of reduced supervision in an academically affiliated medical center, lectures to community optometrists, observes eye and non-eye surgeries, works closely with ophthalmology residents/attendings, attends local and national conferences, and rotates through various other disciplines within the hospital.

The resident schedule reflects a heavy emphasis on clinical care, but ample time is allotted for academic enrichment in the form of grand rounds, lectures, conferences and observation of private specialists.  The residency program also offers training on advanced diagnostic equipment (FANG, OCTs (Cirrus, Visante), Photography (anterior segment and fundus), Ultrasonography), performing minor surgeries and daily interaction with an academically affiliated ophthalmology program.

The Veterans Health Administration Optometry Service ( webpage provides detailed information regarding eligibility, criteria, application procedures, duration of program, salary and benefits.

Additional Resources

 * Link(s) will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) website.  VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked website(s). 


Applicant must:

  1. Be a citizen of the United States.
  2. Have earned a Doctor of Optometry (O.D.) degree by July 1 of the residency year from an accredited school or college of optometry.
  3. Provide professional school transcripts.
  4. Have taken Parts I and II of the NBEO examinations.
  5. Provide a letter of intent.
  6. Provide a curriculum vitae.
  7. Provide two letters of recommendation.
  8. Obtain state licensure prior to residency completion.


Following receipt of the necessary documents, site visits (when feasible) and performance based interviews with the primary faculty will be arranged.  Resident candidates have the opportunity to meet with the current residents.  The primary faculty collaborates to select and rank candidates.  The three primary criteria that are used in this ranking are:

  • Basic knowledge (determined by interview, letters of recommendation, NBEO scores, and educational transcripts).
  • Clinical skills (determined by interview, letters of recommendation, clinical grades and previous clinical experiences).
  • Personal attributes including eagerness to learn/work hard, learning preferences and professional goals (determined by interview and letters of recommendation).


The duration of the program is 12 months and the resident is expected to work 40 hours per week during normal clinic hours of 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  The resident does not have off duty “on call” responsibility. 

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The annual residency stipend is determined by VHA headquarters Office of Academic Affiliations.  The stipend for 2017-2018 will be $33,194.  The annual stipend is not contingent upon the resident’s productivity. 

Health insurance coverage is available to the resident at a cost.  The resident accrues 4 hours per biweekly pay period of annual (vacation) leave and sick leave in addition to 10 paid holidays.  Authorized absence (i.e. leave with pay) is granted for attendance at professional continuing education conferences. 

Liability protection is provided to all residents under the Federal Tort Claims Act.  This coverage is valid only while the resident is practicing at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center if the resident has a valid appointment to the staff as either a paid or WOC (without compensation) employee.  Any resident practicing outside the VA (moonlighting) is responsible for obtaining their own liability coverage for that practice. 


Completion criteria include:

  • Complete clinic duties including patient care, documentation and co-management with other medical disciplines in a timely and professional manner. Example: minimum of 1200 patient encounters.
  • Attend and document all scholarly and didactic activities.
  • Present weekly case report/lecture as assigned.
  • Present a poster at the EastWest Eye Conference, Cleveland, OH.
  • Complete case report, literature review or research project to the level of quality required by a peer reviewed journal.
  • Achieve satisfactory or higher ratings on all resident evaluations. See evaluation form
  • Complete all assigned evaluations of the program and faculty.
  • Meet requirements to obtain State Optometric Licensure.


The resident may practice to the extent state law allows (with ability to practice under Ohio & Tennessee state licenses), and is given an increasing level of clinical independence as the year progresses.  The resident co-manages patients with both staff optometrists and ophthalmologists.  Even the most experienced and skilled residents must still consult with staff for new patients, certain advanced procedures and when requesting consultation outside Optometry Section.   

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  • December 31, 2017:  Recommended date by which applicants should register for ORMatch *
  • January - February 2018: Interviews
  • January 31, 2018: Closing date for the ORMatch * Application Service
  • March 12, 2018:  Results of ORMatch* are released
  • June 25, 2018: Residency begins
  • June 30, 2019: Residency ends