Optometry Residency in Ocular Disease - Cincinnati VA Medical Center
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Cincinnati VA Medical Center


Optometry Residency in Ocular Disease

Eye CenterWelcome to the Cincinnati VA Medical Center, Optometry residency in Ocular Disease 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.


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.

Residents spend the majority of time providing direct patient care, within general clinic or Retina clinic. Residents rotate, every three months, to spend one half-day providing care in Contact Lens clinic and the Community Living Center. Residents will participate in weekly Grand Rounds, Weekly educational discussions and lectures. Each resident has one half-day of administrative time. Various observations within the Cincinnati VA Medical Center, Operating Room (OR) and outside practices are scheduled throughout the year. Residents do not have any after-hours responsibilities.  

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Optometry Service (http://www.va.gov/OPTOMETRY/index.asp) 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 a school or college of optometry accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE).
  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.


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.


The annual residency stipend is determined by VHA headquarters Office of Academic Affiliations.  The stipend for 2019-2020 will be $36,249.  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. Residents must complete a 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.  
  • Complete all assigned evaluations of the program and faculty.
  • Meet requirements to obtain State Optometric Licensure, prior to residency completion.


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.    


  • December 31, 2019:  Recommended date by which applicants should register for ORMatch *
  • January - February 2020: Interviews
  • January 31, 2020: Closing date for the ORMatch * Application Service
  • March 16, 2020:  Results of ORMatch* are released
  • June 29, 2020: Residency begins
  • June 30, 2021: Residency ends

Residency Contact Information:

Matthew Horton, O.D., FAAO  
Residency Coordinator
Cincinnati VA Medical Center, Eye Center
2929 Highland Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45219
Phone: (513) 559 - 3599
Email: matthew.horton3@va.gov