Education and Training
This page contains information and documentation related to optometry education and training programs at VA medical facilities.
Education of trainees in medicine and associated health care disciplines is an important component of VHA's patient care mission.
Graduate Optometric Education - Post-Residency VA Advanced Fellowship Programs:
The purpose of the Post-residency VA Advanced Fellowship Programs is to ensure the continuation and future development of select VA health care professionals, including Optometrists, to aid in the growth of exceptional clinical and/or research capabilities in emerging health professions and services of particular importance to VA and the Nation.
These one-year clinical and/or two-year combination research and clinical post-residency VA Advanced Fellowships Programs offer expertise in Advanced Geriatrics, Health Services Research & Development, Health Systems Engineering, Medical Informatics, Optometric Research, Patient Safety, and Polytrauma/Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation. These abovementioned specialty areas are available to outstanding Optometrists who have successfully completed Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) accredited residency programs.
VA Advanced Fellowship Programs provide outstanding opportunities for post-residency research, education, and clinical training in these emerging professional disciplines. Through creative partnerships, use of new technology, and innovative educational modalities, these fellowship programs promote and foster the highest standards of leadership, intellectual integrity, research, and patient care.
VA Advanced Fellowship Programs:
Graduate Optometric Education - Optometry Residency Programs:
The Department of Veterans Affairs has the largest optometry clinical training program in the United States. There are over 180 Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (Note: Links to a website outside VA) accredited post-graduate residents and over 1,400 externship positions available annually for clinical training. Former VA residents are among the most successful and nationally recognized individuals within the profession.
In today's changing health care environment, it is important to plan for the future. All current indicators suggest that the demand for optometrists with residency training will continue to increase. Already, many of the best jobs require post-graduate residency certification.
Regardless of ultimate career goals, a VA residency can be an excellent "stepping stone". The opportunity to acquire an outstanding position within a practice or managed care organization is enhanced by having completed a VA residency. Prior VA residents are also given preference for VA staff positions. Many others have obtained faculty appointments at a School or College of Optometry due to their VA residency credentials.
Each VA Residency Program is unique as experiences and opportunities are different at each site. More specific residency program information can be obtained by contacting the individual sites.
Unique Benefits of a VA Residency:
All residents receive training in primary eye care, serving as part of an interdisciplinary team working to provide high quality patient care. With a primarily geriatric patient population, ocular disease management is a significant portion of the training experience. Residents augment their training through various medical service rotations, grand rounds and/or other professional development activities.
Low Vision Rehabilitation Residency
In addition to the above mentioned advanced competence areas, certain programs offer substantial training in low vision care. This experience typically includes exposure to a professional team of highly qualified providers with unique skills for care of visually impaired Veterans.
Transcripts, NBEO scores, letters of recommendation, and on-site interviews are factors considered for acceptance to a VA residency program. All applications are submitted and coordinated through the Optometry Residency Match (ORMatch). Note: Links to a website outside VA.
Residency Training Programs at VA medical facilities offer outstanding educational opportunities for graduate optometrists to obtain advanced clinical competence. These programs are designed to enhance residents' knowledge and experience in areas of primary and secondary eye care, low vision rehabilitation, ocular and systemic disease, and research.
VA Optometric Residency Training Programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE). Programs are required to follow guidelines set forth in the ACOE Accreditation Manual: Optometric Residency Programs, including the ACOE Optometric Residency Standards.
After successful completion of optometry residency requirements, VA residency-trained optometrists are eligible to take the Advanced Competence in Medical Optometry (ACMO) Examination administered by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry. Note: Links to a website outside VA
The VA also has its own policies and procedural requirements regarding residents. These may be viewed below:
VA Optometric Residency, Fellowship and Other Related Policies:
A student observes clinic procedures.