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Primary care/Ocular disease

Basic Information

Category Title: Primary Care Optometry
Program Area of Emphasis: Ocular Disease
Program Site: West Los Angeles VA Healthcare Center
Program Location: VA
Program Address: West Los Angeles VA Healthcare Center
Optometry Dept. (123) / Eye Care Center Bldg. 304 Room 2-111 / 11301 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90073
Phone Number: 310.478.3711 x42356
Fax Number:
Affiliation: Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University
Director of Residency Education:

Judy Tong, O.D. F.A.A.O.

Program Application Deadline: February 14, 2021
Program URL:

Program Description

Date Program Established: 07/1983
Accreditation Status: Accredited

Click here for more information about accreditation of optometric residency programs.

Combined Residency/Graduate Program: No
Program Mission Statement:

The mission of the program is to train post-doctoral optometry residents in advanced primary and secondary care optometry with an emphasis on ocular disease, systemic disease, and interdisciplinary collaboration through direct patient care, didactics, discussions, scholarship, and other activities, conducted by optometry and by other disciplines.

Program Description:

Our goals are:  To develop primary and secondary optometric diagnostic and management skills of patients with ocular disease, ophthalmic manifestations of systemic disease, and ophthalmic side effects of systemic medications in an interdisciplinary health care setting. To participate as a primary care member of an interdisciplinary health care team and to promote interdisciplinary management of patients presenting with highly complex and inter-related ophthalmic and systemic conditions and thus develop an understanding of the inter-relationships of the roles of the various health care disciplines contributing to the care of the patient. To contribute to the health care community through scholarship and teaching.

Program Length:
Number of Positions Available in Program: 4 permanent positions; additional positions may be added without notice (the program will have 5 positions in 2021-2022)
Program Starting Date: First week of July
Typical Weekly Hours and After-Hours Responsibilities:


Requirements for Completion:

A summary outline of the requirements to earn residency certification is as follows (see Goals, Objectives, and Outcome Measures—the Outcome Measures are the program’s requirements):

1.       The resident must comply with all VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and Program rules, regulations, procedures, protocols, and policies.

2.       The resident must adhere to the schedule of assignments in a prompt and timely fashion.

3.       The resident must provide patient care consistent with accepted clinical practice guidelines and within the parameters set forth by the Optometry Trainee supervision policy. 

4.       The resident must maintain a neat, well-groomed, professional appearance and wear a VA-issued identification badge.

5.       The resident must keep patient care records up to date and must complete care notes and other patient-care related tasks within prescribed time frames.

6.       The resident must maintain and provide documentation of current basic life support CPR training and obtain optometric licensure (in any state) by the end of the residency program.

7.       The resident must complete all of the program requirements enumerated as Outcome Measures of the goals and objectives for the program as follows:

          a.       See a minimum number of patient encounters:

                    1000 total patient encounters

                    12 Therapeutic Contact Lens patient encounters

                    12 Low Vision patient encounters

                    20 student precepting encounters

          b.       The resident will consult with other clinics and providers regarding patient care and provide optometric care to those patients for whom  optometric consultation has been requested by other providers.

          c.        The resident will review and order laboratory and radiological studies      as indicated for diagnosis and management.  At least 5 orders will be  placed by the resident over the course of the year.

          d.       The resident will participate in interdisciplinary healthcare team meetings at GRECC, CLC 215 (nursing home), and CLC 213 (nursing home) as follows:

                    GRECC Outpatient meetings:  no patient reviews required; the resident must attend a minimum of 6 meetings.

                    CLC 215 and CLC 213 meetings:  minimum of 50 patient  reviews/reports

                   GRECC/AGT inpatient evaluations:  Minimum of 5 reports/reviews, effective 2021-2022

          e.       The resident will attend/participate in the Optometry Clinical Seminars Education Program, completing at least 80% of the program hours, and participating in an end-of-year review question-and-answer  exercise.  Transcript-quality CE attended elsewhere may be counted in lieu of Seminar hours if documentation of attendance is provided.

          f.        The resident will respond to questions posed by attendings regarding  optometric primary care

          g.       The resident will participate in workshops and other clinical training  activities under the supervision of an attending

          h.       The Resident will attend and participate in weekly Optometry Trainee  Presentation meetings, eRounds, and Case Reviews/Quality Assurance  meetings; monthly Low Vision Lessons and Journal Club meetings; and  weekly quizzes.

          A minimum of 40 cases per resident will be reviewed by the end of the year in the quality assurance/case review meetings.

          The resident will read a minimum of 10 articles per quarter

        The resident will take a minimum of 25 quizzes for self-assessment over the  course of the year.

          The resident will attend a minimum of 10 medical resident conferences over   the course of the year.

          i.        The resident will participate in administrative and quality assurance activities as follows:

                    Submit a quarterly activity report to the program coordinator and MBKU residencies director reflecting the resident’s activities toward   accomplishing the program’s objectives

                    A minimum of 40 cases per resident will be reviewed by the end of the year in the quality assurance/case review meetings.

          j.        The resident will attend a minimum of the following interdisciplinary didactic and clinical education activities:

                    10 Medical Resident Conferences  

                    Neurology Grand Rounds  (when available, no minimum requirement)

                    4 Diabetic Clinic lectures

                    Fluorescein Angiography /OCTConferences (when available, no  minimum requirement)

          k.       The resident will participate in the following clinical precepting activities:

                    Clinical precepting workshop

                    Precept 4th year optometry students in clinic under the supervision of  an Attending

                    Educate medical trainees with an emphasis on:    ophthalmic  manifestations of systemic disease; ophthalmic side effects of            systemic medications; detection, preliminary diagnosis, and    appropriate referral of common ophthalmic disorders when there is an          opportunity to do so.

          l.        The Resident will develop didactic teaching skills by making the   following presentations:

                    When invitied, a lecture on diabetic eye disease to the Diabetic Clinic     interdisciplinary care team.

                    At least 4 lectures at Optometry Trainee presentation meeting or  eRounds

                    At least one case or topic at optometry seminars

                    When invited, an in-service to nursing or medical trainees

          m.      The resident will engage in the following scholarly activities:

                    Complete a thesis paper of publishable quality

                    Participate in the SCCO Library’s circulation lists for journals.

                    Read at least 10 journal articles per quarter

                    Research literature on topics as discussed through the course of  patient care and meetings and as assigned by attendings

                    Attend the annual meeting of the AAO, AOA, or equivalent (encouraged but not required)

8.       The Resident must complete and submit all quarterly and end-of-year program and faculty evaluations.

9.       The Resident will submit a quarterly activity report reflecting the resident’s activities toward accomplishing the program objectives.


Program Salary/Stipend: $39,484.00 (subject to review by VA Central Office every 2 years)
Program Benefits and Liability Coverage: Health Coverage

Professional Liability Insurance


Paid Sick Leave

Travel Allowance

Completion Certificate: Yes
VA Hospital Affiliation: Yes

Key Contacts

Program Coordinator, Coordinator Title: Pauline F Ilsen, Residency Coordinator
Telephone: 310.478.3711 x42356
E-mail Address:
Program Co-Coordinator, Co-Coordinator Title:
E-mail Address:

Application Information

Application Materials and Procedures:

Submit all application materials through ORMatch. 


Contact for questions or concerns:  Pauline Ilsen, O.D., F.A.A.O. Residency Coordinator Optometry Dept. (123) Eyecare Center Bldg. 304 Room 2-111 West LA VA Healthcare Center 11301 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90073 T: 310.478.3711 x42356 E:

Selection Procedure and Admission Criteria:


  • One must be in their fourth year or have already received an O.D. degree from an Accreditation Council on Optometric Education-accredited school or college of optometry (O.D. degree is required by the time the program begins on July 1).

  • One must pass Parts I and II of the NBEO and the TMOD prior to the ORMATCH matching deadline (usually the first Friday in March each year)*

  • U.S. citizenship is required.  Immigrants must provide proof of US Citizenship prior to the application deadline in February.

  • An interview prior to the ORMATCH matching deadline is required.  In-person interview is strongly encouraged, but an interview may be conducted by telephone or videoconference if the candidate is unable to interview in person.

  • Experience at a VA facility is quite helpful but not required for application.

*Exceptions may be considered on an individual basis at the discretion of the selection committee.

WLAVA Application Process and Documents:

  • Potential applicants are very strongly encouraged to contact current residents by e-mail or telephone to get their perspective on the program.  Current residents can be contacted at 310.478.3711 x42355, x41509, x44517, or x42596; contact Dr. Ilsen at 310.478.3711 x42356 or for questions or to obtain current residents’ e-mail addresses

  • ORMATCH application:  materals to be submitted to the ORMatch website ( as follows:

    • ORMatch form

    • Letter of intent

    • Curriculum vitae

    • NBEO scores

    • Three letters of recommendation

  • An interview in person or by telephone is required prior to the ranking deadline. 

WLAVA Selection / Ranking Process:

Only eligible candidates who have completed the entire application process including interview will be considered for ORMATCH (Optometry Residency Matching Service) ranking.  Eligible applicants are afforded a review without discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or any other applicable legally protected status.

The following items are taken into consideration by the Program to determine ORMATCH ranking:

Grade point average (GPA)

NBEO I score (National Board of Examiners in Optometry Part 1)

NBEO II score (National Board of Examiners in Optometry Part 2)

TMOD score (Treatment and Management of Ocular Disease section of NBEO Part 2)

Qualitative characteristics rating

          The interview, other written or verbal communication with the candidate,

          communication from references, and curriculum vitae provide subjective

          information about the candidate’s suitability for the program; a rating (0-10

          scale) for qualitative characteristics is determined from assessment of the



                              Personal appearance, grooming, attire, and demeanor

                              Written communication (e-mail, statement of intent, curriculum


                              Verbal communication

                    Work related history and habits

                              Work and educational experience

                              Life experience

                              Motivation, initiative, independence

                              Stated reasons for pursuing residency training

                              Stated reasons for applying to the program

                    Clinical skills evaluation

                              Assessment of data

                              Differential diagnosis, ocular and/or systemic

                              Management, ocular and/or systemic

Candidates are ranked within each objective category (i.e., by GPA, by NBEO I, by NBEO II, TMOD score).  Then an overall ranking list is determined from the sum of the category ranks. 

With concurrence between the program’s Attendings, a candidate may be moved up or down or removed from the overall objective ranking list based on the qualitative characteristics and rating.  The final list is submitted to ORMATCH.

United States citizenship is required to qualify for VHA appointment in a paid VA optometry resident position funded by the Office of Academic Affiliations. Reference: VA Handbook 5005/57, Part II, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3.g.(1) & (5)(c), dated June 14, 2012.
Program Application Deadline: February 14, 2021

Additional Comments

Program activities and curriculum are subject to change without notice; inquire of program coordinator for the most up-to-date program overview.