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Residency in Ocular Disease with an emphasis in Vision Rehabilitation

Basic Information

Category Title: Ocular Disease
Program Area of Emphasis: Vision Rehabilitation
Program Site: Southern Arizona VA Health Care System
Program Location: VA
Program Address: Southern Arizona VA Health Care System
3601 S. 6th Ave (11-112A)
Tucson, Arizona 85723
Phone Number: 520.792.1450
Fax Number: 520.629.4808
Affiliation: Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University
Director of Residency Education:

Judy Tong, OD, FAAO

Program Application Deadline: ORMatch application by January 31
Program URL:

Program Description

Date Program Established: 07/1995
Accreditation Status: Accredited

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

Combined Residency/Graduate Program: No
Program Mission Statement:

The fundamental mission of this training program is to have post-doctoral optometric practitioners attain the advanced competencies and specialty skills needed to effectively manage the eye, vision, and related health care needs of the population served by SAVAHCS.

Program Description:

The Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (SAVAHCS) is a highly affiliated tertiary-care referral system serving veterans in Arizona, the surrounding Southwest states, and Mexico. The residency is a one year post-graduate training program from July 1-June 30. Optometry residents provide patient care in two locations within the medical center campus. The eye clinic at SAVAHCS is shared jointly between optometry and ophthalmology, which provides the residents with the opportunity to manage a spectrum of ocular disease. SAVAHCS hosts the Southwestern Blind Rehabilitation Center (SWBRC), which provides world class interdisciplinary vision rehabilitation to legally blind and visually impaired veterans.

Program Length: 1 year
Number of Positions Available in Program: 4
Program Starting Date: First week of July
Typical Weekly Hours and After-Hours Responsibilities:

Normal duty hours are 7:30am-4:00pm Monday through Friday (clinical patient care activities may conclude after 4:00pm on some days). There are no on-call or weekend assignments. The program is 90% direct patient care and 10% didactic in nature. Each resident spends a three-month rotation in each postion: Eye Clinic Chief Resident, Eye Clinic Assistant Chief Resident, Eye Clinic Intake Resident, SWBRC Resident. Please see SAVAHCS Residency Webpage on SCCO at MBKU website for more detailed weekly schedule.

Requirements for Completion:

1. Completion and submission of all SCCO/MBKU required paperwork to the Residency Coordinator (Dr. Weiler) and SCCO/MBKU (Diana Dicdican/Dr. Tong): Quarterly Patient Encounter & Diagnosis Log (generated from VA electronic medical record system), Quarterly Faculty Evaluations, Quarterly Program Evaluations, Quarterly Resident Referral Log, Quarterly Resident Activity Log, Quarterly Resident Reading Log, End of the Year Evaluation of Program, Certification of Completion of Residency Requirements, Resident Contact Address after Completion. 2. Minimum number of patient encounters: 1200 total encounters in Eye Clinic, 80 unique encounters in SWBRC (inpatient & outpatient low vision and TBI). 3. Be present for Resident Orientation which may occur the week prior to July 1 start date. 4. Be present for the complete academic year from July 1 through June 30 for the entire tour of duty except on approved vacation, sick, or authorized absence days. 5. Provide quality, compassionate, ethical care to all veterans. 6. Obtain state licensure. 7. Serve as the Chief Eye Clinic Resident for a three month period. 8. Participate in the Optometry Education Meetings on Friday afternoons. 9. Observe the integration of low vision devices within blind rehabilitation disciplines (orientation mobility, living skills, and manual skills). 10. Attend Medicine-based Education Lectures. 11. Develop a clinical case report outline and abstract to understand the submission process of an academic meeting. 12. Prepare a manuscript of publishable quality. 13. Prepare and present a continuing education lecture (can be developed from #11).

Program Salary/Stipend: $35,438.00
Program Benefits and Liability Coverage: Health Coverage

Professional Liability Insurance


Paid Sick Leave

Completion Certificate: Yes
VA Hospital Affiliation: Yes

Key Contacts

Program Coordinator, Coordinator Title: Danielle L Weiler, Residency Coordinator
Telephone: 520.792.1450 ext 1-5419
Fax: 520.629.4808
E-mail Address:
Program Co-Coordinator, Co-Coordinator Title:
E-mail Address:

Application Information

Application Materials and Procedures:

Applicants are matched through ORMatch; due date to apply through ORMatch is January 31. All applicants must apply through and participate in the ORMatch matching program. For more information, please contact ORMatch at The ORMatch application should include Curriculum Vitae, Letter of Intent, Unofficial transcripts from optometric education, and Three letters of recommendation.  In addition to the ORMatch application, also submit an unofficial transcript of NBEO scores to the residency coordinator. For more information or to apply to this program, please contact: Danielle Weiler, OD, FAAO, Southern Arizona VA Health Care System, 3601 S. 6th Ave (11-112A), Tucson, AZ 85723 T: 520.792.1450 x1-5419 F: 520.629.4808 E:

Selection Procedure and Admission Criteria:

Admission Criteria: OD degree from school or college of optometry accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE), passage of NBEO part I and II prior to ORMatch date, US citizen, COVID-19 vaccination. The residency coordinator and faculty members decide which candidates to rank for the match and determine the sequential ranking of those candidates based upon the application materials, interview, and letters of recommendation. Final candidate selections are reviewed by the Chief of Optometry and the approved list is submitted to ORMatch by the Residency Coordinator. ORMatch contacts the Residency Coordinator with the results of the match who informs the Residency Director at SCCO/MBKU. Note: all residency applicants will be evaluated without regard to sex, sexual orientation, race, color, religion, creed, age, national origin, disability, marital status, or any other applicable legally protected status.

Optometry residents are appointed as temporary employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs. As such, they are subject to laws, policies, and guidelines posted for VA staff members.  There are infrequent times in which this guidance can change during a training year which may create new requirements or responsibilities.  If employment requirements change during the course of a training year, the residents will be notified of the change and impact as soon as possible.

The VA is a Drug Free Workplace, which applies to any substance that may be legalized in some states but are not federally legalized. Optometry residents are subject to random drug testing.

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: ORMatch application by January 31

Additional Comments

The Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE) continued the status of “accredited” for the program in 2017. The next scheduled site visit is 2026.