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Primary Eye Care/Cornea and Contact Lens

Basic Information

Category Title: Primary Care Optometry
Program Area of Emphasis: Primary Care Optometry, Cornea and Contact Lenses
Program Site: Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Program Location: VA
Program Address: Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center
500 Foothill Drive
Salt Lake City, Utah 84148
Phone Number: 801.582.1565 x 4812
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: Monday, January 31, 2022
Program URL:

Program Description

Date Program Established: 07/2002
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 residency program is to provide highly qualified post-doctoral optometric practitioners an outstanding educational experience which will nurture their development into exceptional, caring optometric clinicians, with a reinforced foundation in general optometric care  and a high degree of expertise in advanced diagnostic and treatment skills .  The resident will be provided with opportunities that will assist them in developing confidence in using these advanced skills. Their advanced degree of competence will allow them to fully integrate and function within a large managed care medical center complex and national health care system.

The program places a large emphasis on contact lens fitting.  The resident will be exposed to all types of contact lenses, such as scleral and other specialty lenses, prosthetic lenses for ocular disfigurement, techniques of fitting infants and general contact lenses.

A wide variety of education opportunities will enhance the resident’s training and emphasize the importance of clinical and basic research.  The program will seek to attract highly qualified optometric graduates and instill in them a genuine concern for the patient and the desire to further upgrade their level of optometric education and patient care.

Program Description:

Program Goals

  1. To provide a patient base for the resident to hone his/her primary eye care skills.

  2. To enhance the resident’s skill in ocular disease management

  3. To enhance the resident’s ability to readily examine and treat a wide variety of contact lens patients.

  4. To provide experience and understanding of working in a multidisciplinary health care environment.

  5. To establish an environment and opportunity to appreciate the significance of research and other scholarly activities.

  6. To become comfortable and skilled in caring for geriatric patients within the environs of the clinic facility or the hospital bed.

Program Objectives

  1. Provide minimum number of primary eye care encounters. 

  2. Expose the resident to a wide variety of interesting case presentations.

  3. Provide opportunity for the resident to become proficient in various primary care procedures.

  4. To strengthen the resident’s ability to diagnose, treat and manage ocular disease by providing a variety of challenging and complex cases including, but not limited to, the following: ocular disease, trauma, unusual refractive errors, and ocular related systemic disease

  5. Ensure the resident conducts a minimum number of contact lens patient evaluations.

  6. Ensure the resident conducts various specialized contact lens evaluations.

  7. Better understand interrelationships of various health care specialties.

  8. Regular review of current health care literature.

  9. To develop an understanding of, and learn to appropriately utilize the support services that are available within a hospital-based health care system.

  10. Education in the process of manuscript preparation.

  11. To instruct and advise the resident in the preparation and presentation of a clinical lecture.

  12. Provide opportunity to realize the value of consistent continuing education.

  13. Function as part of an interdisciplinary team identifying, addressing and delivering care to adult patients and understanding the benefits of interdisciplinary care. 

Program Length: 1 year
Number of Positions Available in Program: 2
Program Starting Date: Second week of June (June 14th). The residency program is for 12 months beginning on June 15 and ending June 30 of the following year with two weeks of orientation included at the beginning of the residency.
Typical Weekly Hours and After-Hours Responsibilities:

Typical Daily or Weekly Schedule in Clinic

  • The weekly schedule will be 40 hours per week in clinics and research.

  • The resident will be schedule in the clinic Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

  • Typically there are no on call responsibilities.

  • A more detailed description of the schedule includes (subject to change): 

Most of your time is spent at SLC VAMC.  A portion of your time is spent at the 

Moran Eye Center, University of Utah to manage contact lens patients.

There are Grand Rounds every Wednesday morning at 8:00 AM at the Moran Eye

Center where our residents are invited to attend with the ophthalmology residents. 

The resident will have the opportunity to interact with our ophthalmology colleagues in sub specialty clinics.

Requirements for Completion:

Program Requirements

A summary outline of the requirements to earn residency certification is as follows:

  • The resident must comply with all VA Salt Lake City Healthcare System and program rules, regulations, procedures, protocols, and policies.

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

  • The resident must provide patient care consistent with accepted clinical practice guidelines and within the parameters set forth by the optometry trainee’s supervision policy.

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

  • The resident must keep patient care records up to date. 

  • The resident must maintain and provide documentation of current basic life support CPR training and optometric licensure (any State).

  • The resident will complete the requirements outlined in the goals and objectives for the program including:

    - The resident will complete at least 750 primary eye care evaluations

    - The resident will complete 250 contact lens evaluations

    - The resident will complete 30 specialized contact lens evaluations each quarter

    - The resident will keep a patient log and report quarterly to the program director his/her progress.

    - The resident will attend at least 3 of 4 grand rounds or community lectures each month.

    - The resident will attend 60% of ophthalmology residency conferences

    - The resident will attend at least 3 GRECC (Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center) grand rounds or clinical conferences.

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

    - The resident will complete the scholarly project as required prior to the awarding of a residency completion certificate.

Program Salary/Stipend: $34,888.00
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: D Lee Tanner, Residency Coordinator
Telephone: 801.582.1565 x 4812
E-mail Address:
Program Co-Coordinator, Co-Coordinator Title: Dale A Woodfield, Co-Residency Coordinator
Telephone: 801.582.1565
E-mail Address:

Application Information

Application Materials and Procedures:

VHA SLC HCS Application Process /Documents /Deadline

APPLICATION DEADLINE - All application materials must be received by January 31, 2022

Applicants need to provide the following:

  1. Optometric Educational GPA - official transcript

  2. Undergraduate Educational GPA-official or unofficial transcript

  3. National Board Passage of Parts 1, 2, 3 and TMOD (It is recommended that Part 3 is taken by October of Application Year.)  

  4. Short paper addressing the following questions. 

    - Why are you interested in the Salt Lake VA Residency?

    - What are your career goals?

    - Why are you a good fit for this particular residency?

    - What makes a quality resident/doctor?

    - How can you help promote and preserve the profession of optometry?

  5. A Curriculum Vitae.

  6. Three letters of recommendations from professors or clinical instructors that can accurately evaluate the applicant in the following areas.  These should be sent directly from the author to ORMatch electronically.

    - Skills/ includes clinical skills

    - Commitment

    - Knowledge base

    - Interaction with Patients/ Staff/ Attendings

    - The recommender’s level or degree of recommendation

  7. Personal Interviews with our residency committee members required for all accepted applicants. 

  8. A passport style photo.

After all materials are received, if the applicant meets our minimum criteria, an invitation will be extended to come to our site for the interviews noted in item 7 above and a tour of our facilities

D. Lee Tanner, O.D. Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) Department of Veteran's Affairs Health Care Services 500 Foothill Drive Salt Lake City, UT 84148 801.582.1565 x 1944 email

Selection Procedure and Admission Criteria:

Selection Criteria VA Salt Lake City Health Care System

Only eligible candidates who have met all program prerequisites and who have completed the entire application process including interview will be considered for ORMatch 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 Scores including TMOD

  • Qualitative characteristic rating

The interview, other communication with the candidate, communication from references, and curriculum vitae provide subjective information about the candidate’s suitability for the program.  Qualitative characteristics are determined from assessment of the following:


  • Personal appearance, grooming, attire, and demeanor

  • Written communication (CV, answers to written questions)

  • Verbal communications

Related history and experience

  • Work and educational experience\

  • Life experience

  • Motivation, initiative, independence

  • Reasons for pursuing residency training

  • 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 by each interviewing doctor.  The averages of these rankings are used to determine the ranking order submitted by the program coordinator.  With concurrence between the chief and program coordinator, a candidate may be moved up or down 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: Monday, January 31, 2022

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