United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Orlando VA Medical Center

Optometry Residency

The Orlando VA Medical Center Hospital-Based Primary Care
Optometry Residency Program

(1 position)

July 1 - June 30

Affiliated with Nova Southeastern University
College of Optometry

The Orlando VA Medical Center is located on the site of what was once the Orlando Naval Training Center’s Hospital.  The surrounding residential area is now known as Baldwin Park.  The Orlando VA Medical Center, serving an area of more than 90,000 veteran patients in East Central Florida, is one of seven members of the VISN 8 Healthcare System. The Orlando VA Medical Center includes the Orlando VA Medical Center, the Community Living Center, the Residential Rehabilitation Program, the Viera Outpatient Clinic, the Daytona Outpatient Clinic, and four Community Based Outpatient Clinics located in Clermont, Kissimmee, Leesburg, and Orange City.  The East Central Florida veteran population is slated for a new hospital in 2013.  This much needed facility will make it easier for east central Florida veterans to access VA’s world-class medical center and relieve the burden of traveling long distances for their inpatient care.

The Orlando VA Medical Center Eye Clinic has four optometrists on staff.  The optometrists provide primary eye care as well as management of chronic ocular diseases and ocular manifestations of systemic diseases. The staff optometrists are licensed practitioners credentialed and privileged to perform full scope optometry, including the usage of topical and some oral medications based on their state of licensure to treat eye diseases.  The optometrists also participate in low vision exams for patients who are visually impaired, evaluation of traumatic brain injury patients, and specialty contact lens exams and fitting.  Optometrists are the only ones who will be supervising optometry residents.

The Orlando VA Medical Center Eye Clinic has four ophthalmologists including one general ophthalmologist, one retinal specialist, one cornea specialist and one glaucoma specialist. The ophthalmologists manage advanced chronic ocular diseases and ocular manifestations of systemic diseases. The staff ophthalmologists perform the following surgeries: cataracts, retinal detachment repair, vitrectomy, corneal transplant, trabeculectomy, strabismus, blepharoplasty, pterygia removal, eyelid growth removal, cryotherapy, focal laser, panretinal photocoagulation, YAG capsulotomy, laser peripheral iridotomy and ALT/SLT.  The retina specialist also performs intravitreal injections.

The Orlando VA Medical Center Eye Clinic has seven eye technicians on staff.  One of these technicians is dedicated to the visual field room each day.  When available, the technicians screen patients with a brief history, visual acuity assessment, autorefraction and autolensometry.  The technicians also do ancillary tests as directed by the doctor such as corneal pachymetry / topography, IOL Master, OCT testing, HRT testing, digital optic nerve photography, digital fundus photography and digital fluorescein angiography.  Additional equipment includes:  A and B scan ultrasound machines, dynamic contour tonometers, Ocular Response Analyzer, hand-held slit lamp, and tonopen.

The Orlando VA Medical Center Eye Clinic developed a teaching program involving fourth year optometry students from Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University in Philadelphia in the late 1990s.  As of the Spring of 2009, the academic affiliation changed to Nova Southeastern University’s College of Optometry.  There is currently one position available each quarter.  Our primary goal is to provide quality eye care to our nation’s veterans.  Another goal we have is to provide a quality learning experience for optometry students and residents.   We hope that the skills and clinical information that you learn here can be used for many years to come in whatever mode of practice you end up choosing.  One of the best ways to do this is by allowing the resident to obtain as many patient encounters as possible.  However, we recognize that sheer volume does not equate to an education.  Therefore, the workload will be increased or decreased based upon each resident’s progress and desire to learn.  Additional reading assignments may be assigned in order to enhance the educational experience.

The Orlando VA Medical Center developed a Hospital Based Primary Care Optometry Residency program that was granted funding by the VA Central Office in March 2007.  At that time, Nova Southeastern University agreed to become the academic affiliate for the residency program.  Upon its inception, the residency program received Candidacy Pending status from the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education (ACOE).  The first optometry resident started July 1, 2007.  The ACOE conducted a site visit in May 2008 and the Orlando VAMC residency program received full ACOE accreditation status based on that visit as of November 20, 2008. 

The optometry resident will see approximately 6 - 10 full exams, follow-ups or walk-ins per day.  Types of encounters will include routine comprehensive examinations as well as a high percentage of patients with diabetes with/without retinopathy, cataracts, AMD, glaucoma and ocular manifestations of systemic diseases.  The resident will also see low vision patients, those needing specialty contact lenses, and patients with Traumatic Brain Injury in special clinics each month.

Opportunities to observe ophthalmologists performing surgical procedures at the VA will be available.  There will be additional time spent doing observations of primary care providers, dermatologists and radiologists.  External rotations will include: a private contact lens practice, a private retina specialist, a private cornea specialist, a private neuro-ophthalmologist, a private refractive surgey practice and a private optometrist actively involved in pre/post-operative cataract/refractive surgery care.

Hours of work will be Monday - Friday 7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. with 30 - 60 minutes for lunch.  Hours may change at the discretion of the Optometry Residency Program Supervisor.  The resident is granted 13 days of annual leave (vacation), Federal holidays, sick days and authorized absence.  Authorized absence is to be used to attend the VISN 8 Optometry Resident Grand Rounds, NSU’s Optometry Resident Grand Rounds and/or attending one major educational meetings (i.e. AAO, AOA Congress, SECO) at their own expense. Attendance at the meeting will be verified.  A 45-day notice is required in order to use any of these days.

Housing is the responsibility of each resident. 

Please click here to see the Certificate of Completion Requirements. Should you have any questions regarding the optometry residency program at the Orlando VA Medical Center, contact Dr. John M. Spalding at 407-629-1599 ext. 1725 or via e-mail at john.spalding@va.gov.


Program Information

Optometry Residency Overview
Mission Statement
Optometry Staff
Resident's Hours
Information Resources
Application Process
Licensure Requirements
Residency Supervision Guidelines

Related Links

VA Optometry Service
Nova Southeastern Univ College of Optometry*
Optometric Residency Matching Service*
Advanced Competency in Medical Optometry Examination*
Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry*

Contact Information

John M. Spalding, OD
Optometry Residency Program Supervisor
Orlando VAMC - Eye Clinic
5201 Raymond Street
Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: 407-629-1599
Fax: 407-599-1340

* Marked links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs Website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.