The mission of the Optometric Residency in Primary Eye Care/Low Vision Rehabilitation at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System (VAPAHCS) is twofold:

1. To provide a mentored learning environment in which residents develop increased proficiency in the delivery of eye, vision, and health care to the veteran population served by VAPAHCS.

2. To provide a mentored learning environment in which residents attain advanced skills in the specialty of adult low vision rehabilitation.

This mentored educational and clinical experience prepares the optometrist for lifelong scholarship in patient care, education, and optometric leadership.

3 positions available.

Apply by January 15

Program Goals

The program’s goals are to provide residents with a varied clinical experience in primary optometric care and provide a didactic program that complements their clinical experience. The program endeavors to promote an appreciation of the significance of scholarly activity and professional development. Resident mentors will also educate and train residents in the specialty skill of low vision rehabilitation.

Time Commitment

The Residency year is from July 1 to June 30.

Residents are expected to be in clinic five days per week, Monday-Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm. There are no after-hours on-call duties.

Primary Optometric Eye Care

In the primary eye care setting, residents will provide primary optometric care to a diverse population of patients including in-hospital patients, outpatients, and psychiatric patients. The patient population is predominately middle-aged to elderly males with a high incidence of ocular disease. Types of patient encounters at the primary care clinic vary greatly and include comprehensive eye exams, low vision exams, and medically-necessary contact lens fittings. The clinics are located at the Palo Alto VA, Livermore VA, and Monterey VA.

Low Vision Rehabilitation

The Primary Eye Care and Low Vision Rehabilitation residents will provide full-scope low vision care in conjunction with rehabilitation instructors in all disciplines of vision rehabilitation, including visual skills, daily living skills, orientation and mobility, computer skills and manual skills. Optometry is part of the team approach to rehabilitation. Working with the instructors from other areas provides an opportunity to learn about blind and low vision rehabilitation in a multidisciplinary setting. At the Western Blind Rehabilitation Center, the resident has the unique opportunity to work with various low vision devices and follow a patient’s progress as frequently as desired.

Didactic Curriculum And Teaching Activity

  • Weekly optometry conferences, Core Studies, Journal Club, monthly low vision/polytrauma journal club, and periodic Grand Rounds.
  • Optometry Conferences cover low vision, ocular disease, and primary care topics.
  • Core Studies review major clinical trials impacting eye care.
  • Current and significant past literature are analyzed and discussed during Journal Club.
  • Grand Rounds are an interactive, educational program on various ocular disease topics emphasizing live patient exams and a review of current concepts.
  • The residents present three formal lectures at the Berkeley Optometry Affiliated Resident Lecture Series, as well as informal case presentations throughout the year.
  • The residents participate in the presentation of slide quizzes with 4th year optometric externs.

Clinical Curriculum: Primary Care and Low Vision Rehabilitation

The residency year is divided into three four-month rotations:

  • Primary Care Optometry Clinic at the VA Palo Alto: provide primary optometric care, including two half-days/week of specialty contact lens care.
  • Western Blind Rehabilitation Center (WBRC): provide full-scope low vision care to veterans in outpatient and inpatient settings. This rotation also includes two half-days/week at the VA Palo Alto Primary Care Optometry Clinic.
  • Outreach Clinics: rotate through various outlying optometry primary care clinics within VAPAHCS. This four-month rotation requires extensive traveling.

Requirements for Residency Completion

  • Complete one year of training.
  • Three oral case presentations as part of the Berkeley Optometry Resident Lecture Series.
  • Submit a manuscript of publishable quality on either a case or research with approval from the Program Coordinator and Director of Affiliated Residency Programs.
  • Submit a poster abstract to a major optometric conference (e.g. AAO).
  • Submission of completed patient logs as well as program and mentor evaluations.
  • Favorable final evaluation from the Program Coordinator.


  • Yearly stipend of $42,118 (AY 2018-2019).
  • No fees or tuition.
  • 13 days accrued vacation leave.
  • 13 days accrued sick leave.
  • Approved leave for educational meetings (e.g., AAO, etc.).
  • Professional liability covered under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
  • Health insurance and life insurance.
  • 10 paid federal holidays.

Admissions Eligibility Criteria

  • US citizen
  • An optometry degree from an accredited optometry school (ACOE).
  • Cumulative GPA 3.00 on a 4.00 scale for optometric education required.
  • Passage of NBEO I, II, and TMOD prior to the ORMatch match.
  • If male, registered with Selective Service prior to their 26th birthday. This can be obtained at (www.sss.gov).

How To Apply

Apply by January 15

Step 1

Use the button below to apply for a residency via the Optometric Residency Match (ORMatch) program. The Optometry Residency Match (“ORMatch”) is an application service and match that places applicants into optometry residency training positions.


Step 2

In addition to applying via ORMatch, the following must be submitted to the residency coordinator (see below) by January 15:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Brief statement regarding desire to complete this residency program.
  • Unofficial transcripts of optometric education.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Results from NBEO Part I, II and TMOD (forwarded from ORMatch).
  • A personal visit to the residency site for an interview is highly encouraged.
For information on nondiscrimination in federally conducted education and training programs, see VHA Directive.

Selection Procedure

  • The program coordinator and faculty members decide which candidates to rank for the match and determine the sequential ranking of those candidates based on the application materials, the on-site interview, and letters of recommendation.
  • Final candidate selections are reviewed by the Residency Director and the approved list is submitted to ORMatch by the Residency Coordinator.
    ORMatch contacts the program with the results of the ORMatch.
  • The program coordinator will contact the matched candidate to confirm their intent to enroll in the residency program.

Residency Coordinator

David Yang, OD, FAAO
VA Palo Alto HCS
3801 Miranda Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94304-1290

(650) 493-5000 x68041