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VA Miami Medical Center
Eye Clinic (Optometry and Ophthalmology)
1201 NW 16th Street
Miami, FL 33125
Phone: 305-575-7000 x 6131
FAX: 305-575-3255 (surgical office)

Contact Person: Samantha Fernandez, OD Samantha.Fernandez@va.gov

Clinical Teaching Faculty: Kasey Zann, OD; James Fabian, OD.

Type of Practice: VA Hospital

The Miami VAMC eye clinic offers a unique educational experience. While our optometry clinic is a separate entity, we are in close proximity and cooperation with ophthalmology. Every subspecialty of ophthalmology is represented by Bascom Palmer Eye Institute faculty members and residents, making consultations, surgical referrals, and sharing of patients mutually efficient.

We strive to maintain a high volume of patient encounters at the Miami VA. Because of this, the optometric intern is exposed to a diverse array of ocular pathologies.

Educational Goals:

  1. To provide a highly interactive learning experience in order to further the knowledge, clinic skills and management capabilities of fourth-year optometry students.
  2. To provide the highest quality of eye care to our nation’s veterans in a timely, efficient and friendly way to ensure all visual needs and problems are addressed appropriately and managed according to standard of care guidelines.

The goals for our interns are to be able to complete an exam in a timely fashion with the most accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. To do this, interns are expected to see patients from start to finish, including completion of the dilated fundus exam. In addition, interns are expected to be prepared with a good subset of clinical skills and basic clinical knowledge of ocular disease prior to beginning their VA rotation.

It is our philosophy that good clinical skills can only be learned through practice. Therefore, we will push our interns to utilize their time at the VA with efficiency. We believe a goal of 8 to 12 patient encounters a day is realistic and students will be pushed on a daily basis to improve their speed.

Please know that there are many providers at this site other than the clinical faculty. You will be working with the clinical faculty person(s) and the other providers in patient care.

Additional Learning Incentives/Activities:

In addition to patient encounters at the Miami VA, we are fortunate to have a strong affiliation with the optometric internship and residency program at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. Our interns have the privilege to be invited to all the educational meetings, including:

  • Weekly lecture series done by optometry faculty and residents
  • Weekly attendance at the ophthalmology grand rounds at BPEI
  • Weekly “slide quiz” series and visual field lectures
  • Weekly journal club series at BPEI
  • Weekly imaging interpretation conference at BPEI

Approximate Work Hours:

The work days depend on the number of student interns for each rotation. We typically have two Berkeley students and one NOVA student. When we have three students, the students will work on a 4 day 10 hour rotating schedule. The schedule allows for 2 consecutive days off for each student, with an additional non-consecutive day off. When we have two students, the students are expected to work Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. If we have only one student for the rotation, the student is expected to work Monday through Friday because the patients load on week days is more than enough for just one student.

  • Each morning will begin at 8:00 a.m. with the exception of Thursday mornings for grand rounds and lectures at BPEI at 7:30 a.m. Students are expected to in clinic by 10:15 a.m. on Thursday morning.
  • Interns typically finish clinic by 5:00 p.m. to attend afternoon lectures
  • The optometry slide quiz series is held on Mondays at BPEI from 5-6:00 p.m.
  • Optometry Journal club is held on Tuesdays from 5-5:30 p.m. with fluorescein/imaging conference following until approximately 6:30 p.m.
  • The optometry lecture series is Thursday mornings following grand rounds from 9-10:00 a.m. and lead by BPEI optometrists and residents as well as VA staff optometrists.
  • All federal holidays are observed.

Things You Will Need:

Interns will need to bring personal diagnostic lenses (20D, 78/90D). The use of personal gonioscopy lenses is prohibited at the Miami VA due to internal sterilization guidelines. We have disposable 4 mirror and 3 mirror gonio lenses, tonometry probes, scleral depressors and forceps for clinic use. Each exam room is equipped with a Keeler wireless BIO and Heine retinoscopes. Students can bring their personal BIO’s or diagnostic sets if they are not comfortable with these models. Please wear standard clinic attire with closed-toe shoes.

Parking Advice:

  • There is a free employee designated parking area that can fill up if you arrive later than 8am. Please plan for your commute accordingly. Additionally, past interns have parked at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute parking lot, about a 10 minute walk across campus, for $20 per month. However, the parking permit will have to be purchased for you by one of your classmates who are currently on a rotation at BPEI. The Miami-Dade Transit light rail “Civic Center” station is outside the VA with $2 fares each way and runs north-south. Parking at light rail stations is $4/day or $10/month.

Please review the Optometry Student Extern Manual

VA Miami Policies