Ocular Disease - Low Vision Rehabilitation

Sponsor:  Lebanon VA Medical Center, 1700 South Lincoln Avenue (#322), Lebanon, PA 17042

Academic Affiliate:  Pacific University College of Optometry, Forest Grove, Oregon


The residency program at the Lebanon VA Medical Center is a one-year post-doctoral educational program for optometric practitioners desiring to advance their clinical training beyond that of entry level optometric practice. The program emphasis is on the diagnosis, treatment and management of ocular disease in the veteran population through active participation in the patient’s health care team and low vision rehabilitation through participation with the interdisciplinary Visual Impairment Services Outpatient Rehabilitation (VISOR) program.

Residency Program Coordinators: 

Daniel Petley, OD, FAAO
Kevin Wolford, OD, FAAO

Length of Program: 52 weeks, beginning on (or about) July 1 and run 12 continuous months to end on (or about) June 30.

Number of Positions: 1

Salary: $44,566 – not contingent upon productivity of the resident

Hours: Regular clinic hours for the resident will be 8 a.m.to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. As with any clinical position, hours of attendance vary.

Leave: The resident accrues four (4) hours of annual leave and four (4) hours of sick leave during each two week pay period. In addition, there are ten (11) paid Federal holidays during the residency year. The resident can also request authorized absence for attendance at continuing education activities.

Professional Liability Protection: The U.S. Government accepts responsibility for the actions of its employees during exercise of official duties. VA residents are protected by the Tort Claim Act in instances of alleged malpractice resulting from performance of their duties in or for the Veterans Health Administration.

Health Insurance Benefits: The resident is provided information about healthcare benefits during orientation. Optional health insurance coverage is offered to the resident; biweekly premiums will be deducted if the resident elects to enroll in such insurance. Long-term disability insurance is not provided.

Certificate of Completion:

  • A certificate of completion is awarded upon satisfactory completion of residency requirements.
  • Attend and document all assigned clinical, scholarly and didactic activities.
  • Complete the residency paper, meet all interim deadlines, and give a presentation at the Northwest Residents Conference.
  • Achieve an average of level 3.0 (1=lowest, 5=highest) on the 10 areas rated in the Clinical Performance and Case Management Skills sections on all Resident Evaluation by Faculty Forms, or successfully complete a remediation program.  For "below average" evaluations (1 or 2) in other areas, improve performance to the satisfaction of the Residency Program Coordinator and the Director of Residency Programs.
  • Complete all assigned evaluations of the program and faculty.  Once these and all other published requirements for completion have been met, the resident will receive a Certificate of Completion.  This requires review and recommendation by the Director of Residency Programs.  The certificate contains the Pacific University seal, and is signed by the Dean and Director of Residency Programs.

Program Goals

Goal 1: The resident will develop diagnostic, therapeutic and management skills in the area of ocular disease in the adult population.

Goal 2: The resident will develop appropriate diagnostic, therapeutic and management skills in the areas of ocular manifestations of systemic disease common in the adult population.

Goal 3: The resident will demonstrate appropriate diagnostic, therapeutic and management skills in the area of low vision rehabilitation in the adult population.

Goal 4: To provide a positive clinical atmosphere that promotes appropriate development of the resident’s attitudes and values of academic achievement that prepares them for scholarly pursuit beyond formal clinical training.

Residency Experience

Strengths of the Program

The main emphasis of this program is on the diagnosis, treatment and management of ocular disease in the veteran population through active participation in the patient’s health care team and low vision rehabilitation through participation with the interdisciplinary Visual Impairment Services Outpatient rehabilitation (VISOR) program.

The resident will be examining approximately 1200 patients at the clinic and low vision clinic.  Approximately 80 percent of the residents time will be involved with direct patient care. Other activities include clinical observation of medical subspecialty clinics and didactic and scholarly activities that include precepting optometry externs, participation in weekly optometry staff education, case reports and journal club.

The resident will perform full comprehensive primary and secondary care eye examinations, consult with various health care practicioners in co-management or systemic conditions and ocular manifestations, prescribe oral and topical therapeutic medications, perform  non-invasive procedures and order laboratory and radiology studies as indicated for diagnosis and management. Low Vision Rehabilitation care occurs most days along with periodic intensive 9 day VISOR programs.

The resident will actively participate in the provision of low vision rehabilitation in a one on one and/or VISOR program setting to include instruction/training on the use of low vision rehabilitation devices. 

Example of a resident's typical weekly schedule:

  • Monday - Clinical care and Neuro-ophthalmology or Oculo-plastics.  Low vision rehabilitation as scheduled.
  • Tuesday - Morning education of interns and admin time.  Afternoon clinical care and medical retina.
  • Wednesday - Clinical care and cornea.  Low vision rehabilitation as scheduled.
  • Thursday - Clinical care and glaucoma.  Low vision rehabilitation as scheduled.
  • Friday - Clinical care, glaucoma or cornea.  Low vision rehabilitation as scheduled.

Residents may select to do a compressed schedule with every other Friday off. 

Scholarly Activities

The resident is required to author a manuscript suitable for publication and to present this work at the annual Northwest Residents Conference. The resident will also present case reports at the weekly optometry team meeting.

Continuing Education

The resident is entitled to attend VA and Pacific University sponsored CE at no charge for credit hours. A nominal fee for printed materials and meals may be required for some Pacific University functions. Authorized absence from clinical responsibilities can be granted for attendance at supervisor approved CE conferences.


The resident will present a lecture at the annual Northwest Optometric Residents Conference prior to the completion of the residency program. The resident will also present case reports at the weekly optometry team meeting.

Clinical Privileges

The resident is required to be supervised as per VA Chapter 26 and Medicare regulations. The Optometry Residency Program Supervisor will maintain a clinical competence record, which determines the resident’s privileges. The resident must obtain an optometric license. The scope of practice at the VA is determined by the clinical privileges of the supervising faculty which are equivalent to the scope of practice permitted by Pennsylvania Law. Consultation with ophthalmology  sub-specialty care and/or surgical intervention is available in the clinic. Staff optometry may arrange for expedited local fee out of ophthalmology services for emergent and urgent ocular conditions.

Performance Evaluations

The resident will receive written evaluations from the Residency Program Supervisor on a quarterly basis. The resident will evaluate the Residency Program Supervisor, attending doctors and the program biannually.


VAMC Lebanon is located in Pennsylvania Dutch country and is one of 10 medical centers in the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 4. The main campus is located in South Lebanon Township, 3 miles outside the city of Lebanon and approximately 30 miles east of Harrisburg, the state capital and 30 minutes from the cities of Hershey, Reading, Lancaster and York.

Lebanon VAMC offers medical, surgical, behavioral health and long-term inpatient care and a full range of outpatient services including primary care, specialty care, home based-care and psychiatric rehabilitation services. The recent addition of specialized diagnostic services (MRI and Nuclear Medicine) and a new ICU and Emergency Department enhance this ever growing, constantly improving facility.

Lebanon VAMC is a teaching hospital that provides a wide range of patient care services, using state-of-the-art technology, guided by ongoing education and research. Comprehensive health care is provided by dedicated staff. Lebanon is proud of the fact that one-third of its employees are veterans. Its end of life programs, including an inpatient hospice unit, is considered a "best practice" within the VA system. The Lebanon VAMC developed the original Visual Impairment Services Outpatient Rehabilitation (VISOR) program, a 9-day intensive rehabilitation program for the visually impaired that is a model for other VA Hospitals nationally.

The Lebanon VA Medical Center has a vibrant affiliation with the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine based at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Residency programs exist in Family Practice, Cardiology, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Hematology/Oncology, Ophthalmology, Psychiatry, Pulmonary and General Surgery. Residency programs with other affiliates include Optometry, Pharmacy and Podiatry. Lebanon VA Medical Center also maintains 106 other academic affiliations in a wide variety of disciplines.

Library and Research Resources

The resident will have access to the libraries and databases at the Lebanon VAMC that includes an assortment of periodicals covering diverse areas of healthcare. Access to the internet for research and educational purposes is available at all computer terminals within the eye clinic and at the facility library. Additionally, the resident can apply for access to library facilities at Pacific University.

Computer Access / Email

Telephone service and computer workstations with e-mail and internet access are available within the Lebanon VAMC eye clinic.

Administration Time

The resident is scheduled four (4) hours each week for administrative time. This time is intended to be used for research, preparation of case reports, review of charts and study.

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates must earn the degree of Doctor of Optometry from a school or college of optometry accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education, (including foreign schools) accepted by the licensing body of a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or in the District of Columbia as qualifying for full and unrestricted licensure, prior to the starting date of the residency.

Candidates must have passed the NBEO Part I and have taken Part II by the application deadline. The selected candidate must pass all parts before the start date of the residency. The selected candidate must be eligible for state licensure and obtain licensure in a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or in the District of Columbia before completion of the VA residency.

Candidates must be citizens of the U.S.

It is the policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the VAMC Lebanon to provide equal opportunity in employment for all qualified persons: to prohibit discrimination for all qualified persons; to prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability; to ensure that workforce profile will clearly reflect a meaningful distribution and utilization of minority and female employees and to provide for the prompt, fair and impartial consideration and disposition of complaints involving issues of discrimination on grounds of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability or reprisal.

Application Process

Candidates must apply to this residency program through the Optometry Residency Match (ORMatch) online at natmatch.com/ORMatch.

In compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Older Americans Amendments of 1975, and all related regulations; no candidate will be discriminated against based upon race, color, sex, religion, creed, national origin, age or non-disqualifying physical impairment. By law, candidates must be citizens of the United States.

An official letter of intent is required. Three letters of reference are required from faculty members who have been most responsible for the clinical education of the applicant. An official optometry program transcript and updated Curriculum Vita are also required.

Applications will be evaluated by the VAMC Lebanon Residency Coordinator, who then recommends for appointment of the most qualified applicants to the Director of Residency Programs.

A personal interview is highly encouraged. Phone interviews may also occur.

The application deadline is January 31.

Lebanon Living

Housing & Cost of Living

Average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in Lebanon PA is $954.

Parking is available on-site at no charge. Count of Lebanon Transit Authority public transportation to medical center is available.

A wide range of activities are available for off-hours. Hershey is a neighboring town, home of Hershey chocolates and the Hershey theme park. Historic sites abound nearby within a few hours drive; from Gettysburg to Valley Forge. Outdoor recreation opportunities can include hiking the Appalachian Trail or biking the 15+ mile Lebanon Valley Rail Trail. Philadelphia, New York and D.C are close enough for day trips.

Read more at City-Data.com/county/Lebanon_County-PA.

Call or Email Today

For additional information about this residency opportunity, please contact:

Kevin Wolford, OD | Residency Coordinator
Lebanon VA Medical Center Optometry Residency Program

1700 South Lincoln Avenue (#322)
Lebanon, PA 17042

717-272-6621 ext. 6173 | kevin.wolford@va.gov