Primary Care Optometry - Geriatric Optometry

Sponsor: VA Puget Sound Health Care System, American Lake Division, (112-OP-A) Eye Clinic VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Tacoma, WA 98493

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


This Primary Eye Care/Geriatric Optometry Residency is a one-year post-doctoral training program sponsored by the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, American Lake Division. This residency program offers qualified Doctors of Optometry an educational opportunity to treat an exceptional outpatient veteran population from the South Puget Sound area of Washington. Primary eye care experiences include diagnosis, treatment and management of primary and secondary diseases and dysfunctions of the human eye, adnexa, and visual tracts. Compassionate and individualized patient care is expected. An interdisciplinary approach to the delivery of health care will be cultivated and full utilization of the medical center and University's resources will be encouraged. Residents will develop clinical and didactic teaching skills.

Residency Program Coordinator: Yangdi Chen, OD, FAAO

Length of Program: 52 weeks (July 1st through June 30th)

Number of Positions: 2

Salary: $48,490 – not contingent upon productivity of the resident

Hours: Expected range of hours of attendance in a typical week of activities is 40 hours. The Eye Clinic runs Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Leave: Residents earn thirteen days paid annual leave and thirteen days paid sick leave per year. There are also eleven paid Federal Holidays.

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 VA provides full medical health insurance to residents.

Certificate of Completion: A certificate of completion will be awarded to the resident upon satisfactory completion of residency requirements, as outlined in the Pacific University College of Optometry Administrative Guide for Affiliated Residency Programs including:

  • Fulfillment of program participation for the duration of the program year.
  • Preparing and delivering a presentation at the annual Northwest Residents Conference.

Program Goals

  • Goal 1: To improve the resident optometrist's ability to identify and manage visual and ocular disorders which typically affect the elderly.
  • Goal 2: To provide the optometrist a better understanding of the physiological, psychological and social changes which the elderly person experiences.
  • Goal 3: To teach the optometrist how to most effectively integrate his or her skills into an interdisciplinary program designed specifically for the geriatric patient.
  • Goal 4: To prepare optometrists for careers in hospital-based optometry and/or clinical teaching.
  • Goal 5: To improve the quality and efficiency of eye care delivered at the American Lake Division, VA Puget Sound Health Care System.
  • Goal 6: To train residents in the diagnosis and treatment of ocular diseases.
  • Goal 7: To train the resident in the evaluation and remediation of the visually impaired.
  • Goal 8: To develop clinical didactic skills during residency training.

Residency Experience

Scholarly Activities

Residents are expected to participate in all available educational opportunities (Grand Rounds/Journal Club, lectures, local CE), prepare at least one 30 minute presentation on a clinical topic and to present this work at the annual Pacific University College of Optometry Northwest Residents Conference.

Continuing Education

Residents are entitled to attend continuing education sponsored by the Pacific University College of Optometry and the Department of Veterans Affairs at no charge for credit hours. A nominal fee for printed materials and meals will be required for some Pacific University functions. Authorized absence from clinical responsibilities can be granted for attendance of educational conferences. Numerous conferences are available at no charge for optometrists in or around the Seattle/Tacoma area.


Residents will present a lecture at the annual Northwest Optometric Residents Conference prior to the completion of the residency program. Residents will also be expected to give numerous presentations to the Eye Clinic and interdisciplinary staff throughout the year. Opportunities for participation as a lecturer at Pacific University also exist.

Clinical Privileges

Residents are required to be supervised as per VA Chapter 26 and Medicare regulations. The Optometry Residency Program Supervisor must submit a statement regarding the residents’ level of training, which determines the residents’ scope of practice. Optometry privileges at VA Puget Sound Health Care System are equivalent to Washington State law.

Performance Evaluations

The resident will receive written evaluations from the Residency Program Coordinator and appropriate supervisors on a quarterly basis. The resident will evaluate the Residency Program Coordinator, attending supervisors and the program biannually.  Residents will also complete periodic self-assessments to evaluate personal development and determine growth opportunities.


Residents will be assigned within the American Lake Division Optometry Clinic and Blind Rehabilitation Center. Residents may visit external sites for educational purposes with approval.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System is a modern facility composed of two divisions (Seattle and Tacoma) which offer care to over one million veterans in Washington, Idaho, and Montana. The clinical facilities are spacious and well-equipped to serve both patient needs and the residency program’s educational objectives.

Residency Specialty Training Areas include:

  • Low Vision/VIST/BROS Program: Residents participate in complete low vision evaluations as part of the Blind Rehabilitation Center/Low Vision rotation. 
  • Surgical Ophthalmology, Retina, & Glaucoma Clinics: Residents help manage post-op patients (primarily following cataract surgery) and may work alongside cataract surgeons at the Tacoma location. Patients requiring additional specialty care are examined with board certified staff at the Seattle location or via community care. Residents will assist with the referral and co-management process.
  • Perimetry, Digital Photography, & OCT: A health technician administers Humphrey visual fields, digital photography, OCT and other ancillary tests upon request. Residents will evaluate and interpret ancillary test results.
  • Weekly Optometric Seminar: There will typically be a weekly grand rounds seminar on Tuesday morning and journal club seminar on Thursday afternoon. Additional seminars or educational activities are based upon the needs and desires of the residents.  

Library and Research Resources

Residents are provided access to the libraries and computer databases at American Lake, Seattle, and the University of Washington. The general libraries at American Lake, Seattle, and the University of Washington carry a large number of ophthalmic periodicals. The University of Washington and Madigan Army Medical Center Libraries are available for use upon request.

Computer Access/Email/ Telephone Care

Computer workstations are available with Internet access in each eye exam room. Residents are assigned an email address for communicating with other health care providers both in Tacoma, Seattle and surrounding areas, as well as Portland and Vancouver areas.

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 prior to the starting date of the residency program.

Candidates must have passed the NBEO Part I and will preferably have taken Part II by the application deadline. The selected candidate must pass NBEO parts, I, II, and III prior to 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 VA Puget Sound Health Care System 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

The application deadline is February 14.

Tacoma Living

Moderate, depending on individual life style.

Commuting & Parking

The VA Facility is located a few miles off of Interstate 5. There is ample parking near the VA complex.


There is an 18-hole golf course, driving range, pickle ball court, baseball field, tennis court, and a gymnasium (with free weights, exercise equipment, showers, and an indoor basketball court) at the VA. The VA facility is located on American Lake which has boating, fishing, and ski-doo rentals.

Tacoma has many recreational activities available upon request from the Tacoma Visitors Bureau. These include: snow skiing, hiking, biking trails, Puyallup Fair, First Night Out, and many other festivals. Seattle is a 40-minute drive from the VA.

Call or Email Today

For additional information about this residency opportunity, please contact:

Yangdi Chen, OD, FAAO | Residency Coordinator

(112 OP-A) Eye Clinic
VA Puget Sound Heath Care System
Tacoma, WA 98493

Phone: 253-583-1250 (between 8-8:30 am and 3:30-4:30 p.m.)

Email: (Email is preferred mode of contact)