Detroit VAMC - Residency in Ocular Disease
Accredited Affiliated with Michigan College of Optometry Optometry Clinic
4646 John R
Detroit, MI  48201
Phone: 313-576-1000 x65742
FAX: 313-576-1002


The hospital-based optometry residency at John D. Dingell VAMC Health Care System will provide post-doctorate clinical experiences resulting in advanced competency in the evaluation, treatment and management of a wide variety of ocular conditions, with a special emphasis on ocular disease. This residency will equip the resident with the necessary tools for lifelong learning, thereby enabling advanced-level competency throughout his or her professional career. The residency will provide the professional and clinical foundation for the resident’s future contributions to the profession of optometry, and provides extensive experience in the interdisciplinary clinical care of patients with systemic health problems. The residency serves to sharpen the management skills of the post-graduate optometrist in dealing with specific ocular diseases. The program offers the opportunity for scholarly pursuits, including student teaching, clinical research, and oral and written presentations.

Residency Supervisor: Phillip Elston, O.D.
E-Mail:  [email protected]

Clinical Teaching Faculty:
Arlene Gold O.D.
Chad Gallatin O.D.
Jeanette Varanelli O.D.
Craig Swanson O.D.
Jamie Zadoff, O.D.
Jared Most, O.D.

Detroit VAMC Hospital: The medical center provides both outpatient and inpatient care to eligible veterans living in the region. Services include comprehensive primary health care, substance abuse treatment, surgical care and treatment, psychiatric care, dental care, and nursing home care. The facility was built in 1998 and extends primary medical care to veterans living in Michigan.

Length of Program: 1 year; July 1 until June 30 of the following year

Admissions:All applicants to optometry residencies must use the Optometric Residency Matching Services (ORMS).

ORMatch provides:

  • comprehensive listing of all ACOE accredited residency programs
  • detailed instructions for applying to a residency program
  • standardized application forms
  • conducts a fair and standardized process for matching applicants to residency programs

More information, instructions, forms, and deadlines are available at:

Optometry Residency Match (ORMatch)
National Matching Services, Inc.
20 Holly Street, Suite 301
Toronto, Ontario
Canada, M4S 3B1
Telephone: 416-977-3431
Fax:  416-977-5020
E-mail: [email protected]

Application Requirements:

  • Name, current address, email and phone number
  • Send current curriculum vitae (CV) and a letter of intent (email acceptable) to the Program Supervisor to include individual's reasons for wanting to complete the residency program.
  • Send NBEO scores to the program supervisor. These scores may either be official transcripts sent to us from the national board, or photocopies of the score reports that were sent to you. If you are accepted for a residency position, we will need an official copy of the scores for credentialing purposes. Only those candidates who have already passed Part II prior to beginning the residency program
  • Have your official optometry college transcripts sent to the program supervisor (undergraduate transcripts are not required.)
  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty members of the applicant’s college of optometry. It is recommended that at least one of your letters of recommendations is written by a clinical instructor who directly supervised you during your Fourth year clinical experience.
  • All applicants must graduate with a Doctor of Optometry degree from a school or college of optometry accredited by the Accreditation Council or prior to the acceptance of the start of the residency program.
  • Prior to completion of the residency, it is expected that the applicant will have passed the National Board exams and will obtain state licensure.
  • Brief statement from the applicant regarding the individual’s desire to complete this particular residency program.
  • All applicants are chosen based on a non-discrimination policy set by the standards of the federal government. The Non-discrimination policy does not discriminate based on age, sex, religion, race, creed, national origin or disabilities.

Application Deadline: February 1

For more information,
please contact Dr. Elston at the address above, or
Alison Jenerou, OD, FCOVD, FAAO
Director of Residencies
Michigan College of Optometry
Ferris State University
11224 S. State Street, MCO 231
Big Rapids, Michigan 49307
(231) 591-2179 - telephone
(231) 591-2394 - fax
[email protected]

8:30am-5:30pm; Monday -Thursday
8:00am-4:30pm; Friday

Stipends and Expenses: The resident will receive $32,500 plus location stipend for the year in training. The stipend is not contingent on productivity of the resident. The resident is entitled to 13 days of Annual Leave and 13 days of Sick Leave for the duration of the residency program. Authorized absence can be granted for educational purposes (conferences, etc.). In addition, benefits include federal health, life and professional liability insurance.

Scope of the Residency: Roughly 30% of patients entering the optometry clinics require routine care for their eyes. The remaining 70% present with a wide array of ocular disease states running the gamut from commonly encountered conditions such as diabetes and glaucoma to less common conditions including sickle cell retinopathy and intraocular tumors. Over the course of the resident’s year of training it is expected that he/she will encounter most of the eye conditions studied while in optometry school.


  • Expose the optometric resident to a range of complexity of patients with ocular disease both with and without manifestations of systemic disease
  • Actively participate as an integral provider of a multi-disciplinary health care team
  • Augment the optometric resident’s verbal and written communication skills
  • Cultivate the development of advanced diagnostic techniques and technical skills
  • Acquire the clinical abilities to care for patients with a varying degree of problems
  • Expose the optometric resident to experiences and develop the skills that will contribute to optometry as a profession in activities such as teaching and community and professional involvement


  • The resident will become proficient and efficient in provision of eye care services.
  • The resident will learn the value of laboratory testing/imaging in the management of patients with ocular disease or ocular manifestations of systemic disease
  • Under supervision of attending staff, the resident will assume primary responsibility for the care and follow up of their patients
  • The resident will interact with other health care providers (including but not limited to the following disciplines: primary care, neurology, dermatology, social work and audiology) in providing comprehensive, patient focused care
  • The resident will interact the ophthalmology consultants on a routine basis
  • The resident will be exposed to a multidisciplinary model of low vision care
  • The resident will develop skills necessary for effective verbal communication with patients and members of the medical community
  • The resident will develop skills necessary for effective written communication within the medical community
  • The resident will develop skills necessary to prepare a scientific publication or presentation
  • The resident will develop public speaking skills
  • The resident will become proficient in ocular ultrasonography and photography
  • The resident will become proficient in ophthalmoscopic examination of the retina
  • The resident will become proficient in techniques of physical assessment
  • The resident will become proficient in diagnostic and therapeutic anterior segment procedures
  • The resident will become proficient in diagnostic and therapeutic fitting of
  • contact lenses for diseased corneas, post-operative corneas, and/or otherwise
  • compromised corneas
  • The resident will develop critical thinking and problem solving skills that will enhance their ability to form differential diagnoses and management plans
  • The resident will improve his/her knowledge of basic and medical sciences and
  • apply this knowledge in the evaluation, diagnosis and management of patients
  • The resident will improve his/her understanding of experimental design and statistical analysis, and will apply this knowledge in critical review of the ophthalmic literature
  • The resident will develop skills necessary for clinical optometric teaching
  • The resident will be exposed to a wide variety of didactic offerings.
  • The resident will develop skills necessary to prepare a scientific publication or presentation
  • The resident will be exposed to community and professional organizations and will be given the opportunity to participate


  1. To serve as a resident for the entire period specified above
  2. To perform to the best of his/her abilities in all assigned duties
  3. To maintain and complete supervisor evaluations, patient logs, etc.
  4. To complete one publishable quality paper or poster.
  5. To maintain standards of competence in clinical practice
  6. To act in a professional manner at all times
  7. To observe all rules and regulations of the Michigan College of Optometry including:
    1. Practice within the scope of clinical privileges
    2. Practice according to the rules of residency supervision
  8. To refrain from participating in any activities (personal or other employment related) that would interfere with the effective performance of all assigned duties and responsibilities.


Upon successful completion of the program, the resident will be awarded a certificate of Advanced Clinical Competency.


  • Each of the 16 exam rooms comes equipped with up to date instrumentation including:
  • Desktop computer with internet access
  • Ultramatic phoropter
  • B-VAT electronic acuity chart
  • Keratometer
  • Trial lens set with trial frame
  • Slit lamp with Goldmann tonometer
  • Binocular indirect ophthalmoscope
  • Direct hand instruments
  • Reclining exam chairs

Also within the clinic:

  • One exam room equipped with wheel chair glide
  • Contact and Non-contact fundus lenses
  • Gonioscopy mirrors
  • A/B Scan ultrasound unit
  • 750 Humphrey visual field analyzer
  • Perkins tonometer
  • Portable ultrasound pachymeter
  • Fundus camera
  • Digital fundus camera
  • Zeiss Fluorescein Angiography Photography
  • OCT
  • Tonopen
  • Auto-lensometer
  • Auto-refractor
  • Hertel exophthalmometer
  • Potential acuity meter
  • Blood pressure cuffs/sphygmomanometer
  • Non-contact tonometer
  • Hand instruments/injectables for simple excisions
  • Foreign body removal kit
  • Hand held slit lamp
  • Punctal dilation and irrigation kit


  • Psychology
  • Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Rehabilitative Medicine
  • General Practice Medicine
  • Nuclear Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Dermatology
  • Dentistry
  • Clinical Pharmacy
  • Surgery Clinics


  • Residents must be hard-working, self-motivated, and enthusiastic. Residency programs are independent in nature, so what you get out of the program depends on what you put in to it. Dedication, discipline, and commitment are expected. 
  • The resident is a role model for senior optometry students as well as a representative for optometry to the medical community. The resident must conduct him/herself at all times with composure, patience, and professionalism.
  • Teamwork is stressed in the clinic. It is expected that all members of the clinic staff will contribute to the goal of providing comprehensive and compassionate care to the patients. Ancillary staff is limited, so residents are expected to take part in all tasks associated with the care of the patients including greeting them at the front office, locating charts, copying records, filing records and answering questions over the telephone.


  • A small on campus store and restaurant are available.
  • The hospital medical library is available for resident use.


  • The resident is encouraged to interact with other disciplines inside and outside the medical center. Opportunities exist to visit Radiology, Laboratory Medicine, Pathology, Primary Care, and Dermatology as well as to visit private ophthalmologists on site and at Kresege Eye Institute.
  • The resident is encouraged to interact at Kresege Eye Institute Grand Rounds academic course.
  • The resident must be prepared for teaching, public speaking, and writing opportunities.