John D. Dingell VAMC Health Care System Residency

Type: Ocular Disease Optometry

Number of Positions: 2

Location: John Dingell VAMC, Detroit, MI

Mission: 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, OD and Jeanette Varanelli OD, FAAO
4646 John R
Detroit, MI  48201
Phone: 313-576-1000 x65742
FAX: 313-576-1002
[email protected]
[email protected]

Program Information

  • Goals for the Residency

    • 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

    Educational Objectives

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

  • Medical Center:

    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.


    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.


    • 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

    Multi-Disciplinary Health Services

    • Psychology
    • Psychiatry
    • Neurology
    • Geriatric Medicine
    • Rehabilitative Medicine
    • General Practice Medicine
    • Nuclear Medicine
    • Internal Medicine
    • Dermatology
    • Dentistry
    • Clinical Pharmacy
    • Surgery Clinics
  • 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.
    • To serve as a resident for the entire period specified above
    • To perform to the best of his/her abilities in all assigned duties
    • To maintain and complete supervisor evaluations, patient logs, etc.
    • To complete one publishable quality paper or poster.
    • To maintain standards of competence in clinical practice
    • To act in a professional manner at all times
    • 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
    • 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.