The Residency in Primary Care Optometry, with Emphasis in Ocular Disease at the James H. Quillen VAMC Eye Clinic was established in July, 1998 and expanded to include 2 resident positions in 2007. Affiliated with the Southern College of Optometry, the residency program offers a variety of clinical and didactic experiences unique to the VA Hospital setting. Work hours are from 7:30AM – 4:00PM, Monday through Friday. The patient load includes routine examinations, interdisciplinary medical consultations, management of acute and chronic ophthalmic disease, and ophthalmic emergencies. One half day per week is scheduled in Low Vision Clinic, providing primary low vision care and working with the Visual Impairment Services Team to manage patients with visual impairment. Another half day per week is spent in interdisciplinary hospital rotations to gain exposure to other medical specialties and develop an understanding of the importance of integrated medical services in caring for the patient.
Teaching experience is gained by precepting optometry students during the latter half of the residency year. Student externs come from Southern College of Optometry, Illinois College of Optometry, Pennsylvania College of Optometry – Salus University, and Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry. Opportunities also exist to teach basic eye examination skills to medical students and residents from the James H. Quillen College of Medicine, affiliated with East Tennessee State University and located on the grounds of the VA. Participation once a week in the optometry journal club is required. Presentations on various topics are given on a rotating basis in journal club by the residents and optometry students. Residents also participate in a weekly grand rounds session, with case studies and discussions presented by the residency supervisor.
Professional time may be set aside for the resident, to be used for independent research, writing, and journal reading. The resident is encouraged to use this time to remain current in the ophthalmic literature, further explore interesting patient presentations, develop and conduct a research project, or research and write a clinical case study. It is a requirement of the program that the resident write one journal-quality article, which may be submitted for publication if desired. Opportunities exist to participate in and present continuing education courses to local optometric groups. Residents are encouraged to attend and develop posters for presentation at national and regional optometric meetings (American Academy of Optometry, American Optometric Association, SECO).