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Primary Care/Brain Injury & Low Vision Rehabilitation Residency

Offering advanced competency in Primary Care and Vision Rehabilitation through education, scholarship, and patient care.

  • Program Sites: Minneapolis Veteran Affairs Health Care System
  • Residency Coordinator: Kristin Wilson, OD (email:
  • Residency Dirctor: Janice Jurkus, OD, MBA
  • Number of Positions: 3
  • Program Dates: The residency is a 52-week program beginning July 1 and ending June 30.
  • ORMatch: #19944

Program Description

This program aims to provide the resident doctor with comprehensive education and clinical training in primary care optometry as well as to diagnose and manage the vision rehabilitation of partially sighted and patients with presenting with ocular and systemic conditions that includes, but is not limited to: age related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, albinism, acquired brain injuries, cortical vision impairment, and stroke in an interdisciplinary health care setting. The program educates the resident about services for the partially sighted including group and individual counseling, orientation and mobility instruction, independent living skills training, and referrals to physical and occupational therapists, ophthalmologists, and other health care professionals.

Minneapolis VA Health Care System

Minneapolis VA Health Care System (VAHCS) is a teaching hospital providing a full range of patient care services with state-of-the-art technology, as well as education and research. Comprehensive health care is provided through primary care, tertiary care and long-term care in areas of medicine, surgery, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, oncology, dentistry, geriatrics and extended care.

Program Objectives/Design

The mission of the Optometric Residency in Primary Eye Care/Low Vision Rehabilitation is to provide comprehensive training in the delivery of highest quality, compassionate Primary Eye Care and Vision Rehabilitation services in a hospital-based environment. The Residency will provide advanced clinical training and have opportunities for clinical teaching, educational activities, and didactic learning to cultivate understanding and proficiency in providing full-scope primary eye care and tertiary vision rehabilitative care.

The residents rotate weekly between the primary eye clinic, and the low vision clinic.  On occasion the resident will rotate at the Ramsey Community Based Outreach Clinic. 

The resident participates in the following activities (times are weekly averages and subject to change):

  • Primary Care: direct care (24 hours)
  • TBI/Vision Rehabilitation: (6.5 hours)
  • Low Vision: direct care, precepting (6.5 hours)
  • Hospital clinic: observation, interaction (occasional)
  • Educational rounds (2 hours)
  • Research development (2 hours)

Lecturing Opportunities

Residents present lectures at weekly Optometry Grand Rounds/Case Presentations.

Scholarly Activities

The Resident is required to write an original thesis paper of publishable quality over the course of the year. Publication and/or presentation at the American Academy of Optometry, American Optometric Association annual meeting, or SECO is strongly encouraged but not required.

Journal Clubs

The resident is provided with full access to ICO’s library from which journal articles can be obtained. The VA Medical Library also can obtain articles through Medline for the resident. Additionally, the VA subscribes to several journals and electronic medical and pharmacological textbooks online, which may be accessed through the VA’s Intranet website.

Additional Employment Opportunities

“Moonlighting” is permitted with prior approval; separate liability coverage must be obtained by the Resident for external patient care outside of the VA.

Residency Supervision/ Evaluation Process

The resident is supervised by the residency’s faculty. Increasing autonomy develops as the residency progresses. The resident receives four evaluations in addition to general feedback from their supervisor. The residency coordinator develops the resident’s schedule on a quarterly basis.

The resident will meet on a regular basis with the Residency Coordinator during the course of the year to provide guidance throughout the program and enhance the clinical experience. The resident is also asked to evaluate their residency experience at the completion of the program.


The optometry resident is paid an annual stipend of $33,869. The resident compensation is determined by the Central Office of the Department of Veterans Affairs and is regionally adjusted. Paychecks are deposited via direct deposit biweekly.


  • Health: Health insurance is available.
  • Holidays: All federal holidays are observed. (Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day)
  • Educational Travel: “Authorized absence” is granted for attendance at the American Academy of Optometry meeting or equivalent national professional meeting.
  • Vacation: Residents accrue four hours of “annual leave” (vacation) and four hours of sick leave per two-week pay period. Annual leave must be taken at times that it would not interfere with patient care or educational activities. No vacation leave is granted during the last two weeks of the program in June.
  • Liability: Liability coverage is provided for care of veterans and nonveteran employees referred by Administrative Medicine for eye care. Liability coverage does not include care provided through “moonlighting.”
  • Information Resources: The VA has numerous ophthalmic, primary care, and healthcare speciality online journal and textbook subscriptions as well as a medical library that can obtain print copies of articles by request. Full ICO library access is also granted to residents.

For more information:

Kristin Wilson, OD
Minneapolis VA Health Care System
1 Veterans Dr.
Minneapolis, MN 55417