Northwest Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, AZ

Externship Supervisor
Robert Spruance, OD
Northwest Tucson Community-Based Outpatient Clinic
2945 West Ina Rd
Tucson, AZ 85741
Phone: (520) 297-2418
Fax: (520) 291-2332

Program Description
In July 2007, the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System opened a new 10,000 square foot community-based clinic in urban Tucson. The clinic scope of care includes Primary Care, Optometry, Mental Health, Social Work, Laboratory, Physical Therapy and Nutrition. The Optometry Clinic consists of 2 exam rooms, an auxiliary test room and fundus photography room. New equipment includes the following: exam chairs, instrument stands, phoropters, Haag Streit slit lamps, pachymeters, Humphrey Visual Field Analyzer, OCT Stratus, auto lensometer, autorefractor, Topcon Fundus Cameral and a full assortment of diagnostic fundus and contact lenses. Staff includes 1 full-time optometrists and 1 full-time ophthalmic assistant.

Clinical Experience
Under the direction of the attending optometrist, externs will have the opportunity to provide comprehensive eye care with access to the computerized medical record system including the ability to order interdisciplinary consultations, medications, lab work, and imaging studies (CT, MRI, and Ultrasonography).  There is an excellent working relationship with the primary care physicians and nurse practitioners.

Prerequisites for Externs

  • Current on vaccinations; CPR certification required

  • Complete required VA forms prior to starting rotation


Not Provided

Equipment Required

None; optional white clinic jacket

Extern Responsibilities

  • Provide prompt, quality eye/vision care

  • Complete accurate patient records in computer system in a timely matter

  • Review pathophysiology and treatment of disorders seen in clinics and presented during didactic activities

  • Externs are not required to bring any equipment; a white clinic jacket is optional

  • All equipment, including condensing lenses, provided

Clinic Information

  • Normal clinic hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00am-4:30pm, although urgent care and charting may occasionally result in staying later

  • No Saturday or Sunday clinic

  • At least 9 scheduled patients per day Monday through Friday excluding half day for didactic activity

Clinic Location
Clinic is located in Tucson approximately 9 miles northwest of the main hospital facility

Clinic Hours
8:00 to 4:30 Monday thru Friday, Closed Weekends

Clinic Schedule
Externs are scheduled approximately 35 to 40 patient visits per week with one half day a week devoted to educational activities.

Free Parking

Additional Requirements
Automobile required

Educational Objectives

  • Increase ability to perform advanced procedures such as gonioscopy, scleral depression, peripheral 90D exam

  • Integrate key concepts from didactic courses into clinical setting

  • Increase decision making and management ability

Patient Population
Predominantly a geriatric population with common ocular problems of glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, anterior segment disease, cataracts, peripheral retinopathies, etc.

Patient Services

  • Primary care

  • Gatekeeper for all eye-related consultations including walk-in and urgent-care cases such as red eyes, sudden loss of vision, foreign bodies, ocular pain

  • Anterior Segment

  • Plethora of clinical conditions including infections, inflammations, degenerations, dystrophies

  • Wide variety of topical and some oral medications can be prescribed

  • Glaucoma diagnosis and treatment

  • Optometry manages all non-surgical glaucoma patients

  • Wide array of therapeutics available

  • Posterior Segment

  • Diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, peripheral retinal abnormalities, retinal vascular disease