Residency Program in Primary Eye Care/Ocular Disease Optometry

Deptartment of Veterans Affairs
151 Knollcroft Road
Lyons, NJ 07939

Program Supervisors
Cathy Marques, OD
Phone: (973) 676-1000 x3917
Fax: (908) 604-5844

Malinda Cafiero-Chin, OD
Phone: (908) 647-0180 x4590
Fax: (973) 395-7188        

Additional Faculty
Angela Tardanico, OD
Bruce Walker, OD
Janis White, OD
Catherine Chiu, OD
Mayur Bhavsar, OD
Joseph Cercone, OD

Program Description
This is a full-scope optometric program in a multidisciplinary hospital setting with emphasis on assessment and therapeutic management of ocular disease and exposure to low vision.  VANJ is located less than one hour from New York City and is comprised of two main campuses, East Orange and Lyons.  The East Orange campus is located on 34 acres in the northeast section of the state, adjacent to the City of Newark.

The Lyons campus is located on 365 acres, 22 miles west of the East Orange campus.  Each resident rotates between both campuses, allowing for exposure to varied clinical settings.

Training is accomplished through direct patient care, grand rounds and independent study.  Taking full advantage of the multidisciplinary setting, the resident’s clinical experience will be enhanced by rotations in medical specialties such as primary care, cardiology, endocrinology and urgent care in addition to ophthalmic sub-specialties.  Individuals who complete the program are expected to attain a high level of proficiency in the diagnosis and management of ocular disease and ocular-systemic disease as well as practical applications of low vision.

Program Length

12 months

Start Date

July 1





Hours Per Week

40 hours


Fully accredited by ACOE

Application Deadline

February 15



Educational Opportunities
The resident will follow a curriculum, which includes advanced level reading assignments and grand rounds in topics related to optometric medicine. The resident will participate in the total primary health care delivery program and integrate with other medical and healthcare professionals at the Lyons and East Orange campuses.

Teaching Responsibilities
The resident participates in the clinical education of fourth-year students from the following institutions: SUNY College of Optometry, Salus University, University of Houston-College of Optometry, Western University-College of Optometry and The Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry.

Research Responsibilities
There are no research opportunities at this facility. The resident is responsible for one 20 minute Minor presentation, one 50 minute Major presentation and one paper of publishable quality.

The resident is eligible to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and Federal Employees Group Life Insurance. The resident's portion of the health and life insurance premium depends on the plan and coverage selected.

Mission Statement
The Optometric Residency program at the Veterans Affairs New Jersey Healthcare System is committed to expanding the knowledge of its residents in the delivery of primary optometric patient care, particularly as it pertains to ocular disease, in addition to providing exposure to low vision.  The optometry resident is provided the opportunity to participate in the delivery of health care in a multidisciplinary hospital-based setting, with both a large outpatient and inpatient population. Our program strives to provide the resident with an environment that enhances clinical skills while also fostering the pursuit of scholarly activities.


Goal 1: To attract and to select the best qualified optometric graduates to apply for residency.

  1. Advertise the program in at least one optometric publication per year.

  2. Written information regarding the program will be available at the major optometric meetings each year, such as the AOSA and the AAO.

  3. Every candidate must participate in the Optometry Residency Match (ORMatch) and fulfill all ORMatch requirements. 

  4. Every candidate must complete an application and an interview.

  5. Every candidate must be a U.S. citizen.


Goal 2: To provide the resident with experience and clinical guidance in diagnosis and management of ocular disease and of ocular manifestations of systemic disease.

  1. The resident will see approximately 1500 patients with an emphasis on ocular disease including, but not limited to the following:  glaucoma (at least 200), anterior segment (at least 200), neurologic disorders (at least 50), diabetic/hypertensive retinopathy(at least 200), retina other(at least 100) and macular degeneration (at least 100).

  2. The resident will order his/her own lab tests (at least 10) and consults to other practitioners.

  3. The resident will perform and/or analyze imaging studies including, but not limited to, GDX/OCT /carotid dopplers/brain scans.


Goal 3: To provide the resident with advanced clinical training in primary care, ocular disease and low vision.

  1. The resident’s experience at the East Orange will consist primarily of direct clinical care and exposure to subspecialty clinics. 

  2. At the Lyons campus, the residents will have direct patient care and the opportunity to precept externs.

  3. The resident will be assigned to at least one weekly session of outpatient low vision for six months. The resident will have approximately 100 low vision encounters.

  4. The resident will become familiar with the VANJ VISOR (Visually Impairment Services Outpatient Rehabilitation) program in which specific needs of low vision patients are addressed.


Goal 4: To provide the resident with didactic and scholarly experiences

  1. The resident will complete assigned readings in particular areas of ocular disease on a monthly basis. 

  2. The resident will be required to prepare a Minor (20 minutes) and a Major (50 minutes) presentation to be given at SUNY College of Optometry as part of the Friday Program.

  3. The resident will prepare a publishable paper.

  4. The resident will attend at least the required amount of grand rounds of the SUNY Friday program.  Residents are encouraged to attend all grand rounds available.

  5. The resident will submit an abstract to at least one of the optometric educational meetings, such as the American Academy of Optometry and SECO.

  6. The resident will be encouraged to attend at least one major optometric conference.


Goal 5: To be provided with experience in communicating with ophthalmic subspecialties and health care providers outside the ophthalmic arena.

  1. The resident will participate with ophthalmology residents in subspecialty clinics such as retina, cornea, surgery, low vision and VISOR(Visually Impairment Services Outpatient Rehabilitation).

  2. The resident will be given the opportunity to participate in specialty clinics such as endocrinology, cardiology, primary care and acute care.

  3. The resident will write appropriate referrals and reports to other ophthalmic and non-ophthalmic health care providers.


Goal 6: To be provided with the opportunity to teach students of optometry and of other disciplines.

  1. The resident will provide instruction on direct ophthalmoscopy to physician assistant and nurse practitioner students rotating through the Eye Clinic at Lyons.

  2. The resident will supervise and provide didactic experiences to fourth year optometry students.

  3. The resident will be expected to provide educational interaction with externs, such as journal club, case report review and development of quizzes.

  4. The resident will be expected to present his or her Minor and Major presentations to the externs.


New Jersey VA Curriculum