Residency Program in Comparative Ophthalmology

**The residency training program will not be recruiting for the 2017-2018 cycle. However, please check back regularly as it is updated as information changes regarding specific residencies each year.**

Residency in Comparative Ophthalmology

The Opthalmology Service, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis traditionally offers one 4-year residency training program in Comparative Ophthalmology annually.  Typically the program begins on the 1st August each year.  Currently, the UC Davis Comparative Ophthalmology Section comprises 4 residents, 2 full time opthalmology technicians, 6 ACVO-Diplomates, an ocular pathologist, and a large, multi-disciplinary, NIH-funded vision science laboratory led by a Professional Researcher.  All members of our team work in close coordination to provide exemplary ophthalmic care for animals of all species, communicate clearly with owners and referring veterinarians, teach DVM students, and advance knowledge in comparative ophthalmology.

A. Program Description

The ophthalmology residency program is currently a 4-year program designed to provide training in all medicial and surgical aspects of comparative ophthalmology including large and small domestic animals, anaimals used in laboratories, and non-domestic animals. Residents are responsible for hospital patients and assist in instruction of progressional veterinary medical students and other residents.  In addition, residents are trained in ophthalmic screening of mice for the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium, development and execution of hypothesis-driven research, mentoring in grant development and manuscript preparation, learning research techniques, and provided diverse opportunities for interaction through lectures and rounds with the Department of Ophthalmology in the University of California-Davis Medical Center. The program is collectively designed to prepare the resident for a clinical and research career in an academic institution and board certification through the credential and examination process administered by the American Board of Veterinary Ophthalmology.

B. Goals of the Residency Program

  1. Development of clinical skills to successfully practice veterinary and comparative ophthalmology.

  2. Development of a broad knowledge of the eye and its diseases.

  3. Development of effective clinical teaching skills.

  4. Introduction to methods of research in vision science including study design and execution, as well as grant and manuscript preparation.

  5. Preparation for the certifying examination of the American Board of Veterinary Ophthalmology.

C. Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Regular participation in clinical activities of the Ophthalmology Service including evening and weekend emergency duty. Residents must be able to arrive at the hospital within 15 minutes of an emergency call; therefore, residents must plan to live within 15 miles of the hospital. The ophthalmology residents are not obligated to rotate through general veterinary medical after-hours emergency service.
    • Medical Ophthalmology - Beginning residents are initially under direct supervision of a faculty member. There is then a gradual increase in responsibility throughout the residency program; however, all new cases are seen in conjunction with an ACVO Diplomate.

    • Surgical Training - - Each resident must successfully complete a rigorous reading, simulator, and ex-vivo (cadaver eye) surgical training program. All intraocular and extraocular surgery on patients is done under direct supervision of senior staff until the resident has demonstrated sufficient skills to justify her or his operating independently.

    • Ophthalmic Pathology - - Under the direct supervision and mentoring of our ocular pathologist, residents are required to develop sufficient skills in and knowledge of ocular pathology to enable them to interpret gross and histopathologic changes in diseased ocular tissue.

    • The UCD Mouse Biology Program - ( is a major participant in the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium ( The UCD Veterinary Ophthalmology Service provides ophthalmic screening of mice for this program, which constitutes a major responsibility for the first-year resident.

    • Research - During his or her training program, each resident must complete a research project in an area related to ophthalmology or vision science. Submission of a manuscript to a peer-reviewed, archival journal is required. The expenses of conducting this research and the publication of the information may be borne, at least in part, by the Ophthalmology Service; however, the resident is expected to apply for intramural or extramural funds to support their research.

    • Regular participation in seminars, conferences, rounds, and journal club, including those held in association with the UCD Medical School is required. Presentation of research data at the VMTH House Officer Seminar Day and at least one ACVO Resident's Forum is required.

    • Attendance at two or more meetings of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, one Magrane Basic Science Course, and one or more of the UCD and/or University of Wisconsin phaco training courses is required during the residency training program. University funds may be available to subsidize the expenses involved in these, but attendance is ultimately the resident's responsibility.

    • Teaching - - Considerable responsibility for teaching students in clinics and participation in teaching laboratories for UCD veterinary student courses is required. The resident may also be asked to provide some lectures in ophthalmology courses for UCD veterinary medical students, at local associations, or to veterinary student clubs.

    • All patient records must be completed in an exemplary and timely fashion.

  2. The VMTH is committed to building strong relationships with its constituents and maintaining excellent communications within its walls.  Therefore, timely and complete communication with referring veterinarians and cleints forms a major part of the resident's duties.  Residents must also establish and maintain corfial realtionships with all members of the VMTH community: students, fellow-residents, faculty, staff, referring veterinarians, and clients.
  3. Continutation into subsequent quears of the training program is contingent upon satisfactory performance in previous and current years.
  4. Failure to meet all aspects of the duties and responsibilities will result in termination or withholding of the certificate of residency completion.
D. Requirements
  1. Graduation from a School of Veterinary Medicine.
  2. A minimum of 12 months' full-time clinical practice as a veterinarian in a general ("rotating") intership or equivalent private practive experience between completion of the veterinary degree and beginning the residency program.
  3. Demonstration of high motivation and excellent interpersonal skills.
  4. Satisfactory ethical standing.

E. Application procedure

  1. The application procedures vary somewhat each year and you must check back here regularly to verify requirements for any given cycle.  In recent years, the University of California, Davis Veterinary Ophthalmology Program has adhered to the ORCA rules as outlined on the ACVO website. The Veterinary Internship-Residency Matching Program (VIRMP) has NOT been utilized.  So that you may begin thinking about and planning your packet, typically, the following items have been required:
  • A UCD-VMTH residency application form
  • A personal statement highlighting career goals, personal background, and resasons for applying for this residency.
  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • Three to five letters of recommendation from faculty members or veterinary/medical practitioners.  These letters should address (among other things) aptitude and performance in intellectual and creative pursuits pertinent to scientific research, knowledge of veterinary medicine, clinical skills, ability to apply knowledge in a clinical situation, and ability to communicate and work with others in a team.
  • Veterinary school transcripts-including grade point average and class rank.  An official English translation of these must be included if they are not in English.
Application materials, letters of reference, and scanned transcripts should be sent electronically to: (Please enter "Ophthalmology Residency" in the subject line).

F. Review Process:

The review process also may vary from year to year; however, typically, written applications are reviewed and a selected number of applicants are short-listed and invited foar a personal 1-day interview at the University of California-Davis-usually between the end of the ACVO meeting (usually late October to early November) and the withdrawal date for the VIRMP program (usually early January).

G. Interviews/Site Visits

Over the last few years UC Davis Ophthalmology has revised their policy towards visits from those applying for our residency.  Short (1-2 day) visits for resident candidates are permitted only at a time when we are not conducting invited interviews of those candidiates who we have shortlisted.  Typically, these are best scheduled sometime between February and October.

H. Timeline

To be determined each year; however, UC Davis typically follows the ORCA guidelines (see ACVO website). Please check back here regularly for actual dates for the coming cycle.

Questions regarding the residency application and review process not addressed on this webpage, can be directed to David Maggs, BVSc, DACVO at

The University of California, Davis, and the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital are interested in candidates who are committed to the highest standards of scholarship and professional activities, and to the development of a campus climate that supports equality and diversity.