Residency Program in Comparative Ophthalmology

Ophthalmology Residency Program

Residency Training in Comparative Ophthalmology

The Comparative Ophthalmology Service, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis is announcing a 4-year, paid residency in Comparative Ophthalmology to begin July 29th, 2024. The successful applicant will become a key member of our team which includes 5 ophthalmology residents, 6 ACVO Diplomates, 4 full-time registered veterinary technicians, 2 animal health technicians, one clinical coordinator, and 1 Emeritus DACVO. The resident will also have access to the resources of our large, multidisciplinary, NIH-funded vision science laboratory with its large staff. All members of our team work in close coordination to provide exemplary ophthalmic care for nonhuman animals of all species, to communicate clearly with owners and referring veterinarians, to teach DVM students, and to advance knowledge through comparative ophthalmic research. 

A. Program Description

The ophthalmology residency is a 4-year program designed to provide training in all medical and surgical aspects of comparative ophthalmology including large and small domestic animals, laboratory animals, as well as captive and wild exotic animals. The resident will be responsible for hospital patients and will assist in instruction of professional veterinary medical students. In addition, the resident will be trained in ophthalmic screening of mice for the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium along with development and execution of hypothesis-driven research. The resident will receive mentoring in grant development, study design and performance, and manuscript preparation, and learn a variety of research techniques.  They will attend a diverse range of lectures and rounds at the  University of California, Davis Medical Center. Opportunities also exist to perform research with and become proficient examining nonhuman primates at the California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC) which houses the Vision Sciences Laboratory (VSL).

The UCD Residency program is designed to prepare the resident for achieving board certification through the credentialing and examination process administered by the American Board of Veterinary Ophthalmology. The intent of the program is to prepare the candidate for a career as a clinician-scientist.

B. Licensure

The California Veterinary Medical Board requires all with primary patient care duties at the University of California, Davis to hold a regular California veterinary license or a University veterinary license. To obtain a University veterinary license, veterinarians who are not licensed in the state of California will be required to take a short open-book jurisprudence test, in addition to being background checked. The cost of obtaining the University veterinary license will be the responsibility of the trainee. The University license permits individuals to work in California as veterinarians for University-related practice only.  

C. Goals of the Residency Program

  1. Development of clinical skills necessary 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.

D. Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Clinical Activities - Regular participation in all clinical activities of the Ophthalmology Service including evening and weekend emergency duty is required. Residents must be able to arrive at the UCD Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) within 15 minutes of an emergency call. Ophthalmology residents are not obligated to rotate through the VMTH’s general after-hours emergency service. 
    • Medical Ophthalmology - Residents are initially under direct supervision of a faculty member. Although there is a gradual increase in responsibility throughout the residency program, all new cases are seen in conjunction with an ACVO Diplomate throughout the residency. State-of-the-art ocular imaging modalities are available in the Comparative Ophthalmology Imaging Laboratory (COIL).
    • Microsurgical Training - Each resident must successfully complete a rigorous reading, simulator, and ex-vivo (cadaver eye) microsurgical training program. All intraocular and extraocular surgery on patients is done under direct supervision of ACVO Diplomates until the resident has demonstrated sufficient skills to justify operating independently.
    • Medical Records - All patient records must be completed in an exemplary and timely fashion.
  2. 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 (weekly) responsibility for the first-year resident.
  3. Research - During their 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 will 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. Presentation of research data at the UCD Veterinary Intern & Resident Research Symposium and at least one ACVO conference is required.
  4. Didactic Training - Regular participation in seminars, conferences, rounds, and journal club, including those held in association with the UCD Medical School is required.
    • External Courses- Attendance at two or more meetings of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, one Magrane Basic Science Course, and at least one of the UCD, VAF, 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.
  5. Teaching - Considerable responsibility for teaching UCD veterinary students in clinics and in teaching laboratories is required. A formal training program in didactic teaching is provided and culminates in the opportunity to lecture to veterinary students in the UCD curriculum. The resident may also be asked to provide some lectures and/or facilitate discussions at local associations or for veterinary student clubs.
  6. Communication and Collegiality - The VMTH is committed to building strong relationships with its constituents and maintaining excellent communications within its walls.  Therefore, residents must at all times:
  • Communicate in a constructive and respectful manner with all members in the workplace (students, house officers, faculty, staff, referring veterinarians, and clients).
  • Ensure that their actions foster and contribute to a positive, collegial, and supportive working and learning environment.
  • Demonstrate positive leadership and effectively guide more junior house officers and students.
  • Act in a manner that positively contributes to the culture and longevity of the Residency Training Program.

Continuation into subsequent years of the training program is contingent upon satisfactory performance in previous and current years.  Failure to meet all aspects of the duties and responsibilities will result in termination or withholding of the certificate of residency completion.

The current salary for the first year of the residency program is $50,183 with 24 days of vacation accrued yearly. Projected salaries for consecutive years are: Year 2 - $52,523; Year 3 - $54,948; Year 4 – $57,716. Continuation into the second year is contingent upon satisfactory performance.

E. Requirements

  1. Graduation from a School of Veterinary Medicine.
  2. A minimum of 12 months full-time clinical practice as a veterinarian between graduation as a veterinarian and beginning the residency training program.
  3. Demonstration of high motivation and excellent interpersonal skills.
  4. Satisfactory ethical standing.

F. Information for foreign applicants

We have traditionally considered foreign applicants for this position (assuming all visa requirements can be met); however, this is a rapidly evolving situation. Please visit this page for latest updates.

G. Application procedure

  1. The University of California, Davis Veterinary Ophthalmology Program will adhere to the current Ophthalmology Residency Choosing Association (ORCA) rules as outlined on the ACVO website. The Veterinary Internship-Residency Matching Program (VIRMP) will NOT be utilized.
  2. Interested individuals should submit the items listed below so that they ARRIVE before the ORCA deadline.  Early applications preferred; late applications will not be reviewed.
  3. All materials including transcripts must be submitted electronically.

Please submit the following:

  • The UCD Ophthalmology Residency Application Form.
  • A personal statement highlighting your career goals, personal background, and specific reasons for applying for the UCD residency.
  • A curriculum vitae.
  • Three to five letters of recommendation from university faculty members or veterinary/medical practitioners. These letters should be emailed directly by the letter writer to faculty members of the UCD Veterinary Ophthalmology Service care of These letters should not be included in the packet you submit.  Letters should address (among other things) your aptitude and performance in intellectual and creative pursuits pertinent to clinical skills, ability to apply knowledge in a clinical situation, knowledge of veterinary medicine, scientific research, and ability to communicate and work with others in a team.
  • PDF copies of 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. Note that these should be sent as pdf documents (scanned if necessary) and should form part of the electronic application. Copies of transcripts scanned by the applicant are permitted; however those candidates selected for an interview should expect to provide an original copy from the issuing institution.
  • Application materials, letters of reference, and scanned transcripts should be sent electronically to: (Please write "Ophthalmology Residency" in the subject line).

H. Review Process:

Written applications will be reviewed and a select number of applicants will be contacted according to the timeline below.  Due to the coronavirus pandemic, no in-person visits or interviews are permitted.  Instead, we will utilize a series of video interviews and potentially other methodologies.  

I. Timeline

  • Monday November 13, 2023 (9 am Pacific): Final deadline for electronic receipt of all application materials. Earlier applications preferred; late applications will not be reviewed.
  • Monday Nov 27, 2023 – Sunday Jan 21, 2024 – Interview period (by invitation only). Unsuccessful candidates will not be contacted.
  • Monday January 29, 2024 (9 am PST): Offer made to successful candidate.

J. Visits

All interviews will be performed via zoom. No in-person visits or interviews are permitted.

If after critical review of information on this webpage you have questions regarding the residency application, please direct these to Bianca C. Martins, DVM, 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.