Residency Program in Comparative Ophthalmology

Residency Program in Comparative Ophthalmology

UCD SVM Releases 2020 Ophthalmology Residency Position Description and Application Guidelines. (Oct 23rd, 2019)


Residency 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 August 1st, 2020. The successful applicant will become a key member of our team which includes 5 ophthalmology residents, 2.5 full-time registered veterinary technicians, 5 ACVO Diplomates, 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 the instruction of professional veterinary medical students and other residents. 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 Department of Ophthalmology at the University of California, Davis Medical Center. Opportunities 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 veterinarians working at the University of California, Davis with primary patient care duties to hold either a California license or a special University license. To obtain a University license, veterinarians that are not licensed in the state of California will be required to take a 3-day course on regionally-important diseases and a short open-book jurisprudence test, in addition to being background checked. The course will be given, via webinar, in April so that you do not have to be in Davis. You can attend this webinar from any location. The cost of licensure will be the responsibility of the trainee (currently $600). This limited license only permits individuals to work in California as veterinarians for University-related practice. Although veterinarians that do not have hands-on patient care duty (e.g., anatomic pathologists, clinical pathologists) are not required to hold this license, obtaining the license is encouraged whenever your activities may have an impact on animal-owning members of the public. If in doubt, please contact the Office of the CVMO for clarification.

C. 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.

D. 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. Ophthalmology residents are not obligated to rotate through the 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 throughout the residency. State-of-the-art ocular imaging modalities are available in the Comparative Ophthalmology Imaging Laboratory (COIL).
    • 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 ACVO Diplomates until the resident has demonstrated sufficient skills to justify her or his operating independently.
    • Ophthalmic Pathology - 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 forms 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. Presentation of research data at the UCD VMTH House Officer Seminar Day and at least one ACVO conference is required.
    • 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
    • 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 and/or facilitate discussions in UCD DVM curriculum, at local associations, or for veterinary student clubs.
    • Medical Records - 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 clients forms a major part of the resident's duties.  Residents must also establish and maintain cordial relationships with all members of the VMTH community: students, fellow house officers, faculty, staff, referring veterinarians, and clients.
  3. Continuation into subsequent years 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.

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

Foreign applicants will be considered for this position provided that certain conditions are met.

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 at the University of California, Davis no later than 9 am PST on Monday November 18th, 2019.  Early applications preferred; late applications will not be reviewed.
  3. All materials including transcripts must be submitted electronically.

Please submit the following:

  • A UCD-VMTH residency application form.
  • A personal statement highlighting career goals, personal background, and reasons for applying for the 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.
  • Scanned 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 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 invited for a personal 1-day interview at the University of California, Davis according to the timeline below.

I. Timeline

  • Monday November 18, 2019 (9 am Pacific): Final deadline for electronic receipt of all application materials. Earlier applications preferred; late applications will not be reviewed.
  • Wednesday Nov 27, 2019: Invitations for personal, on-site interviews emailed. Unsuccessful candidates will NOT be contacted.
  • Monday Dec 4, 2019 through Thursday January 9, 2020: Personal, 1-day interviews for residency conducted (by invitation only). Appointments are assigned in order of receipt.
  • Monday January 13, 2020 (9 am PST): Offer made to successful candidate. (Unsuccessful interviewees WILL be notified).


J. Visits

  • While we do permit short (1-2 day) clinic visits at no charge for resident candidates throughout most of the year, such visits are not possible between the ACVO meeting and the date of the ORCA announcement (This year Wednesday Nov 6, 2019 – Monday January 13, 2020).
  • If after critical review of information on this webpage you have questions regarding the residency application please direct these 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.