Residency Program in Ocular Disease
California Eye Specialists/Azul Vision - Los Angeles
2619 E. Colorado Blvd., Suite 150
Pasadena, CA 91107
Residency Coordinator: Rex Villegas, O.D., FAAO
- David Camara, O.D.
- Minh Shaw, O.D.
- Jennie Tran, O.D.
- Selena Chu Wong, O.D.
- Talin Khachatoor Sarkissian, O.D.
- Elena Karapetian, O.D.
- Nayiri Abnous, O.D.
Current Resident: Shabnam Habibi, O.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
2021-22: Nayiri Abnous, O.D. (email@example.com)
2020-21: Talin Khachatoor Sarkissian, O.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
2019-20: Deborah Duan, M.S., O.D.
The mission of this residency program is to provide optometric practitioners with the experience, skills, training, and knowledge necessary to develop advanced competence in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of diseases and disorders of the eye and visual system.
- To ensure that the resident acquires sufficient experience in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of diseases of the ocular and visual systems.
- To ensure that the resident develops advanced skills and competence in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of diseases of the ocular and visual systems.
- To ensure that the resident develops advanced knowledge in order to diagnose, treat, and manage diseases of the ocular and visual systems. To reinforce and expand the resident’s knowledge base in ocular disease and ocular manifestations of systemic disease.
- To ensure that the resident obtains experience working with subspecialty ophthalmic providers in order to develop an understanding of his/her role in the comprehensive eye care of a patient.
- To instill in the resident the importance and value of professional development.
- The resident will have no less than 2000 patient encounters in a primary and secondary care setting. These patients will include regularly scheduled patients, unscheduled urgent appointments, and after-hours “on call” patients.
- The resident will diagnose, treat, and manage ocular diseases to the extent of their license and refer to a subspecialist for procedures outside the scope of California optometric practice. Common ocular disorders encountered on a daily basis include dry eyes, cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, pathological diplopia, macular degeneration, and urgent “red eye” cases.
- The resident will acquire hands on experience in advanced techniques such as punctal dilation and irrigation, gonioscopy, epilation, foreign body removal, rust ring removal, OCT interpretation, VF interpretation, fundus photography, endothelial cell count, pachymetry, and cranial nerve testing.
- The resident will detect and diagnose ocular manifestations of systemic diseases, communicate with patients’ primary provider and specialty providers, and order laboratory tests and imaging studies as needed.
- The resident will attend weekly seminars and lectures presented by VA faculty affiliated with MBKU.
- The resident will receive weekly lessons or journal articles to read and review.
- The resident will write a manuscript (research paper or case report) suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed health care journal, or prepare a poster suitable for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Optometry or other similar conference.
- The resident will spend no less than 15 days directly observing a subspecialty clinic. Subspecialty clinics include cataract, glaucoma, cornea, oculoplastic, and retina.
- The resident will have no less than 4 days of direct surgical observation in the Eye Surgical Center. Surgical observation can include cataract, glaucoma, cornea, oculoplastic, and retina surgeries..
- To encourage the resident to practice to the extent of his/her knowledge and license, the resident will be encouraged to consult with subspecialists for challenging cases, via phone, email, or direct conversation, before referring the case for a subspecialty appointment.
- The resident will be encouraged to attend the annual meeting of the American Academy of Optometry or other similar national conference.
- The resident will be introduced to academic and research modes of practice.
Duration of Residency Program
The residency will be one year in length, beginning on or around August 1 and ending on or around July 31.
Typical Daily or Weekly Schedule in Clinic
- Clinic hours are from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday - Friday. A typical week will consist of:
- Direct patient care: 4.0 days
- Optometry seminars/lectures: 0.5 days
- 0.5 days of rotating schedule of: Subspecialty clinic observation, surgery observation, medical optometry clinic observation, administrative time, additional direct patient care
- Direct Patient Care can include primary care eye exams, medical eye exams, and precepting of optometric interns in primary care or medical eye clinic.
- The resident will take on-call responsibilities twice during the residency year. Each on-call assignment will be for one week.
- Optometry seminars/lectures will be held every Thursday afternoon. Lectures will be conducted by residency faculty from the Greater Los Angeles VA system, Marshall B. Ketchum University, and guests from other programs.
The resident will have the opportunity to observe and work with the sub-specialists in their various clinics on a weekly basis. The resident will have the opportunity to observe ocular surgery. The sub-specialties include cataract, cornea, glaucoma, retina, and oculoplastic.
California Eye Specialists has ten offices throughout Southern California. The resident will be expected to travel to the offices in the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys (Tarzana, Glendale, Pasadena, San Gabriel, Monrovia, and Glendora). All offices are equipped with standard examination room equipment (preliminary tests, phoropter, slit lamp, retinoscope, indirect ophthalmoscope, Goldmann tonometer), OCT, automated visual field, and fundus camera. Additionally, several offices are equipped with Optos, A-scan ultrasound, B-scan ultrasound, fluorescein angiography, corneal topography, endothelial cell count, argon laser, and Nd:YAG laser.
Type and Number of Patients
The resident will have no less than 2000 patient encounters during the residency year. CES sees a broad demographic of patients, ranging from pediatric to geriatric. The vast majority of patients seen will be middle-aged to elderly from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. The resident can expect to gain experience in diagnosing and managing diabetic retinopathy, primary and secondary glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal diseases, corneal diseases, uveal diseases, neuro-optometry, and acute “red eye” conditions.
The resident will have the opportunity to precept 4th year optometry interns at various times during the academic year. CES currently supports two optometry interns.
Optometry seminars/lectures will be held every Thursday afternoon. Lectures will be conducted by residency faculty from the Greater Los Angeles VA system, Marshall B. Ketchum University, and guests from other programs. The seminars are attended by GLA VA residents, GLA VA optometry interns, and are open to outside optometrists for CE credits.
- Research Paper/Case Report – The resident will be required to write a research paper or case report of publishable quality. A poster presentation at a national optometry conference will also fulfill this requirement.
- The resident must attend a national optometry education conference during the residency year (eg. annual meeting of American Academy of Optometry).
- The resident is highly encouraged to attend and participate in the annual Residency Forum at Marshall B. Ketchum University.
The annual stipend is $50,000.00.
Optional health insurance coverage is offered after 61 days; biweekly premiums will be deducted.
The resident will have 10 paid holidays during the residency year.
The resident will have time off to attend one educational conference.
Paid Time Off
The resident will accrue a total of 10 days of paid time off to be used for sick days or vacation.
The resident will be included in the company’s malpractice insurance coverage.
The resident can attend SCCO sponsored continuing education courses at no cost on a space available basis.
Library resources are available to the resident through SCCO and the VA.
Note that all residency applicants will be evaluated without regard to sex, sexual orientation, race, color, creed, age, national origin, or non-disqualifying physical disabilities.
- Applicant must have earned an OD degree, or will have earned such a degree by the time of graduation, from an accredited school or college of optometry.
- Applicant must have taken and passed Parts I, II, and III of the NBEO, as well as the California licensing exam.
- The applicant must have a valid CA license to practice optometry, or has met the necessary requirements to have a valid CA license, by August 01.
- The applicant must register with the Optometry Residency Match program.
- A personal interview is required. The applicant should contact the residency program coordinator (Dr. Rex Villegas) to schedule an appointment for the interview.
Required paperwork for residency applicants to be sent to Dr. Rex Villegas, Residency Coordinator:
- Curriculum Vitae (CV)
- Letter of intent
- Three (3) letters of recommendation preferably from instructors who are familiar with your clinical work.
- Official optometry school transcripts up to the time of your application
- Official NBEO transcripts
- The Residency Coordinator and faculty members decide which candidates to rank for the match and determine the sequential ranking of those candidates based on the application materials, the on-site interview, and recommendation letters. Applicants are scored in each category as Unsatisfactory, Satisfactory, Above Satisfactory, and Exceptional. Candidates are ranked according to the following categories and weight:
NBEO Scores 20%
Letters of Recommendation 20%
- Final candidates’ selections are reviewed by the Assistant Dean of Residencies and the approved list is submitted to ORMatch by the Residency Coordinator.
- ORMatch contacts the Residency Coordinator with the results of the match
- The Program Coordinator contacts the matched candidate within 1 week to confirm their intent to enroll in the residency program.
Requirements for Residency Completion and Awarding of Certificate
- Residency Paper: The resident is required to write a research paper or case report of publishable quality suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed professional journal.
- Optometric Meeting: The resident is required to attend one national optometric educational meeting. The resident will be encouraged to fulfill this requirement by attending the annual meeting of the American Academy of Optometry.
- Patient Care: Patient care must be satisfactory or outstanding with steady improvement throughout the residency, based on preceptor and Residency Coordinator evaluations.
- Timely Submission of Required Paperwork: The resident is required to submit all paperwork including the Residency Paper and quarterly evaluations.
The program was accredited in 2021. The next scheduled site visit is 2029.
Local Activities and Attractions
The San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys are located in the greater Los Angeles area. Entertainment and recreational activities abound. Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Orange County, beaches, mountains, and theme parks are all within driving distance.
Rex Villegas, O.D., FAAO
Director of Medical Optometry
California Eye Specialists Medical Group, Inc.
2619 E. Colorado Blvd., Suite 150
Pasadena, CA 91107
Judy W.H. Tong, O.D., FAAO
Assistant Dean of Residencies
Southern California College of Optometry at
Marshall B. Ketchum University
2575 Yorba Linda Blvd., Fullerton, CA 92831-1699
714.449.7429 • Fax: 714.992.7811• Email: email@example.com