The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) is an association, not an actual physical location that has established certifying criteria for ophthalmologists. After a person graduates from college (4 years) and then veterinary school (4 years), they usually complete a 1 year internship in small animal medicine and surgery. The person then serves a 3 year residency in ophthalmology under the teachings and guidance of faculty ophthalmologists. Once the residency is completed the board certification process begins first with a credentials package consisting of publications, case reports, and resume. If the credentials are accepted by the ACVO exam committee, the applicant is allowed to take the examination. The exam is a four day ordeal consisting of written, practical, and surgical parts. Finally, after passing all of the above criteria, the veterinarian is considered a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists or in short, is board-certified in veterinary ophthalmology.
The mission of the residency training program at the Eye Care for Animals is to train and equip individuals in the contemporary diagnostics, medical and surgical aspects of veterinary ophthalmology as it pertains to all domestic animal species and exotics in compliance with the guidelines established by the ACVO. Upon successful completion of the residency program, the resident will have submitted necessary materials for approval by the credentials committee of the ACVO which are required for eligibility to sit for the ACVO examinations. The program is outlined in six month rotating cycles within a three year period. The resident is expected to achieve certain goals during each of the six month periods. The Eye Care for Animals has residents in a three year rotational program and is continually seeking new residents.
Resident patient responsibility is in association with the primary mentor on clinical duty. The resident is required to perform all physical examinations on hospitalized patients and assist the primary ophthalmologist in ophthalmic examinations.
The residents will provide emergency services on a rotational basis after hours. These emergencies are divided up among the residents. An emergency schedule has been established for the entire three year program with equal division of holidays over the three year period.
The ophthalmology service conducts three types of rounds in which residents participate. Clinical rounds regarding the clinical patients are held at varied times throughout the week with review of active patients. Journal Club rounds are held once a month, with one of the residents responsible for bringing articles for discussion. The articles reviewed should pertain to veterinary ophthalmology and to the subject matter of the didactic schedule. Histopathology rounds are held once monthly. The resident is assisted by the mentor and will be responsible for presenting interesting histological slides that pertain to the subject matter of the didactic schedule.
As members of the residency program with the Eye Care for Animals, veterinarians will be guided through a detailed schedule of training. The following is a typical rotation schedule used by the residents. Individual schedules are, however, tailored to the needs of the resident. Please review the residency schedule for full training schedule.
The residents are reviewed every six months to assess their progression through the program. This is also an opportunity for the resident to provide input into the program and assess specific goals in training during the six month period.
Funds are made available for residents to travel to approved training courses. These include the annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. Other continuing courses that are relevant, including short courses on ocular histology, phacoemulsification, and electroretinography will be attended on an availability basis. In addition, the resident is expected to attend a one month didactic course offered by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists during their first or second year of training. Also during the first or second year the resident may attend the one week course in the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology ocular histology section. Attending CE meetings will be credited against professional improvement time outlined by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology in the residency training.
The resident is expected to conduct a clinical research project. Funding for this project is available through the residency training fund. It is expected a publication will be the end result of such project.
The American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology Committee on residency training recommends that 20% of a resident's time be devoted to professional improvement. This will be allocated weekly during the three year training period. The other days will be devoted to clinical training. It is expected the bulk of the professional improvement time will be utilized in preparation for the credentials and board examinations for the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology. The time taken to attend continuing education programs including the didactic course are considered part of the resident's professional development time.
There are two weeks of vacation time accrued annually and may be taken during the year of training. A system of advanced notification vacation time has been established. Residents are responsible for covering any emergency duty they have with the other residents or staff ophthalmologists.