The Villages Optometry Externship Program - North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System
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North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System

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The Villages Optometry Externship Program

The Villages Outpatient Clinic 


The Villages VA Outpatient Clinic is a 100,000 square foot multi-disciplinary facility which offers primary medical care, medical specialties, an on-site laboratory and pharmacy, diagnostic imaging services, as well as an ambulatory surgical center. The Eye Clinic has been outfitted with the latest ophthalmic instrumentation available and is comprised of 8 fully-equipped examination and treatment rooms, 5 special testing rooms, an optical, and an outpatient operating suite. The clinic is staffed with two full-time optometrists, three health technicians, two opticians, and one full-time ophthalmologist. 4-5 Optometry Student Externs also play a vital role in the care and treatment of patients at the facility. Services provided include routine eye exams, treatment of eye emergencies, management of eye disease and advanced therapeutic services including cataract extraction, laser procedures, minor eye and eyelid surgery as well as intravitreal injections. The Optometry Student Externship Program at The Villages truly provides one of the greatest opportunities anywhere in the country for students to gain modern, full-scope clinical experience during their 4th year of training.

During the rotation, students will gain hands-on experience with not only primary eye care, but with the management and comanagement of a vast array of eye disease. Students will also receive didactic training through preceptor teaching, conferences and lectures. Students are offered ample opportunities to observe ophthalmic surgical procedures performed on-site. While assigned to the rotation, each student becomes an integral and interactive member of the clinic staff. They actively participate in the daily clinical care and treatment of patients as well as participate in professional educational activities with the staff.

Hours of Operation

Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
(For Other Clinic/HCC/OPC/CBOC Locations, please visit the individual facility pages, available from the right side of our Directions page)

The Villages VA Eye Clinic Offers the Following Amenities to Our Externs

  • Modern, fully-equipped examination rooms. There is no need to bring any equipment to the rotation unless the student prefers his/her indirect ophthalmoscope or other personal equipment.

Exam Room

  • State-of-the-art ophthalmic diagnostic equipment including:
    • Zeiss Cirrus Spectral Domain HD-OCT
    • Zeiss digital fundus camera with angiography capabilities
    • Humphrey automated visual field analyzer
    • A and B-scan ultrasounds
    • Magellan corneal topographer
    • Digital pachymeter
    • Slit lamp, external and anterior segment camera systems
    • Autorefractors and lensometers
    • IOL Master 500

Ophthalmic Diagnostic Equipment 

  • Complete Electronic Medical Records. Students gain first-hand experience with the world's most integrated electronic medical record system. All rooms are equipped with dual display computer systems for easy access to medical records as well as all ophthalmic images including OCT scans, photographs and visual fields.

Electronic Medical Records 

  • Integrated Pretesting Equipment. Pretesting data (autorefraction, lensometry and tonometry) is automatically transferred electronically from pretesting equipment to the examination rooms for use in the electronic medical record.

Integrated Pretesting Equipment 

  • Experienced Professional Staff. The clinical staff, assembled from around the country, brings together training and experience from the VA, private practice, as well as institutions such as The Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and Will's Eye Hospital. Students train directly with these knowledgeable and experienced staff on a daily basis.
  • Real-world Experience. The rotation is designed to provide students with real-world experience as independent practicing optometrists. Students are expected to care for each patient to the best of their ability and always attempt fully complete each examination including assessments, plans, and special testing as needed. The staff promotes and encourages students to gradually gain independence as they become experienced in the care of patients. Staff members are always readily available and willing to assist at any time as needed.
  • Experience with Specialized Equipment. Students will gain first-hand experience and training on specialized ophthalmic equipment for retinal photography, optic nerve and retinal tomography (HD-OCT), A and B-scan ultrasonography, corneal topography, anterior segment photography, IOL determination, pachymetry and additional instrumentation as needed in the care of patients.
  • Observation of surgical procedures. During their rotation, students will have the opportunity to observe ophthalmic surgical and invasive procedures including argon and YAG laser procedures, cataract surgery, intravitreal injections, and minor eye and eyelid procedures.
  • Educational Opportunities. Continued professional development is important and stressed. Student externs will attend and participate in grand rounds, conferences, lectures as well as any additional educational or training opportunities that become available at the facility or local community.
  • Parking. There is no charge for parking at the facility.
  • Housing. A wide variety of housing options are available for students.
  • Climate and attractions. The Villages offers a pleasant climate year-round and is in close proximity to many lakes, both coastlines, beautiful beaches and countless attractions.

For additional details about The Villages Optometry Externship program, please contact Dr. Matthew Cordes at (352) 674-5131.