The Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at Michigan State University offers a comparative ophthalmology residency training program at the College of Veterinary Medicine. This residency is approved by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO), and is designed to prepare the resident for a successful career as an academic or private practice ophthalmologist. This training program will also prepare the Resident for successful completion of all parts of the specialty board certification process established by the ACVO. The goals of this training program are for the Resident to develop rational scientific research methods, clinical skills, and a knowledge base that considerably surpass the minimum necessary requirements and expectations of a Resident in an ACVO-approved training program.

This training program is designed to provide the Resident a depth and breadth of exposure to diagnosis and treatment of veterinary ophthalmic disease processes. Four particular areas of training will be emphasized in this program:

  • The development of sound diagnostic, medical, and surgical skills in ophthalmology
  • Training in and application of research techniques
  • A thorough understanding of the histologic basis of ocular disease
  • A solid foundation in the basic science of comparative ophthalmology


  • Joshua Bartoe, MS, DVM, Dip ACVO, Assistant Professor
  • Simon M. Petersen-Jones, DVM, PhD, DVOphthal MRCVS, DECVO, Associate Professor


A. Clinical Ophthalmology: Clinical training will consist of a minimum of 32 months of hospital service over four years. Distribution of clinical service will be approximately ten months for the first year, eight months for year two, six months for year three, and eight months for year four. Four weeks of non-clinical activity will be used to attend the William Magrane Basic Science Course in Veterinary and Comparative Ophthalmology, an inflexible requirement of the ACVO. The remainder of the non-clinical activity time during all years will be devoted to research and scholarly activity, case report preparation, and independent study in preparation for the ACVO certifying examination. Clinical training will be supervised by one of the Mentors during the training program. It is expected that in the latter part of the program, the Resident will act as primary attending Clinician for up to four clinical (three-week) blocks with Mentors available for consultation and assistance. The Mentors believe learning how to manage ophthalmic emergencies is an important part of the residency training. The residents are therefore required to provide out of hours emergency cover 100% of the time with the duties divided evenly between the residents with faculty providing backup.

i. Surgical Experience: Adnexal and extraocular surgical experience will be gained initially by the Resident assisting the Mentor, and subsequently by the Mentor assisting the Resident. As experience, competency, and confidence are gained, students on the Comparative Ophthalmology Service will assist the Resident for extraocular surgical procedures. Likewise, intraocular surgical experience will be gained by the Resident assisting the Mentor, and by the Resident performing surgical procedures on cadaver eyes. The Resident will perform components of the surgical procedure on client-owned animals once competent mastery of the component procedure has been demonstrated to the Mentors using cadaver eyes.

ii. Surgical Case Log: An ACVO Resident is required to maintain a surgical case log of all ophthalmic cases operated during the residency program. The case log will include date of the surgery, the surgery performed, patient identification, signalment, diagnosis (etc.), and the Resident’s role in surgical management of the case (level 1-Resident assisting the Mentor, level 2-Mentor assisting the Resident, and level 3- Resident unassisted by Mentor).

iii. Species Case Log: An ACVO Resident is required to maintain a species case log of the species evaluated and the date of clinical evaluation. This log is to be kept for the entirety of the Residency Program and submitted at six-month intervals and at the completion of the program to insure that the Resident has gained a breadth of species exposure commensurate with the ACVO Diplomate status.

B. Histologic Basis of Ocular Disease Review: Review of ophthalmic tissues that are processed by the histopathology laboratory will be performed on a regular basis (approximately two hours every four weeks) under the direct supervision of the Mentors.

C. Literature Review: Journal club to review the veterinary and human ophthalmic journal literature will be held regularly (approximately every two weeks). The objective is for the Resident to learn how to critically evaluate the scientific methods used. The Resident and Mentors will present a brief synopsis of the assigned reading material. A list of suggested textbooks and supplementary reading will be provided to the Resident during the early part of the residency.

D. Slide Rounds: Approximately once every two months, clinical photographs and photomicrographs will be projected for interpretation. The purpose of these sessions is for the Resident to learn proper and thorough assessment of clinical abnormalities/normalities, develop and prioritize a list of differential considerations, learn demographic trends for ophthalmic diseases, and develop rational diagnostic and therapeutic strategies and alternatives for each disease process projected in the slides. The Resident will also learn to identify specific surgical procedures that are being performed in the projected slides.

E. Course Requirements: The Resident is required to enroll concurrently in the Graduate College and pursue a graduate degree (Master of Science) during the residency training. Time will be allowed for the Resident to attend necessary graduate level classes for the degree. During the Residency Program, generally no more than one course at a time may be taken during the work hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and no more than five credits can be taken per semester. Course work must be approved by the Resident’s Major Advisor.

F. Teaching Requirements: The Resident is expected to prepare and present two didactic lectures in Comparative Ophthalmology (VM 555) during the Fall Semester of the second, third, and fourth years of the Residency. Daily instruction responsibilities of third and fourth year students in the Comparative Ophthalmology Clerkship (SCS 641) will be in the form of daily ophthalmology rounds and regular topic discussions.

G. General Hospital Rounds and Seminar Requirements: The Resident will attend and participate in the one-hour Residents’ Seminar held every Friday morning. Generally, one presentation each semester is required of the Resident.

H. Project Requirements: The Resident is required to complete a research project. Collaborative research opportunities exist with current departmental comparative ophthalmology projects. Preparation and submission of a research grant proposal will be required. The Resident will present the results of this research project during the Residents’ Forum at the Annual Meeting of the ACVO during the third or fourth year of the training program.

I. Publication Requirement: The Resident will write and submit two scientific manuscripts for publication in a peer reviewed journal. The manuscripts must be relevant to the area of ophthalmology and may include the research project and/or clinical case series. Previous publications will not suffice for the publication requirement. The Major Advisor will review the manuscript prior to submission. The manuscripts must be accepted for publication for completion of the residency program.

J. Annual Residency Report: The Resident will be evaluated formally every six months by the Mentors. Copies of the written review will be sent to the Department Chairperson, Chairperson of the ACVO Residency Committee, and the Resident. The Resident must submit an ACVO Residency Report every six months to the Chairperson of the ACVO Residency Committee. Progression within the residency is dependent upon satisfactory completion of the previous year(s) of the Residency Program.