Optometry Externship Program - Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System (CAVHCS)
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Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System (CAVHCS)


Optometry Externship Program

The Optometry Externship Training Program, with the Department of Veterans Affairs at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System (CAVHCS) has established an externship rotation in Optometry. Optometry services are a part of the comprehensive health care services offered by CAVHCS. As a hospital-based training rotation, externs will have exposure and experience eye care that ranges from primary eye care to more complicated encounters requiring advanced diagnostic and therapeutic care of outpatients, inpatients and emergency room patients.

Since CAVHCS is a multi-disciplinary health care facility, externs will have the opportunity to spend clinic time in other specialty areas, such as cardiology, neurology and diabetes clinics.


  • Develop superior knowledge and concepts used in primary eye care;
  • To integrate information effectively for both common and complex conditions and independently pursue problem specific testing;
  • To accurately and effectively perform advanced/less common tests/techniques in eye care such as pachymetry, retinal photography, retinal tomography, and retinal topography;
  • To independently make an accurate differential diagnosis of common and complex conditions and determine a final diagnosis;
  • To independently formulate a management plan for diagnosis that would include proper treatment and follow-up or referral for secondary or tertiary care;
  • To effectively communicate with patients, preceptors, staff, other externs, and other health professionals. Establish good doctor-patient rapport. Demonstrate respectful and compassionate interpersonal communication;
  • To accurately code office visit and procedural (CPT) codes with correct (ICD-9) diagnoses for maximum insurance reimbursements.

CAVHCS offers:

  • State of the Art Opthalmic Equipment in our Eye Clinics
  • Use of the most integrated computerized medical record system available
  • Accommodations
  • Daily Meal Voucher
  • Shuttle service between Campuses
  • Free parking

Send completed processing packet to the following address:

Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System
ATTN: Rita McGraw (115S)
215 Perry Hill Rd
Montgomery, AL 36109


For assistance contact Mrs. McGraw at:
Margarette.McGraw@va.gov or (334) 272-4670 ext.5510


NOTE: Incomplete student processing packets will not be processed and you will not be able to start your residency training.

A complete background check including fingerprinting is required for all VA staff and trainees. Fingerprinting can be done at a VA near you and is highly recommended in order to expedite your background clearance. If you live in the near proximity to another VA please contact Ms. Golston at 334-272-4670, ext. 4096 and she can make arrangements for you to have your fingerprints completed at your local facility. If you have had your fingerprints checked by the VA within 120 days of your anticipated start date at CAVHCS, please provide Ms. Golston with the name of the VA where the fingerprints were checked.

If we are not able to have your fingerprints completed at least 2 weeks prior to your start date it may prolong your educational experience here at CAVHCS.

Upon receipt of your forms, our Human Resources department will contact you to arrange a time for you to come to the facility for fingerprinting and other entry processing requirements. a complete background check including fingerprinting is required for all VA staff and trainees. The following documents are required at time of fingerprinting:

  • One government issued photo ID (i.e. driver license, military ID, passport) and one non-photo ID (see list on VA Form 0711, page 5, item 4 above). 
  • Permanent Resident Card (if applicable).


Join the Optometry Externship Training Program at CAVHCS in the VA!

CAVHCS Trainee Programs

Audiology Program
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Trainee Program
Dental Assistant Trainee Program
Dietetics Program
EKG Technician Trainee Program
Geriatrics Residency
Medical Laboratory Technology Training Program
Nursing Training Program
Occupational Therapy Trainee Program
Optometry Externship Program
Pharmacy Student Training Program
Physical Therapy Training Program
Podiatry Residency
Psychology Internship Program
Radiography Trainee Program
Recreation Therapy Program
Social Work Program
Speech Language Pathology (SLP) Trainee Program


Stephen J. Bordlee, O.D.
Director, CAVHCS Optometry Externship Program
215 Perry Hill Road
Montgomery, AL 36109-3798
Phone: (334) 272-4670,
ext. 4800
Email: stephen.bordlee@va.gov


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