Lexington VAHCS Optometry Residency Program - Lexington VA Health Care System
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Lexington VA Health Care System


Lexington VAHCS Optometry Residency Program

Image of the Lexington VA Medical Center

Program Description

The Ocular Disease and Low Vision Rehabilitation Optometry Residency Program at the Lexington Veterans Affairs Health Care System is a 12-month (52-week) post-graduate clinical education program with four positions available.  It is accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometry Education and affiliated with the Indiana University School of Optometry.

The program was established on July 1, 2008, with one residency position and expanded to four residency positions beginning July 1, 2012.  It is a twelve-month, post-graduate clinical education program in which the resident is an employee of the VA Medical Center facility and a clinical staff member in the Optometry Clinic.  The Optometry Clinic at the Lexington VA Medical Center is the primary training site for the resident.  The resident will also spend time at the University of Kentucky’s Department of Ophthalmology. Affiliated with Indiana University School of Optometry, the program provides residents a high-quality learning experience.   

Program Details

The program focuses on advanced competency in the clinical skills and scholarly development of the residents by exposing the residents to direct patient care enhanced by lectures, conferences, presentations, and consultation with other medical services. Residents will become proficient in ocular disease diagnosis and management, and comanaging systemic conditions that have ocular manifestations. The residents will also attend weekly Grand Rounds and Fluorescein Angiography conference at the University of Kentucky's Department of Ophthalmology during the academic year, with opportunities to participate in the department's sub-specialty clinics. Residents will also participate in and lead daily educational exercises with the optometry staff and student externs, which are structured to foster an evidence-based medicine approach.

The Lexington VA Health Care System is a dual-division medical center. The optometry clinic is located at the Franklin R. Sousley campus, which was established in 1931, and is on the west side of Lexington on Leestown Road. It occupies almost 5,000 square feet in renovated space, which includes nine examination lanes, a clinic conference area, and four specialty testing rooms for equipment such as a retinal camera, OCT, Humphrey and Goldmann visual field analyzers, specialty contact lens fitting sets including RGP and scleral lenses, and low vision fitting equipment. This program is uniquely designed to offer residents the opportunity to participate in several specialty clinics. In addition to primary eye care examinations, the residents provide low vision outpatient blind rehabilitation services to visually impaired Veterans, vision therapy services to combat Veterans with a history of polytrauma or traumatic brain injury, and medical contact lens fittings. This multi-faceted experience helps to produce well-rounded, capable physicians who feel confident to enter the workforce and pursue a variety of career paths.

The didactic portion of the residency has been developed to help the residents become proficient in reading and applying medical literature. Residents can expect to enjoy discussions and books about the importance of evidence-based medicine, as well as medical ethics and the arts of doctoring and teaching. These lessons are put to clinical practice while precepting student externs in the second half of the year. We also routinely read medical journal articles and meet to discuss practical applications.

> List of previous residents

2020-2021 Residents
2020-2021 Residents
Heather LaVallee, Kaydee Laird, Emily Scully, Margi Patel

Optometry Staff

Ashley K. Rone, OD, FAAO   Ashley K. Rone, OD, FAAO, is a native of Owensboro, Kentucky and graduated from Transylvania University.  She attended Optometry School at Indiana University, graduating in 2007 after completing an externship at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Florida.  Interested in eye disease, Dr. Rone did a residency in Ocular Disease/Low Vision at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. She has worked as a staff optometrist at the Lexington, Kentucky VA Health Care System since July 2008. She served as the Student Program Coordinator from 2008-2012, and as residency coordinator from 2012 to present.
Tara L. Foltz, OD   Tara L. Foltz, OD is a native of Princeton, Kentucky.  She obtained her undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Kentucky and then went on to attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry.  Upon graduating in 2006, she did a residency in Geriatrics and Low Vision Rehabilitation at the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama.  After several years of private practice experience in Birmingham, Dr. Foltz was excited to move back to Lexington in 2010 and join the staff at the Lexington Veterans Affairs Health Care System. She served as co-coordinator of the student externship program from 2012 to 2013 and then took over duties as chief of optometry from August 2013 to present. She also now serves as the residency co-coordinator.
Breyne L. Middleton, OD, FAAO   Breyne L. Middleton, OD, FAAO, is a native of Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 2004. She received her Doctor of Optometry degree from the Michigan College of Optometry in 2008. Dr. Middleton went on to complete a residency program in Primary Care at WJB Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina.  She joined the Optometry staff at the Lexington VA Health Care System in January 2010 and began serving as coordinator of the student externship program in 2012.
Drew Anderson, OD   Drew Anderson, OD, is a native of Iowa and received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Iowa State University. He then attended optometry school at Pacific University in Oregon, graduating in 2012 after completing clinical externships at the Santa Fe IHS, the Lexington, KY Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Kaiser Permanente in Honolulu. Following graduation he returned to Kentucky to complete an Ocular Disease/Low Vision residency at the Lexington VA Health Care System.  Since completion of the residency program, he has been a part of the optometry clinic staff at the Lexington VA HCS.
Candice Elam Rice, OD, FAAO   Candice Elam Rice, OD, FAAO, is a native of Kentucky and graduated from Clark University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. She attended Optometry School at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, graduating in 2010. Dr. Rice completed her residency in Primary Eye Care at the Lexington, KY Veterans Affairs Health Care System and went on to complete a Clinical Fellowship in Poly-trauma/Traumatic Brain Injury at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, FL. She now works as a staff optometrist at the Lexington, KY VA Health Care System.


Lexington VA Health Care System
Franklin R. Sousley Campus
2250 Leestown Road
Lexington, KY 40511

Length of Program

  • 12 months
  • July 1 start date

Salary and Benefits

  • $34,888
  • Insurance: health and life
  • Full liability insurance coverage
  • Sick leave/annual leave
  • Authorized absence granted for educational purposes

Program Coordinator

Ashley Rone, O.D.
Email: ashley.rone@va.gov
Phone: (859) 233-4511 ext 3635
Fax: (859) 281-3934


Tara Foltz, O.D.
Email: tara.foltz@va.gov
Phone: (859) 233-4511 ext 3652

Expected weekly hours

Four 10-hour week days (no after hours or weekend call)
The resident is expected to spend additional time in self-study.

Requirements for Completion

  • Completion of the 12 months of residency
  • Patient care requirements
  • Participation in discussions and lectures
  • Presentations and tutorials for fourth year students & faculty
  • Participation in Kentucky Residents Day (residents provide CE to local ODs)
  • A publishable quality paper


The Lexington VAHCS Optometry Residency Program provides equal educational opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran status, age, or sex.

Optometry Residency Program Admission Requirements

  • O.D. degree from an accredited program by starting date
  • 3 Letters of recommendation
  • Interview
  • Eligible for state optometry licensure
  • Must be a US citizen
  • Completion of ORMatch (https://natmatch.com/ormatch/index.html)

Interviews typically start in January and end the third week of February. Qualified applicants, who have applied through ORMS, should email to schedule an interview. For additional information, contact Dr. Ashley Rone at ashley.rone@va.gov or (859) 233-4511 ext 3635.


Ashley Rone, OD, FAAO
Optometry Residency Coordinator
Lexington VA Medical Center
859-233-4511 Ext. 3635