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  • Writer's pictureLFaits

A Very Long Dilation

I have my practical in a week from now on performing BIO (binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy), three-mirror gonioscopy, Goldmann tonometry, and 78/90D (biomicroscopic indirect ophthalmoscopy). So like anyone else who has their practical this coming week (half the class), I had to go and sit as a patient, as well as make time to practice on other students. This awesome Monday, I had a pharmacology exam that I had to pull yet another all-nighter to study for (there were about 100 new drugs, and some more old drugs/mechanisms/toxicities/etc. on this exam). I was extremely tired, but I knew I had to practice doing more dilated exams, so my roommate and I decided to go to open lab and just practice on each other before we head home after class. I figured there’s nothing to lose, since it should wear off in a few hours, and I didn’t see my patient until later that evening.

It wasn’t until I was on my way to PCP that I realized my vision was funny. I was dilated for six hours! What was worse, I couldn’t see very well when I was doing my makeup and I ended up looking a little bit awkward (thank goodness my lab partner fixed it for me before too many people noticed). Fortunately, my patient arrived later, and most of my dilation wore off before the patient arrived, and I had my partner there to help me through it.

Lesson #1: Never dilate myself on clinic days, ever. Even if it’s six to eight hours in advance.

Lesson #2: Never do my makeup when I’m dilated.

I never knew dilations lasted that long on me, but I suppose optometry school would be the place you find out all sorts of bizarre things about your eyes. Luckily, my attending doctor understood what happened, and didn’t blame me for showing up to clinic with gigantic pupils.

Since we all have to practice for our practical, it’s funny seeing all the second years walk down the halls with at least one pupil dilated. Heck, I won’t be surprised if some of us just start showing up to class wearing an eye patch. Some of us have already been studying following dilation by patching our dilated eyes.

So when you get to second year in optometry school, be prepared. Sometimes, you’ll be able to use both eyes; other times, you’ll feel like a cyclops. Other times, you’ll read so much, you might even see double what you’re supposed to see. So while you’re in first year, appreciate the times you get to use both your eyes at the same time when you study.


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