Photophobia and Blurry Up-Close Vision: Get Used to it
So far in winter quarter of second year, we’ve learned how to use this:
A slit lamp.
…and how to use this:
A BIO (binocular indirect ophthalmoscope). This one’s a Keeler; the Heine BIO looks slightly different.
To check the front segment of the eyes, we don’t have to dilate our patient, but once we get to look at the lens, or the retina, we generally give them eye drops that enlarge their pupil so we can get a better view. However, before we get to do it on real patients in clinic, we have to be proficient in doing these things on our practical exams on our fellow students. This pretty much means that we’re at school even when we have no classes that day in order to practice.
Remember last quarter, when I wrote that second year isn’t as busy as first year?
Well, it got busy this quarter.
On top of our regular school workload of exams, lab homework assignments, clinic shifts, Eye Wear Center glasses dispensing shifts, work-study/part-time jobs and more, we now have to factor in extra time to practice our skills (shining an extremely bright light in our classmate’s eyes) for about an hour at a time, and also sit as patients for them in return so they can shine an extremely bright our eyes for at least an hour. We have to tack on a few hours of downtime afterwards, too, because our up-close vision is blurry from the eye drops so we can’t really study.
Hopefully, this gives you an idea of what to expect in winter quarter of second year. Even though I feel like I’m really busy, I’m still enjoying this year a lot more than last because I feel like we’re finally developing the clinical skills we need to be optometrists. Rather than classes on general subjects (biochemistry, physiology, etc.), we’re starting to talk about the art and science of optometry. I’m finally reminded of why I got interested in becoming an optometrist in the first place–something I forgot pretty often during first year when I was buried in hundreds of pages of notes that didn’t mention the eye at all.
After the holiday break, we only have one and a half quarters left before we become third years. I’ll keep you guys posted!