We’re only one week into our spring semester but I can already tell it’s going to be a good one! Since this is our last term before we start seeing patients at The Eye Center, we learn a lot this semester that is very important and very clinical. We spent first year and some of second year learning the foundation behind everything that we are learning now, which involves being able to determine what is normal, what isn’t, and what treatment course to take for different types of abnormalities. This exciting clinical emphasis is present in both lecture and in lab this semester. Lecture includes courses in treating diseases in the anterior and posterior segments of the eye, a course focusing on contact lenses, a vision therapy course, ocular pharmacology, and a review course on general optometric theory and methods. We’ll be learning tons about diseases, drugs, treatments, therapy, contact lenses, glasses, and how all of these things tie together!
All of the information we’ll be covering in our courses correlates with clinical skills we’ll be learning to perform in our labs. There are a lot of exciting things to learn and this semester will be our last time spent doing all of these different procedures on each other – soon we’ll be working with real patients in the clinic! My lab group has our “clinical internship introduction” lab on Monday mornings. This lab consists of school screenings all across Shelby County, shadowing student doctors, and other various clinical experiences in the community. It’s a valuable way to apply our skills in different ways and get an idea of what it will be like when we’re working with our patients. Three of our other labs this semester (anterior segment, posterior segment, and theory & methods) take place in our pre-clinical labs. This is good news for us, because it means we are learning lots of new exam techniques and perfecting the skills we have already learned! By the end of this semester we’ll be able to tie the information from all of these labs together and perform a full comprehensive eye exam. Our anterior segment lab even includes our injection procedures which will be exciting (and maybe a little scary at first!) to learn. Our last two labs, contact lenses and vision therapy, will involve learning important skills that will be directly applied and used every day in the Contact Lenses & Vision Therapy suites in The Eye Center. I am personally really excited about these two because they are both areas of optometry that we haven’t learned many clinical skills in yet, so it will be a lot of new things to learn.
Between our courses and labs and practicing for our Pre-Clinic Checkouts in April, we’re in for another busy semester. A few short months from now, I’ll have some actual clinical experience to talk about – and I couldn’t be more excited! Thanks for reading and I’ll check in again soon.