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Illinois College of Optometry's Official Blog

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Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Posted by on Dec 27, 2012 in Blogs


Some of my holiday shopping purchases

It’s break time again at ICO and I’m so glad to be home with my family. Break started after an exam on Friday in one of our harder courses–ocular anatomy–and once it was over it was so good to finally be able to breathe again. Minutes after we completd the exam, taxi cars were pulling up by the Residential Complex to take home several of my colleagues and friends. I headed home after a celebratory lunch and shopping trip with friends. We tried a restaurant called Opart Thai that had a cool vibe, yummy food, and a location near campus. Our shopping trip took us to Michigan Avenue where we conquered the holiday sales and deals.

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24 Hours to Live: Danny V. Nguyen

Posted by on Dec 20, 2012 in Blogs

Although the past few weeks have been awash in quintessentially Vegas festivities, I must plead the fifth for this entry: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

Instead, I wish to discuss the end of the world. Many suns and moons ago, the Mayans predicted an apocalyptic end on December 21, 2012. That’s tomorrow. I have been fortunate enough to be a fourth year when this happens, to be able to enjoy life outside the books. However, I have also been able to enjoy being a full-time clinician and being able to utilize the skills and knowledge to better improve care with my patients and their quality of life. But I digress.

I got a segment idea from Maxim, my third favorite magazine (behind US Weekly and Cosmopolitan). It’s called “24 Hours to Live,” in which Maxim interviews celebrities about their last days on Earth. I interviewed myself…

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My First Blog Post… Ever

Posted by on Dec 18, 2012 in Blogs

View from the top of the Residential Complex

View from the top of the Residential Complex

I had a friend ask me the other day why I would want to write this blog. I’ve had no previous experience blogging, English was never my strongest subject, and why add more to my ever-growing work load? Although he had some valid points, they never crossed my mind when I signed up to do this.

I came to ICO with almost zero experience with optometry and no idea of what lie ahead in school. I put countless hours into researching the field, trying to glimpse what my path forward would look like, but all I found were stats and figures. Few things are difficult to find on the World Wide Web, but a real-life representation of an optometry student is definitely one of them. You can read all the statistics in the world about how great a career it is or how many job openings there will be in five years, yet neither of these will tell you what being a student here is truly like. I hope that by sharing my stories and experiences here at ICO, others can grasp a unique insight into the life of an optometry student and what it is that we do.

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There Are No Secrets in Optometry School

Posted by on Dec 17, 2012 in Blogs

Direct OphthalmoscopyLast week, first years learned to do direct ophthalmoscopy in optometry lab. We had to get very comfortable with each other very quickly, and forget all about our personal bubbles as we sat staring at a distant “E” in a dimly lit exam lane in the Eyepod, waiting as a classmate approached with a bright light, inching closer and closer until our faces almost touched. You’re gazing into each other’s eyes as they tell you to “look at the light” so that they could check your foveal reflex. And then you get all tense as they maneuver themselves to get a better view, getting ever closer. It sounds kinda romantic until they step back and say, “Did anyone ever tell you that you have scaly-looking things?”


After five months, I realized that you end up having to divulge a lot of information about yourself in optometry school and in turn, you learn a lot about your fellow classmates. Sometimes, you find out more than you thought you needed to know, like how your TA has congenital cataracts or how that classmate over there has a family history of diabetes. Oftentimes, you’ll learn a great deal more about yourself too. I learned that I have superficial punctate keratitis (SPK), aka those “scaly-looking things,” because of dry eye.

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Photophobia and Blurry Up-Close Vision: Get Used to it

Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 in Blogs

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. 

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