During third year at ICO, students have the opportunity to join this great organization called the Contact Lens and Cornea Society. CLCS hosts numerous events throughout the year. During Lunch & Learns, the latest information in the field is presented; there are also workshops, when we get to practice fitting patients with different types of lenses.
Throughout first and second year, I remember walking by the second floor entrance to the Lecture Center and being curious about the regular occurrence of long tables covered with catered food. Now as a member of this elite society, I’m enjoying the eats while expanding my knowledge about contact lens and cornea. It’s honestly a win-win.
We’ve had a couple of Lunch & Learns so far, as well as a workshop. During one of the Lunch & Learns I learned all about Prokera, an innovative biological bandage tissue made of cryopreserved amniotic tissue. Prokera is superior to a basic bandage contact lens (BCL) because it promotes wound healing while reducing inflammation. Additionally, it can be used on corneas that have been infected, while basic BCLs cannot be. It’s a great concept and one whose suggestion in clinic may earn an approving nod. Maybe even a couple of 5’s on clinic evaluations. Anything is possible.
The first workshop CLCS hosted was on fitting soft toric lenses. The top four contact lens manufacturers partook in the event and representatives from each told us about the latest from their brand and helped guide our selections. The workshop began with breakfast and an illuminating address from guest speaker Dr. Rhonda Robinson. We learned about the benefits of making contact lenses a part of our future practices and how important it is to recommend contacts to patients who would be good candidates.
Everyone says that the hardest aspects of third year are summer quarter and retina. But for me, fall quarter (which just wrapped up) was an endless struggle to stay afloat. I remembered summer quarter fondly and I wanted nothing more than to get away. Two weeks ago was fall break–there were no classes to attend, but we still have clinic. When I completed my clinic shifts, I boarded an early flight to the East Coast, where I met up with one of my brothers for a mini-vacation. And it was great. We drove into New York City and spent a couple of precious days sight-seeing and touring the great metropolis. It was my first time in New York, and what struck me was just how expansive and endless Manhattan is. Upon returning to Chicago, I couldn’t help but realize how tiny my own city seemed in comparison.
The Woolworth Building on 5th Avenue facing Central Park and the legendary Plaza Hotel
Left: The never ending skyscraper strewn avenue. Right: …filled with endless yellow NYC taxis
As another academic year comes to a close, schedules for the first quarter of third year have been emailed out. Unlike the summer between first and second years, when students have the luxury of going home or taking exotic vacations, this summer will be a working one. My classmates and I will be attending class and we’ll also have three shifts in clinic, a continuation of the Patient Care Program we began this year.
Our two Primary Care shifts will be similar to our experience in this service area thus far, the primary difference being that we’ll no longer be paired with a partner. In addition to working alone, we’ll also be caring for multiple patients during a single shift. During my work in clinic this year, I’ve grown accustomed to discussing tests and patients’ results with my partner. I loved the convenience of having someone scribe while I doctored, or doctor while I scribed. If I had a question about a condition, I always had someone to ask. If I couldn’t find my tiny tonometry probe, there was someone in the same room with one. But my comfort level aside, I’m actually looking forward to going solo. I’ll be forced to rely on myself and truly develop my clinical skills.
It’s been so long since I’ve picked up a brush, dipped it in paint and laid a thick stroke on canvas. I’ve always loved art and was immersed in it when I was younger. Now that I’m immersed with time-consuming classes, it only makes sense that I have fewer opportunities to pursue creative endeavors.
That changed last month, when one weeknight evening I was transported to a wonderful place that let me forget about all the drugs I had to memorize. My roommate Naz booked us an art class at VIP Paints, a surprise early birthday gift.
Two weeks down, nine weeks to go. It’s certainly too early to be counting down spring quarter, the last of my second year. But I can’t help it! Once the quarter is over, my classmates and I will be halfway done with our education at ICO and even closer to reaching our visionary goals. But let’s backtrack a bit and talk about what’s been going on here so far.
When winter quarter ended in mid-February and numerous sighs of relief were expelled at the end of our last final, all you could see was happiness–a weeklong break was upon us! In celebratory fashion, my friends and I toasted cherry pop sugar cookies and grinned from ear to ear. When night came and rest was somewhat caught up on, we headed out to Eataly, Mario Batali’s 63,000-square-foot food emporium. Housing a market with more than 10,000 gourmet items as well as 23 eateries, Eataly opened its doors to much fanfare last December in River North. The venue was buzzing with hoards of customers and the lines were long, but the payoff for all the waiting was worth it–I’m still dreaming about that hot crepe oozing with chocolately goodness from the Nutella bar.
My classmates and I are taking six courses right now: Ocular Pharmacology, Ocular Disease, Physical Optics, Physical Diagnosis, Optometry Seminar and Microbiology. We’re in the third and final quarter of the Pharmacology and Optics sequences. In Pharmacology, we’re now focusing on the drugs we’ll be prescribing to our future patients. Optics course is looking a lot like physics right now.