As Fatima recently wrote, every year we’re required to help out at least once at a vision screening. It’s really up to us which one we want to do, but I personally enjoy getting things out of the way before my schedule gets too crammed. So for my third year, I decided to participate at the Special Olympics’ Opening Eyes vision screening, sponsored by the Lions Club. The event took place over two days in Normal, Ill., about two hours from Chicago. Those of us who stayed both days were provided with a hotel room, as well as a delicious dinner at the end of the first day. Some people just participated on just the second day; everyone received a T-shirt and a box lunch.
The cool thing about doing a vision screening is that you get to work alongside faculty members, as well as residents that you may not have had a chance to work with, such as Drs. Goodfellow, Trachimowitz, Allison, Block and Gabriel, and even some of the opticians from the IEI’s Eyewear Center. Dr. Allison brought her lovely little daughter along to help out as well. Together, we screened about 240 athletes.
Dr. Goodfellow doing retinoscopy
I know I said in an earlier post that I look forward to development lab with all the adorable children every week, but it’s actually tough to pick a favorite between that and our contacts lab.
I LOVE labs with Dr. Gunderson, someone you’ll familiarize yourself with in second year since he also teaches ocular physiology. If you haven’t met him yet, you’ll learn soon after you meet him that this man has the most interesting (and hilarious) stories any faculty member has ever told. I don’t know about you, but good humor makes me learn better. If it doesn’t, it at least certainly makes my day better.
I’ve worn contact lenses since I was in seventh grade. When I first learned to handle contacts, it took me two hours to put them in and at least 45 minutes to take them out. It took me about a whole month to get better at it. Now that I’ve had so much first-hand experience, it’s interesting to learn what exactly I’m putting in my eye, and what my optometrist has been doing all this time when she says she’s “checking” them. It’s also a really weird (in a good way) having to insert and remove contacts in our partner’s eye, and having them do the same on me. But you’ll get used to having your eyeballs get poked around, the same way you got used to monocular vision from all those dilations in second year. It’s not as bad as it sounds, I swear. It really doesn’t hurt. Unless you put them in inside out.
Dear reader, you might look at my recent blogs and can’t help but wonder, Gee, why hasn’t she mentioned a life outside of ICO? My honest response to that is I don’t really have one right now.
This summer is definitely one of the toughest quarters I’ve been through (thus, the total domination of my life), but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have any time to have fun and explore the city. A group of ICO students, including myself, decided to take advantage of an awesome Groupon deal, to attend last weekend’s Chicago Craft Beer Festival. For $39, we got admission for two people, as well as 40 drink tickets. It also included live music later on in the evening, but most of us left early for other festivities. (I went back to studying. *sad face*)
The first thing we noticed when we arrived in the area was a huge line-up of people waiting to get in. Luckily, the wait wasn’t long at all, and we got in within about 10 minutes or so. Once we entered, we were each handed an adorable little glass with a line on the back signifying 3 oz., so the bartenders knew where to fill it up to. I don’t think any of them paid any attention to that mark, and they filled as they pleased–especially toward the end of the festival.
Life as a third year isn’t so bad right now. We had our first pediatrics lab with Dr. Allison, and since the majority of the class is made up of females, there was a huge estrogen-driven chorus of ”aww” every few minutes. We watched videos of how to perform eye exams for infants, toddlers and pre-school children. Each lab, ICO faculty members volunteer to bring their young children to be our practice patients. You’d imagine that these kids would feel shy, or be intimidated by the vast number of students that take turns to talk to them, and make them focus on things to practice our techniques. You might think that that some would cry, or throw tantrums, but none of that happened. For my lab, Dr. Polanekbrought in her son Paxton and her daughter Payton.
Paxton looking at the OKN drum
Just when I finally got accustomed to telling everyone I’m in my second year at ICO, I am *gasp* now in my third year.
…is when your day begins at 8 a.m.
That’s right. Whereas during first and second years we had exams early in the morning, now we’ve got early-morning classes. You would think that since our lectures are all recorded, we can watch the early lecture later, right? Sorry to break it to you, fellow night owls, but for one class, attendance is mandatory, and for the other, answering questions in class comprises four percent of our grade. So if you’re going to study, better get it done during the day time. And if you’re not used to it, the security office always has coffee!
…is when we start learning about contact lenses!
First quarter of third year is probably the scariest, most exciting, rewarding experience at ICO. We’ve finished all the basics–optics, physiology, anatomy, etc.–and now we can move onto everything we’ve anticipated doing as an optometrist: retina/ocular disease, contact lenses, etc. According to our contact lens professor, Dr. Jurkus, by the end of the quarter in August, we’ll have learned everything we need to know to fit the average patient with contacts (I know, it sounds pretty exciting to me too!). I’ve worn contacts since I was in high school, and now I can finally learn everything about the little pieces of plastic I put on my eyes.