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.
Expert Optics Lab
Who would have guessed we would still get field trips in grad school? It was definitely a pleasant surprise. The second years all hopped on a coach bus last week and visited an independent laboratory, Expert Optics. Even after four quarters of optics classes, we still have so much more to learn about lenses.
We were greeted by the president of the company, and got fed lunch before the tour got started.
So after lunch, and a short introduction to the lab, we got to take a tour of the place and see how lenses are treated (tinted, coated, cut, etc.), from when it was still a hockey puck sized lens blank to when it’s ready to be put into a patient’s frame.
Fun Fact: The lab had rounded corners between the wall and the floor so that dirt/dust don’t get trapped in between, and the facilities are cleaner.
Last Monday was a very memorable day for me, but before I explain further, here’s some terminology:
PAP - Patient Advocate Program (where we shadow eye exams)
PCP - Patient Care Program (where we actually conduct eye exams, up to what we’ve learned).
Yes, it’s not just you, I too find our abbreviations for patient programs at ICO quite peculiar.
I had my first PCP session on Monday, and saw my first patient. That’s right, November 12, 2012 was the day I was able to use over $3,000 worth of equipment on my first patient. I thought, as Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother would say,
During first year, I thought I was going to have a meltdown before my first real patient encounter, but I did surprisingly well. I must say that shadowing those many exams last year helped me feel more comfortable interacting with patients. I didn’t feel like a sacrificial lamb going in a lion’s den or anything (I pictured that all through last year). We’re all paired with a fellow second year student, so we were able to converse and help each other through the entire eye exam.
As of today, I’ve completed my first quarter as a second year student. In Dr. Frankenstein’s voice: “I’M ALIVE!!”
This is the first time in my history of taking finals at ICO that we had a whole week break between our finals because of the AAO meeting. It’s great that we got the extra time to study, but I definitely also needed the break to breathe, catch up on some sleep, and go hang out downtown.
I visited one of my favorite spots in Chicago, the John Hancock Center. People can pay $17.50 to visit the observatory on the 94th floor, but I was on the 96th floor in the Signature Lounge, and I’ve been told the view is the exact same. Also, the view was free, and I got to spend $17.50 on drinks instead. I would advise people to go early, as there was a huge line to go up.
When people visit me in Chicago, the Signature Lounge/Signature Room is definitely my top choice for a first stop. The food in the Signature Room on the 95th floor isn’t too expensive (around $30 for a dinner entree, cheaper for lunch) considering the amazing view. The windows go all the way from ceiling to floor! When I went, I loved the tuna tartare and the duck breast was splendid, but the best part of the evening was when our server actually gave us dessert on the house in honor of our party of Canadians visiting Chicago. Apart from the delicious chocolate truffle on a stick, which was amazing, I was touched by how welcome she made me feel as a Canadian here in America.
So from my post earlier this quarter, I’m sure I gave you guys the impression that second year started off pretty relaxed. Don’t get me wrong, I stand by what I wrote, but things have gotten really out of hand lately.
This is what I have going on for the last two weeks of classes before finals:
- two practical tests (optics and optometry)
- get tested for TB
- have TB results read on a separate day, but within two days of getting the test
- attend PAP (Patient Advocate Program) session—i.e., observing an actual eye exam
- do a class presentation worth about 25 percent of our grade
- three exams (ocular motility, optics, pharmacology)
- one final (pharmacology)
- meeting with the faculty advisor to plan NORA (Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association) student group’s next event
- PCP (Patient Care Program) orientation to learn about the electronic medical record system
- 12 hours a week of workstudy
…and Boo Bash (our Halloween party) was right in between those two weeks. I wasn’t planning on going, but since I missed out last year, this was my attempt to have fun before finals. Can anyone recognize Danny as Oppa Gangnam Style? The DJ actually played his song, and the crowd went wild with the cheesy horse dance.