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Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye

Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Blogs

It’s such a simple question.

“Where did you grow up?”

It’s something I feel like I get asked every day.

The simple answer is listed on my passport and my birth certificate and slips out of my mouth with ease. We all know our towns, our family home, our childhood bedrooms.

But seemingly without notice, the answer has changed. A paradigm shift has taken place, and I realize now that I actually grew up in the last four years, not in the 20-odd ones that preceded it.

The honest answer now is, “I grew up at ICO.”

The hallowed halls of school were my playground, my nursery, my school house, my detention, and my time-out corner. The RC was where I met some of my lifelong friends, the Lecture Center was where I drew all over my notes, the big room on the second floor of the library was where I ate my body weight in candy as I studied, and the dimly lit Eyepod was where I discovered the intricacies of the ocular tissues.

When I arrived fresh on the scene four years ago, I doubt I could recognize who I’ve become now. I used to be shy and introverted, and now you’d be hard-pressed to get me to shut up. I didn’t know the difference between being a Bears fan and a Packers fan, and I wasn’t entirely sure what the I-90 was. Now I’m ripping on referees with the best of them, and honking on my horn like it’s my job. Oh, and I learned how to be an optometrist. Sidebar.


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How To Fit Contact Lenses like a Boss

How To Fit Contact Lenses like a Boss

Posted by on Apr 17, 2014 in Blogs

Kiddos, spring has sprung!

We’re in the final quarter of optometry school, little ones. And as Commencement approaches, it’s time to learn about contact lenses. These are my last credit hours before the wings are clipped and I fall out of the tree.

First, there is an art to the contact lens.

Yes, it may appear to be a small cast-molded or lathe-cut piece of plastic to every John and Jane on the street–but if you look more closely, between those silicone and hydrogel moieties, it really is magic.

Imagine a life where you had to wear your dorky glasses everyday.

How on earth could 75 percent of romantic comedies gain traction if the tragic ugly duckling didn’t dispose of her gawky frames and wear contacts in order to warrant the attention of the loveable, albeit shallow, leading man?

(And you thought optometry was just about helping people see.)

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there.

Let’s get into the thick of things. (Or for the more technical amongst you, the Dk/t of things.) See what I did there? Don’t lie, you laughed.

Below are some tips and tricks I’ve amassed thus far. As always, it’s advisable to take these with a large grain of salt.

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How to Ride a Bicycle

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in Blogs

  shoes and equipment

Do you remember learning to ride a bike?

I remember the day vividly. It’s one of the more defining memories of my childhood, one I’ve been thinking about a lot these days. I’m sure my dad and twin brother have different accounts of what actually happened, but since neither of them blog, allow me to tell you the true story.

I was six. We were vacationing in Montana and it was a gorgeous summer day. My brother had already mastered riding his bike (a mere day and a half before, but of course he made it seem like he was practically the bicycle’s inventor). I was determined that today was my day. My bike was shiny and red. It deserved to soar past my gloating brother.

My dad is calm to the core. Even at my most reckless, I have always been able to rely on his steady, factual, collected demeanor to guide me. He assured me that he would hold the back of my bike seat and not let go.

With the steady weight of his hands on the seat, keeping my balance, I peddled. One leg winding around, then the other. I saw my brother in the periphery, eyes widened, watching me. I must have been having so much fun watching Montana’s landscape inch past me that I didn’t notice my dad had let go at first. But then all of a sudden it hit me: The steady guide of my dad’s hands weren’t there anymore. Instead of being excited and reacting like a normal person, I whipped my head backwards, saw my dad shrinking in the distance, screamed bloody murder, and fell.

My brother’s mirthless laughter echoed around me. I threw my bike off the path, and with eyes narrowed to slits announced to my dad that I would not be riding bikes ever ever again.

As a parent, I’m sure my dad had to learn how to let go. But at the same time, whether six or 26, it’s just as hard to learn how to be let go.

Fourth year externships are a constant reminder of my bicycling saga.

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How to Survive This Weather: The Essential List

How to Survive This Weather: The Essential List

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 in Blogs

So most students at ICO are taking finals right now. (As a fourth year, I’m done with all that.)

I’d commiserate and cry tears of empathy, but I’m not sure I can spare the energy.

As most of you know, Chicago and much of the country is under what may be called a deep freeze.

The great lakes are frozen over. Your legs haven’t seen sunlight in months, you aren’t entirely sure what T-shirts are anymore, and you can pop your head into the freezer for a nice relief of warmth.

from ashland

If a Calgarian is complaining about the cold, you know you’re in trouble.

Here are some tips to help you stay warm in this bitter, bitter cold.

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Posted by on Feb 5, 2014 in Blogs

So you know that class in optometry school that you just never understood?

The one that, despite your best and most earnest of efforts, you dramatically bombed?

Well, mine was Vision Rehabilitation (the artist formerly known as Low Vision).

It’s not like I suck at optics, but for some reason, when VAs aren’t recorded in Snellen fractions my blood vessels seize up and I just pass out. For once I’m not exaggerating–I legitimately have an awkward fight or flight reaction that results in me on the floor. Let me summarize a few of the salient points I get confused about:

  • I don’t think I’ll ever know how small 0.4/2M is.
  • I will never understand what distance you move the hand-held magnifier away from your face to get a clear image.
  • And don’t even get me started on Feq and how to calculate it

(A vast majority of you are scoffing because those things are so extremely basic for you. I commend you for being too cool for school. To the select few that share my low vision terror: Rest assured, we stand united.)

Anyway, it’s no surprise I headed to my first shift at Chicago Lighthouse with extreme trepidation. The Lighthouse is an organization that serves blind or visually impaired patients, and it’s home to the oldest low vision clinic in the country.

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