Last 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.
Right now, I may not know the intimate details of all 158 of my classmates, like what they like to do in their spare time, what music they like to listen to or what their dog’s name is, but I do know their distance prescription, which contact lens solution they use, and that they’re allergic to strawberries. There are really no secrets in optometry school, and when you’re going to spend the next four years with the same group of people, you’re bound to learn more as time goes by.