I have so much to share with you and so little time to do it (as always)! I finished my Cincinnati VA rotation the first week of January, so I am back at the College of Optometry for the remainder of this semester. I cannot even believe we are quickly sliding into graduation! I have never been one to count down or wish for anything in the future because I firmly believe in enjoying every day and every experience for exactly what it is in that moment. So while I have to be planning for and considering my future right now, I am also soaking up every minute of my last few months of being a student.
In all honesty, I was extremely nervous to come back to the college after being out on externs for the past eight months. When you ask people about their experiences at different sites, you have to always take each person’s opinion with a grain of salt because just as classes and professors, every person has their own opinion. I heard a lot of people say they prefer the VA over the college or private practice over the college because it is a much faster pace. I personally have loved every one of my rotations this year. I am also loving being at the college. I feel like I had the opportunity to get good at primary care the last eight months, and now I am getting to focus on specialties with some primary care mixed in, as well. I have seen a lot of really interesting cases in just three weeks! One of my favorite rotations right now is low vision. I am with Dr. Hopkins again, which if you have read my earlier blogs, I have always enjoyed working with him. In the low vision clinic we do a lot in relation to driving. Some patients are unable to pass the vision component of the driver’s exam in the BMV, so they can come to the college for a driving exam. We see patient’s who participate in the bioptic driving program (drive with telescope glasses after extensive training) or people who have vision that meets the standards but requires different testing conditions. For example, I did a driving exam for a patient with oculocutaneous albinism. She has the acuity (20/40) necessary to pass a normal driver’s test, but her nystagmus (eyes moving back and forth) makes it difficult for her to demonstrate her true visual acuity in the BMV.
I also had the opportunity to do a low vision exam for a patient who was completely new to low vision, and she was in tears by the end of the exam because she was so excited to hear she has the potential to start driving with the bioptic program and learn about the wonderful world of low vision devices to assist her at work. That afternoon I was in contact lens clinic, and I had a patient with a history of a penetrating keratoplasty (corneal transplant) in one eye and severe scarring from keratoconus (abnormal cornea) in the other eye. He was walking around with 20/400 vision, which is not correctable in glasses because his cornea is so irregular (not smooth and round), and I had the opportunity to dispense his scleral contact lenses which allowed him to see 20/30! He was so excited to get his lenses!
Another interesting case I had was a patient who has been struggling with double vision for a couple of months. He had a full stroke and brain tumor work up, so he came to us completely frustrated by his double vision with seemingly no explanation. After just a few tests in the binocular vision clinic Dr. McDaniel knew exactly what was wrong, and we were able to prescribe glasses with prism to help him comfortably read and walk again without seeing double!
Being in these specialty clinics, is awesome for me because I am a “fixer.” I am a person who wants to find a solution to a problem, and I will obsess over the problem until I have found a solution. I never knew this about myself until I started doing optometry because I am most excited about cases where I can solve a problem for a patient and improve their quality of life.
I exceeded my 15 minute allotment of time to write this blog, but I just love sharing how amazing optometry is! I sincerely hope to carve out some more time between now and graduation to write about various highlights over this past year a bit more, so stay tuned! Have a wonderful Friday, all!