4th year rotations, trips, and Boards

Well, I failed to live up to my statement at the end of my last post that I would try to update more regularly. Whoops.

Although classes have been over now for some time and I generally have more free time, it’s amazing how that free time gets consumed with many other things. Most notably, being in clinic full time during 4th year consumes large blocks of time. In essence, clinic during 4th year reminds me a lot of when I worked in the “real world” before optometry school. Life during rotations often consists of waking up, go to work, come home and figure out dinner, lounge around a bit, go to sleep, and repeat. As a result, my motivation to do things in the evening is often pretty low after working a full day and unfortunately, the blog has fallen by the wayside. But here’s a synopsis of the last handful of months.

Fourth year in optometry school primarily consists of four, three-month rotations. Two of those rotations occur in Columbus at the college and the other two occur entirely outside of the college. In my case, my first two rotations were in Columbus over the summer and fall. Being in clinic full time was a really different experience to get used to. After being a student for more than half my life, switching to seeing patients all day everyday was a nice and welcome change, even if it presented some challenges and makes me question what I’m doing from time to time. But at the same time, I’ve gotten some really amazing patient experiences that I’m sure will make me a good clinician someday.

Checking another ballpark off the list in St. Louis. Along with San Fransisco and Oakland later in the summer.

But I haven’t entirely been in clinic all the time either, of course. In the spring, as I often do, I got to thinking about which baseball stadiums I have yet to get to and how I might get to a new stadium that season. And wouldn’t you know it, but St. Louis was a place I hadn’t been to and it’s only about a six-hour drive from Columbus! So I hatched a plan to convince my family (which doesn’t take much) to go to St. Louis around July 4th when I had a couple days off clinic.

The trip to St. Louis though only made me want to get to some more games and new ballparks, but I didn’t really think anything was going to work because of being in clinic so much during 4th year with limited time off. During the summer though, I had a former coworker, who I’ve remained good friends with, move to the San Francisco area and we jokingly talked about me coming to visit him. Initially it started as less than serious idea, but after looking into it more, things started falling into place.

My cousins and I outside Chinatown in San Fransisco.

First, Southwest runs a daily non-stop flight between Columbus and Oakland so that was temping, the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics would both be home (and I could get to two new stadiums on one trip), but the topper was that I have cousins in the area who were going to be in town and meet me for the Giants game. It was absolutely great to see them since it had probably been about 10 years since I’d seen Melissa (in the black shirt) and about four years since I had seen Sara (red shirt). Plus, I got to meet Sara’s little one, and my second cousin for the first time. All in all, San Francisco was a really great trip.

And as if going to St. Louis and San Francisco wasn’t enough travel for the year, I also traveled with a number of my classmates to the annual American Academy of Optometry conference in Chicago. I really enjoyed the conference and went to some really interesting talks on contact lenses and ocular disease. I generally agree with what many people around the college say, in that the Academy meeting is really some of the best continuing education out there available for optometrists. Many of the presentations are really cutting edge in the field and incorporate significant clinical research to support new treatments and standards of care.

“99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer…”

While the conference itself was great, the trip home was an experience to say the least. The crew I was traveling with all decided to fly to Chicago even though it’s about a six-hour drive because flights were pretty cheap and convenient for when we wanted to travel. Basically the short story is that our return flight on Saturday night got cancelled because of weather. And while this is all occurring, we were exploring the Museum of Science and Industry and loving it because we’re all science nerds at heart. But with our scheduled flight to Columbus being the last one of the day, we were stuck. We had already checked out of our hotel, so we had no place to stay that night and many of us had plans for things we needed to do on Sunday in Columbus. And then in the process of looking at alternatives, we didn’t have time to make any other flights going out in the afternoon and didn’t want to be on the 8 a.m. flight to Columbus on Sunday morning. So while one person in our group was seeing if we could be re-routed and another figuring out if we could get refunded for our tickets, I threw the idea out of renting a car and just driving it back. Ultimately we were able to get all our flights refunded and rent a car for a lovely six-hour drive back to Ohio. Needless to say, the whole experience was a little hectic, but it all worked out in the end and it’s good we all like each other so we could withstand being stuffed in a car together for more than six hours.

Besides all the traveling, rotations changed back in early November. I’m currently enjoying the relative warmth of North Carolina at my Veterans Affairs rotation and really appreciating not having to deal with the snow. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a born and raised Ohioan, but the cold and snow does wear on you after a while. Regardless, most of the first month being down here involved getting used to the pace and flow of the VA. It’s a very different atmosphere than being at the school or other optometry sites around Columbus. The pace is much quicker and the complexity of some of the patients is daunting at first. But overall I think I’ve been learning a lot that will help me for years to come. So while the VA has been challenging, it’s been very rewarding too. It’s not every day you get the opportunity to provide eye care and a difference to veterans who served in World War II as well as many other conflicts throughout the history of America. It’s a unique and humbling experience to serve those who served us.

In other school-related news, I have now completed all the other parts of boards in the last month. January will be a bit of a make-or-break month as I will find out my scores for both part II and part III. But right now, it’s just a waiting game.

It’s hard to think that next time I write a post it will be 2018 and the year I graduate. It’s a bit surreal how quickly it’s coming and yet how far off it still feels. Either way, I hope everyone who reads this has a wonderful holiday season and a great start to the new year. See you in 2018!

Classes are over!

Wow, I’ve been slacking about blogging this semester/year. Third year is a busy year on a lot of levels. Depending on your individual clinic schedule, you may be in clinic 2-3 days of the week and still taking an entire course load as well. Then in the spring it gets even busier as you’re still in clinic, taking classes, and also focusing on studying for Part 1 of the national board examinations that happen in March.

When you studying for a test for 2.5 months, you’re bound to do some weird things, like putting a highlighter in your hair.

Preparing for boards is certainly a stressful time. Part 1 literally covers all the material you have learned through the first 2.5 years of school and so studying for it can really feel like a daunting task. I felt that Ohio State had really prepared me well to go into taking boards but with so much material on one single test, it’s hard to know where to begin and what to focus on. Like many of my classmates, I signed up for a prep course that I felt was very helpful. The course may not have taught me anything really new because again, Ohio State pretty much covers everything, but I did feel like the class really helped organize me. It also helped to group and cluster things we had learned together so things became easier to remember and recall for the test. Even so, it was a stressful time trying to balance everything. Spending so much time studying for about 2.5 months gets to after a certain point, as evidenced by the photo to the left.

So after all the studying, taking the test test is pretty intimidating too. Although it changed to a one day, computerized test for my class, it’s a long day. The test itself is given in two 4-hour sections, each with 185 questions to get through. By the end of it you’re pretty brain dead and pretty much just want it over with. To add some level of insult to injury, we had to wait until May 5th to get our scores. Although the wait for scores was long, it’s nice to have Part 1 over with. Next up: Part 3 in November and Part 2 in December. (And yes that’s out of order but correct. Part 3 you can take anytime during 4th year and it works best for me to take in November. Part 2 is only offered in December.)

Some states allow ODs to perform minor lid surgeries and suturing. Instead of practicing on each other, a banana is a decent substitute. I think I did okay for a first try.

Once boards was over, I regained free time I didn’t know existed but it didn’t last long. The end of the semester was fast approaching and far quicker than any of us wanted, we had more midterms and then our last round of finals ever. I’m not sure it entirely hit me this was the last set of finals I’d ever take. Three quarters of my life so far has been spent in a school setting and to think that my formal education has basically ended for good is a kinda weird feeling. It’s also hard to completely realize that right now since I am at the school everyday for clinic through the summer so I really haven’t left. I’m sure that will change in the fall and certainly when I move to North Carolina for my rotation at the VA.

4th year started a couple weeks ago and so far it’s been going well. It’s definitely a shift seeing patients full time and a little disorienting as we all try to navigate new clinics and stretch our clinical skills. It’s really exciting though too because it many ways we’re now functioning like full doctors. I’ll be the first to admit I still have a lot to learn but seeing patients and helping them is why I got into the field so being able to do that every day has been really rewarding so far. And knowing that the light at the end of the tunnel is approaching in less than 1 year is doesn’t hurt either.

Last finals ever are over? Go to Nashville for the weekend to celebrate!

After our last finals ever were over, some classmates and I got in a couple cars and went to Nashville for the weekend. It was a good way to celebrate being done with formal classes forever and get away. After all the hard work we did this past spring both for class and studying for boards, it was a well deserved mini-break.

I hope to provide more frequent updates of 4th year throughout the year as I will generally have more free time.

New year, new blog post (finally)

Well, apologies up front for the long hiatus from blogging about school. But in general since my last post things with school have largely remained the same. My classmates and I are still seeing patients in clinic and still taking classes. The spring semester just started this past week and that exciting part about that is this is our final full academic semester! The light in the tunnel is almost here… Come May, we transition into 4th year where we primarily are seeing patients full time instead of a couple times a week like we do during 3rd year. I’m certainly excited for that and to not constantly have homework to do every weekend.

In the meantime though, I am busy starting my studying for part 1 of national boards. This section of boards covers all of our basic science knowledge over the last 2.5 years. So, it’s quite a lot of information to remember and go over. Slightly stressful is an understatement. Although I’ve really only been studying now since the start of the year, I am starting to be amazed about how much of the information the professors have thrown at us since the start of 1st year has stuck. I think that’s really highlighted to me how well Ohio State prepares us (see our first time boards pass rates – they’re pretty good) and not just for boards either. Over the last couple months I feel like I’ve started to hit my groove in clinic. Procedures, thinking about prescriptions, and managing diseases is starting to feel more natural and come more quickly. In general my exam times are coming down and I’ve develop some good efficiency. Obviously there is still much to be learned during 4th year but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Speaking of 4th year, back in November we got out externship site assignments! I’m happy with how mine came out as I’ll be in Columbus for my 6-month in house rotation first and then leave in November to go to the Hefner VA in Salisbury, NC. Having never lived outside of Ohio for any prolonged period of my life, I’m looking forward to the change of lifestyle and the opportunity to live somewhere I’m unlikely to live after graduation. After completing my 3 months there, I’ll come back to Ohio for what we call our Advanced Practice externship with Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons in Kent, OH. I’m especially excited for that one because I’ve heard great things about the site and I already know a couple of the doctors there – one of which I graduated college with back in 2011. Maybe we’ll have to have coordinated Denison days in the office.

Beat TTUN in double overtime? Rush the field of course.

Besides school though, this fall some of my classmates and I got football tickets and went to a handful of the games this season. Of course, none nearly compared to the amazing game between Ohio State and Michigan. It felt like that game really had it all. #2 vs. #3, two classic programs, missed field goals, double overtime, etc. Being the first Ohio State-Michigan game I’ve ever gone to, it was just incredible. Oh, and yes we rushed the field.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, we are in our last full semester of classes – ever! It’s exciting and certainly been a long time coming. We are taking a class this semester on Low Vision and Gerontology and this past week in lab we were given our very own pair of goggles to simulate what a low vision patient experiences. It’s a really interesting thing wearing the goggles and makes you really appreciate how much vision contributes to how we navigate and interact with the world. It’s not just that the acuity of the vision is reduced but so is the contrast of things making things that use to be easy, like walking around easily and avoiding running into objects, quite difficult. Additionally, we have to wear them out into public for part of an assignment, so that ought to be an interesting experience. I think I’ll see how my grocery shopping goes.

The googles are clearly quite stylish too.

That’s a brief summary of what’s been going on the last few months and I’ll hope to pick the blogging back up on a more regular basis.

Third year marches on

First and foremost, sorry for the summer hiatus. The summer semester was a busy one adjusting to being in clinic on a regular basis while still taking a full course load. To say the least, it was a bit stressful and trying at times, especially when it was so nice outside and I was stuck inside studying.

Overall though, the summer was good. Being in clinic completely on my own definitely took a few weeks of getting used to but the attendings I had helped make the transition easier. They understand we’re certainly not professionals at this yet and their expectations match that well. Plus, my attendings were very encouraging which is really helpful for those more difficult patient cases or with techniques you maybe don’t have completely mastered yet. But after a few weeks I felt like I settled in a bit and started finding a good groove. My exam times have been getting slowly better and I’ve certainly seen some really interesting things. I’ve learned a lot too and have a few crazy patient stories to boot – nothing in a book or a lecture can quite replicate a real, live patient sitting in your chair.

Fun with prisms!

We do get some down time here and there in clinic though if patients don’t show or the schedule isn’t completely booked. In those moments of downtime we have a sheet of paper of skills to work on with classmates who also don’t have patients. Practice makes perfect right? Well one day we had some downtime and were playing around with our prism sets. Prisms distort the image as you can see to the left. It’s the simple things that entertain us in optometry school.

Besides being very busy this summer with clinic and class, I still found time to have fun. As I’ve told many of the new first years in the class of 2020, you have to find ways to get away from school and studying. You’re going to go crazy otherwise.

So a fun thing I did around the 4th of July was go to a golf tournament up in Akron. I went with one of the classmates and though I’m not a golfer by any stretch of the imagination, it was a really fun and enjoyable experience. I’ve watched enough golf on TV to understand it reasonably well and I’ve played enough golf in my life to know how hard and frustrating it can be. Even knowing that though, watching these guys actually hit the shots they do in real life is pretty incredible. It gave me a whole new appreciation for how ridiculously good pro golfers are.

They were adamant about not touching the trophy. 🙁 Oh well, still pretty cool!

The other cool part of going to the tournament was that it occurred shortly after the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA championship and the day we went they had the NBA trophy on display for pictures. Having grown up in Northeast Ohio, this is a big deal. Cleveland sports are notorious for finding ways to loose, not win. Being the baseball fan that I am, I still distinctly remember where I was in my house (past my bedtime as well) as the Cleveland Indians lost Game 7 of the 1997 World Series. So to have the Cavs win was pretty exciting for me and many of my friends. Getting a picture with the trophy? Icing on the cake.

And finally, no summer of mine would be complete with an outing to an actual major league baseball game. So after summer finals in early August I headed to Pittsburgh to see a good college friend and take in a game at PNC Park. I’ve probably mentioned it before if you ever get a chance to see a game there, the view won’t disappoint. It was a nice reward to myself for making it through another semester and onto fall semester.

I can always take in a baseball game when the view is as good as this one

All in all, the summer was a busy one and we’re now about 3 weeks into the fall semester. It’s kind of crazy to think we’re into our second semester of third year already and we’re going to be getting our 4th year rotation assignments in about 2 months. On top of that, the sign up window for Part I of our boards exams opened last week as well, which we will take this upcoming March. Everything is getting very real, very quickly but I’m excited to keep moving forward and working towards May 2018. It’s all happening too fast and not fast enough at the same time. As for this blog, I’ll strive to keep this updated more regularly now that summer is over the true academic year has started once again.

Round Three (of Four)

Halfway there!

Well a lot has happened since I last wrote a blog about a month ago. Second year wrapped up quickly with a lot going on in April. We saw our last patients and second years and also had a final practical we had to pass. The practical involved performing an entire exam on a classmate, from start to finish, in an hour and 45 minutes or less. I know that sounds like a really long time (and it is – we’re admittedly still a bit slow) but at the same time since we’re in school we perform a number of tests a normal optometrist in practice may not always do so our exams are expected to take longer.

It’s certainly a bit nerve-wracking going into the practical but we have been practicing these skills for the better part of 9 months and our classmates are pretty straightforward patients so nothing unexpected will really come up. That is of course, if you’re instruments are working properly. In my case, the phoropter (the big thing we put in front of your eyes with all those lenses) in my room was misbehaving. There is a dial on the phoropter that indicates to the doctor what lens is in front of the patients eye. Usually that dial if fixed so it directly corresponds with the lens but unfortunately in my case, that dial has become loose and so it no longer directly matched the lenses in place. As such, during one of the my tests I was getting weird and unexpected results which did nothing to calm the nerves. But all in all, after going back and forth and doing some problem solving I figured out the wrong lens had been in place during the test. So after correcting that and getting results that made more sense, the rest of the practical went well and I’m happily moving on to third year.

FB removal
Practicing removing foreign bodies from cow eyes. You can also see in the top right a good example of what we see when I’m looking through the slit lamp in the bottom photo. Photo credit to Paula Kelbley for the awesome shots.

Besides practicals and finals, we wrapped up the semester with a lab where we practiced removing foreign bodies from representative cow eyes. Call me weird, but that was a really interesting lab and a lot of fun. Certainly removing a foreign body from an actual patient will be a slightly different experience but it was really helpful to get hands on with the tools and techniques we will need to use when that patient sits in our chair. And foreign bodies in the eye are probably more common that you think. Thankfully, most foreign bodies are minor and easily removed and heal very well with proper treatment and management.

Outside of school though, we were able to get a short break between the end of second year last week and the start of third year this week. I tried to take advantage of one of our last major breaks from school and traveled with my parents up to Toronto, taking in a couple baseball games (to be expected) and did some sightseeing. We visited a few museums (who knew there was a museum dedicated to shoes in Toronto?), a couple neighborhoods, and a local market in town. I definitely recommend the St. Lawrence Market if you’re ever in Toronto. Lots of great food and desert options. Also it was really large and a cool venue so check that out. And in a classic “when in Canada” moment, we course went to the Hockey Hall of Fame. I can’t say I’m a huge hockey follower but even so it was really interesting to see the history and how the sport has developed even in the last few decades. Plus the Stanley Cup is really cool.

Ohio State – representing even in Canada at the Hockey Hall of Fame

All in all it was really great to get away for a few days, not think a lot about school things, and recharge the batteries. I have the feeling this summer will be interesting but also a lot of work and a bit of a drag since none of us are quite use to taking classes year round. It will be an adjustment but I’m sure we’ll adjust just fine.

My parents and I made a stop and visited Niagara Falls on our way back to the States. 

Sprint to the end – until summer semester

The semester continues to move quickly as somehow it’s now April. A lot has happened since my last post. We’ve continued to see more patients in clinic, learn new skills, and of course do a little bit of studying here and there.

My classmate Paula performing a technique called scleral depression. It helps us see parts of the retina that may not be normally visible and make sure there are no signs of disease there.

First, we’ve continued to see patients in Opt II clinic this is spring. We’ve now seen 8 patients total and have one more this week. I’ve definitely learned a lot examining my first patients about how to run an entire exam. The first week was a little rough but things have certainly gotten smoother and faster. Pretty sure my first one was around 2 hours and the last couple patients I have had were more like 1:15. I’m starting to feel pretty comfortable doing a basic full exam now but of course there is still room for improvement and implementing new techniques. Also, most of our patients have been pretty straightforward, making things relatively easy. I’m sure the day is coming when it won’t be so cut and dry.

Besides clinic, the semester is quickly wrapping up. We’re a mere 3 weeks away from the start of finals already! I’ve liked this semester a lot more than the fall as the pace of tests has been spaced out better and overall has felt more relaxed. Of course that’s relative as we’ve still spent plenty of time learning more exam techniques and studying for midterms. This past week was one of those tough weeks – we have 2 midterms, a practical, and a quiz.

A long week of studying after Easter wouldn’t be complete without some form of candy to help us through.

But since the week was right after Easter last Sunday, there was plenty of candy all week during our study sessions. While those weeks can be long and draining, the weeks after are usually lighter so we catch a breath and catch up on some notes. With the semester quickly wrapping up, there’s a lot to get done between now and the start of May. A bit thing we have to do before moving into third year is completing and passing and entire eye exam. We have 1:45 to complete it and I’m not too worried about time since my last few patients have been well under that but I know I’ll need to go practice once or twice beforehand just to make sure I don’t forget anything major. I’d hate to get this far into 2nd year to fail the practical and have to repeat the year.

Although it seems like a lot to get done in the next month, it’s exciting too because we’re almost half way through the program. Unfortunately we don’t get our summers off anymore but once the summer begins in early May, we’ll also be in third year clinic seeing ‘real’ patients from the entire community. You never know what is going to walk in off the street and into your chair so I’m sure it will be exciting and challenging at the same time. Either way, I can’t wait.

First real patient, check!

As the title suggests, I have successfully examined my first real patient! I think I’ve been looking forward to this day since I first decided to go to optometry school so I’ve easily been looking forward to this for at least 2 years. Throughout last semester and into this semester we’ve been practicing a lot on each other to learn all the skills we need for these exams but still, seeing my first real patient was a bit of a nerve-wracking experience. It’s hard to describe what makes it special or different but I think a big part of it is examining someone who doesn’t know everything we’re doing. Plus, something about truly having your own clinic exam room and hearing your name called over the intercom system makes it a special occasion.

My sister graciously took time from her workday to come and sit as my first ever real patient. Consent for the photo was given and is on file.

Many of us have recruited family and friends to come donate their time (and eyes) to sit for us which really helps with comfort doing the exam. I was already worried about enough things that having my sister as my first patient at least made for one less thing to worry about. (Note: Full consent given and on file) Even so, they are our first real patients and that was pretty apparent. I learned a lot in the first week about being deliberate in your directions to the patient and specifying where to look, and explaining the purpose of the procedure. We practice on each other so much and know where to look, correct answers to give, that I realized I had a gotten a little lazy about a lot of that.

Regardless, seeing my first patient was great! Certainly not everything ran exactly as planned – I may have forgotten to do a test or two… – but finally getting to apply everything we’ve learned on real people was awesome. It was really rewarding to finally see some of the fruits of all the hard work we’ve put in classes start to pay off by seeing our first patients ever. Looking back at my first exam after the fact, I definitely have a list of things I need to work on but at the same time clinic was infectious. I can’t wait to get back in clinic, seeing my next patient, working on improving, and learning a whole new set of things with each exam. It’s a great feeling to have the first one in the books and now onto patient #2 of many more in my career next week.

A quick Spring semester update

Another semester is off and running. It seems like every semester we jump right into things faster and faster now that pretty much all of our foundational basics have been covered. By week 2 we were already learning a skill called gonioscopy, a technique where we use a special lens to view what is called the “angle.” The angle is where the fluid of the eye drains and if that is blocked, drainage of the fluid is limited and that can raise the pressure in the eye, leading to glaucoma. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in the United States so it is pretty important we learn this skill so we can accurately determine how much or little the angle is blocked. Our practical for that is next week and I feel pretty good right now. We’ll see how I feel on Tuesday.

One week in clinic we had a little extra time to mess around with our lenses. This photo shows you what happens to the image when we examine the retina – everything actually gets flipped horizontally and vertically!

Otherwise, I enjoyed a chance to relax and enjoy winter break. I hardly did anything school related and I needed that. It really helped me recharge the batteries in preparation of the semester. Also, starting this summer we will be entering Third Year which starts right after spring finals so we do not get a summer break. Taking time over winter break to relax, get away from school, and travel to see friends on one of our last major breaks from school was much needed.

Speaking again about next week, we will officially see our very first real clinic patients! It really hit me this week during clinic, where we’ve been just practicing on each other, that the day many of us have been highly anticipating since getting accepted to optometry school is almost here. I have clinic on Wednesday mornings so as of this writing, it is exactly 4 days, 14 hours, 21 minutes and 25 seconds away. It’s been a long time coming and I’m definitely looking forward to it, but who’s counting? Expect a full recap of my first real patient experience in the near future!

Second year marches on

“Oh, there ain’t no rest for the wicked” – Cage the Elephant song “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked”

Replace “wicked” with “weary” and I think you can fairly accurately summarize most of this semester. This semester has been full of midterms and practicals at a fairly regular clip. Whereas last year our midterms usually came in waves, this semester has been a constant “that’s over, what’s next?” which at times has made the semester feel really long but conversely fly by really quickly too. But as the calendar has now flipped to December the end is quickly approaching along with a much needed break. I’m looking forward to taking some time to rest and sleep, enjoy the holidays with family, enjoy being (relatively) stress free, and travel to see some college friends.

Posing with the “fancy headgear”, also known as the Binocular Indirect Ophthalmoscope. The BIO allows us to obtain quick and wide views of the peripheral retina for examination.

As I mentioned, lot has been happening this semester and much has happened since my last post. A major practical we had was to evaluate the retina and lens of the eye using a couple techniques. It was probably the most nervous I’ve been for a practical all year, seeing as BIO (AKA Binocular Indirect Ophthalmoscopy) skills were a little shaky headed into that. Then having to wait until the last group to go for the practical only helped to compound the anxiety. All ended up well though and onto “what’s next.”

Besides all the practicals and tests though, I and a number of us were able to get out for a night around Halloween. Ohio State has an Inter-professional Council that is made up of all the professional schools (Dental, Optometry, Medicine, Veterinary med, Law, and Pharmacy) that provides programing and events for anyone in the those professional programs.

My roommate Steven and I ready to head out for Halloween this year. I gotta say, it was “greeeeaaaat.”

I maybe mentioned it last year but an event IPC always puts on is their annual Halloween party. It’s always a good time and a chance to get off campus for a night and get dressed up because how would it be Halloween without a costume? (Bonus points if you get my costume reference).

Another really fun thing we did recently as groups in our Ophthalmic Optics class was design and grind our very own prescription glasses. I thought it was a really interesting project to physically experience and learn about making real lenses. It’s pretty impressive all the steps that go into making a single lens, including properly laying out the lens, tracing the frame, grinding the lens to fit, and actually installing the lens so everything is correct. A lot more steps go into it than you might initially think.

Team “Jed-Eyes” took home the best tray design for our lab group! The force is strong with those glasses.

In order to up the stakes, a contest is held for a chance to win lenses from The Eyewear Gallery as well as a certain amount of pride and bragging rights. Each lab group is tasked with trying to hit ANSI standards (the standards by which glasses are made and verified) as well as for fun, making a themed tray. The groups who best hit ANSI standards and make the best tray (as judged by faculty members of the college) win. Our group, in anticipation of the new release later this month, went with a Star Wars theme. The force certainly was strong with us as Darth Vader helped lead us to victory in the “best tray” for our lab group.

Thanksgiving last week was a much needed short break from school and it was really nice to get the entire family together. Given that we had two major practicals this week, I couldn’t entirely ignore school during the break.

I kind of wanted to make up some disease and convince him that he needed to walk around like this for the next couple hours. Didn’t happen, but maybe at Christmas.

As such, what else does a second year optometry student do but subject all that I’m learning on my “willing” family! My brother was gracious enough to sit for me in my modified exam lane (AKA, the kitchen) and have his eyes examined so I could practice for my practicals this week. As best I could tell his eyesight is quite fine and I got these great pictures of out it!

Checking my brother’s vergence ranges. This is one way we check that a patient has enough ability to focus properly on near objects.

Classes wrap up next week and finals start a week from tomorrow. A lot to do between now and then but I’m sure it will be here before I know it.

East West Conference

The semester continues to move quickly and it’s hard to realize we’re essentially half of the way through it. Another round of midterms started this week and I’m writing this as a study break from our pharmacology midterm and retinoscopy practical next week.

A couple weeks ago I got the chance to go to a more regional conference, called East West, that is put on by the Ohio Optometric Association. Again this year the conference was held in Cleveland which is really convenient to get to from Columbus so a lot of my classmates and students from the class above us all went. Similar to the American Optometric Association conference I went to back in June, East West has a lot of continuing education talks, a vendor exhibit hall, and opportunities to meet and mingle with optometrist from around the greater Ohio region.

Overlooking the
Overlooking the vendor exhibit hall

Something that I really enjoyed about East West was that they have developed a couple student-only workshops for all of us who attend. This year they had one on dry eye and a second on glaucoma. The dry eye workshop I found especially interesting because we were able to see actual dry eye patients and examine them. Earlier in the week we had a lecture on dry eye so it was all very fresh and combining that will all the clinical techniques we’ve been learning made the whole experience really awesome. It was cool to have a day where everything started coming together and remind me that all the hours I spend studying are worth it.

Of course though, no optometry conference isn’t complete without a large social function. This year again, the conference had a party on Friday night at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Bad Habits, the optometry rock band I’ve talked about before, headlined the event. The rock hall itself was entirely open so we were able to browse around some of the exhibits as well. It’s a really cool event so look into going to East West next October. Here’s a few pictures from the night at the rock hall.

No Bad Habits or OSU function is complete without a rendition of Hang on Sloopy!
No Bad Habits or OSU function is complete without a rendition of Hang on Sloopy!
Bad Habits performing at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

       Going to Cleveland for the conference also gave me a chance to go home for a night and see my parents. And being the baseball family we are, we couldn’t turn down an opportunity to go see a game, especially with the Minnesota Twins (the family team) in town and in a race to make the playoffs. We were able to witness a great game and Twins victory but unfortunately they fell short of making the playoff. A good year though.

When there is a baseball game nearby, we're sure to find it.
When there is a baseball game nearby, we’re sure to find it.

Alright, back to pharmacology and retinoscopy!