Last weekend I was able to volunteer at my first vision screening with the Salus Christian Fellowship at an event called Hope-4-Philly. After only being in optometry school at PCO for about a month, I was very excited to have this opportunity. I was able to practice some of the skills that I’ve learned so far in our Clinical Skills Lab, as well as learn some new skills from the upperclassmen who volunteered at the event. It’s very different working with actual patients than just practicing with optometry students in the lab!
These are some of the skills that first years can already practice at a vision screening after only one month of optometry school:
1.) Recording patient histories
First years were able to assist with recording patient histories at the vision screening. We’d recently gone over taking patient histories in class, so it was good practice. I learned a lot from talking with patients and explaining to them what some of the questions on the form were asking.
2.) Measuring distance visual acuity
We had just learned how to take distance visual acuities in our Clinical Skills Lab a few days before the screening, and all the first years were eager to practice. We had limited space, so for this screening we used a 10ft chart. It was useful to get comfortable with taking acuities in a different setting.
3.) Measuring near visual acuity
We had also just learned how to take near visual acuities in our Clinical Skills Lab a few days before the screening. It was helpful to practice recording acuities and converting our near visual acuities to M notation.
4.) Color vision testing
We hadn’t covered color vision testing yet in our Clinical Skills Lab, so the upperclassmen gave us a quick lesson on how the test works. We’ll have a leg up when we eventually go over how to use the Ishihara plates in lab. It is a fairly simple test to perform, and I enjoyed having more of a hands-on interaction with the patients.
5.) Randot stereotest
We also hadn’t covered stereopsis testing yet in our Clinical Skills lab. The Randot stereotest is used to evaluate a patient’s 3D vision. After the upperclassmen gave us a rundown of the test, we were ready to go! I enjoyed volunteering at this station at the vision screening the most.
I look forward to volunteering at more vision screenings in the future. Not only is it a great way to give back to the community, but you gain invaluable experience interacting with patients and practicing new skills. I found it very beneficial to learn some new skills from the upperclassmen ahead of time. It was very rewarding to already be able to help people with the little knowledge I’ve gained in only one month of optometry school!