NSU Optometry First Year

By: Solita Jones c/o 2014

Hello Everyone!

I’m a first year student at Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry, Class of 2014.  I moved to Ft. Lauderdale, FL from a really small town(Pembroke) in NC with hope of returning to open my own private practice.  At NSU in the Health Profession division, we have multiple programs, i.e. Medical, Pharmacy, Nursing, Dentistry, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy, etc.  During our first year at NOVA, we share Gross Anatomy(Fall) and Physiology(Spring) with the dental program as well as Neuroanatomy second semester with PT and OT.  Sharing courses with other programs is very helpful, as you foster relationships with students in different programs and can get their input on understanding a certain topic, or lab dissection.

Course Descriptions can be found at: http://www.nova.edu/academics/catalog.html under College of Optometry.

First semester at NOVA, I was enrolled in the following courses:

  • Theoretical Optics I
  • Microbiology
  • Histology
  • Gross Anatomy
  • Contemporary Issues in Optometry
  • Psychophysical Methodology
  • Biochemistry
  • Optometric Theory and Methods I

Second semester included:

  • Theoretical Optics II
  • Visual Optics
  • Ocular Anatomy
  • Visual Neurophysiology
  • Ocular Motility
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Physiology
  • Optometric Theory and Methods II


Each semester, the current procedures are assessed and must be completed within an allotted time.  Failure of the assessment resulted in a failure of the course regardless of written test and quiz scores.

Optometric Theory and Methods I Lab:

  • Retinoscopy
  • Monocular Subjective Refraction
  • Keratometry
  • Basic Slit Lamp examination
  • Preliminaries (EOMs, Stereopsis, & HRR Color Test etc.)

Optometric Theory and Methods II Lab:

I have impending checkouts in just a few short weeks on Tonometry, Binocular Balance, Cover Testing to determine the presence of a Tropia or Phoria as well as Slit Lamp Biomicroscopy in which we evaluate the Corneal Endothelium using Specular Reflection, lens, vitreous, Retroillumination of the Iris, perform Lid Eversion and examination of the palpebral conjunctiva. I also saw my first optic nerve about two weeks ago via Direct Ophthalmoscopy, I was so excited, I squealed! I currently live in an apartment about two miles from campus, which comes in handy prior to checkouts. During the semester, you will need the practice all the skills that you have been taught on your own time, after school.

Study Skills:

Optometry school can be very challenging and time consuming, but also rewarding! During my first semester time management was extremely crucial. At NOVA, we typically have 1 test per week first semester and two tests per week second semester. Thus, it’s very important to stay caught up on the material.  It is important to LEARN the material rather than just cram.  This is information that you will be utilizing for the rest of your life! I typically study anywhere from 2-4 hours weekdays and 6-10 on Saturday and Sunday.  However, not everyone follows the same schedule, many of my classmates study many more hours as well as other classmates study much less.  Everyone has their own rate at which they can learn the material.  Prior to entering Optometry school it is crucial to understand your best way to study.  For example, I am an auditory/visual learner, so it helps if I get a study room and recite the lecture aloud while reading along. I study much more than I did in Undergrad, thus future first years should enter with the proper mindset.


It’s very important to take a break from school because too much studying for me would lead to a mental breakdown without a reality TV show break. There are many outlets for down time in Ft. Lauderdale, with the beach and downtown Ft. Lauderdale a mere 15 minutes from campus as well as Miami about 20 minutes away. I also plan to visit the Everglades this summer to go on a waterboat ride and hold baby alligators!

If you have some questions please comment below and I would be glad to answer!

Solita Jones
NSU 2014

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