Fourth year clinical rotations are the pinnacle of optometry school that all students are anxious for. It’s a time of freedom, learning, and exposure to parts of optometry you may never see in the school clinic. Or is it?
My name is Lawrence Yu, and I just started my clinical rotations as a fourth year student at the Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University. Through this blog, I will chronicle and share my rotations experience throughout the year at my four different sites. Join me as I leave the safety of the school clinic and enter the real world of optometry. Learn with me as I see some crazy eye diseases. Suffer with me as I endure moving every 2.5 months. Follow me and prepare yourself for your last year of optometry school.
Monday, June 9, 2014
Getting Exposure: Day 15 of 79 at Naval Medical Center of San Diego
One of the best aspects of optometry is its versatility in providing practice opportunities in different modalities. Throughout school, I was exposed to the school clinic, private practice, and retail chain stores. The military hospital setting so far has been routine eye exams with emphasis on speed and efficiency. Today, I was very pleasantly surprised to hear, “You’ll be shadowing the specialty contact lens doctor today.” I had never associated hospital optometry with specialty services before, but now I was going to see how it could work in a hospital modality.
Specific days of the week were set aside for patients who required specialty contacts. These patients usually had corneal disorders like keratoconus or had poor post-refractive surgery outcomes. As primary care exams were going on, a specific doctor saw just the specialty contacts patients. It was as if there were a sub-clinic within the optometry clinic. This taught me that even in a hospital primary care setting, it is still possible for an optometrist to offer specialty niche services.
I learned a few finer points of fitting scleral lenses. A very practical tip was to educate the patient to look at the black dot in the center of the plunger while putting the sclerals on; this would provide correct alignment of the lens on the eye. The doctor also had me look at the conjunctiva immediately after removing a scleral lens that had been on for a few hours. I was surprised to see a compression ring on the conjunctiva due to the weight of the lens over time.
Later this week I’ll be shadowing the ophthalmologists and optometrists at the refractive surgery center clinic. An ophthalmology clinic is yet another modality that an optometrist can practice in, and I look forward to gaining exposure and having my assumptions about that modality broken down.
As a side note, San Diego has some amazing beaches and coastline. Over the weekend, I rode my bike around the coast and stopped every few minutes to admire the natural beauty of San Diego. My dry eyes were definitely appreciative of both the scenery and the moist air!