Spring break has finally come to an end and I’m ready for a fresh start. At this point being almost 2 years into optometry school, we are no longer learning brand new information. Now we are learning about previous material but going into further detail and building upon prior knowledge. This will help us become better clinicians and ultimately great optometrists. At times, this can be challenging because some of our classes talk about information from the beginning of first year, and we are expected to know everything from day one. But this is helpful for our clinical work. Eye examinations in clinic are starting to become more detail oriented and problem specific and we are starting to narrow down what tests are necessary and which are secondary to perform.
My current clinic site is at the South Boston Community Health Center. South Boston has multiple exam rooms, which allows each NECO student placed at this location to have their own room with their own patient. Aside from the typical optometric equipment, a standard exam room at South Boston contains an exam chair along with a set of trial lenses, diagnostic kit, dilating drops and a telephone in case an interpreter is needed. Most times, the interpreter comes in person to the exam but in the instances where they cannot, the telephone comes in handy to help with any translation issues.
Each preceptor has a certain order on how they want the students to perform the exams. After I bring in the patient from the waiting room into the exam chair, I take their case history and ask what brings them in today. I perform all of the entrance testings, do the refraction and evaluate the anterior health using the slit lamp. I then go to my preceptor and explain my findings and any abnormal results. My preceptor will then give me the ok to dilate the patient and perform the rest of the examination. This involves evaluating the posterior health of the eyes using a high magnification lens. Finally, I go to my preceptor to explain the rest of my findings. They finish the rest of the examination, double check my findings as well as review any abnormal findings, and sign the prescription and/or prescribe any medications. Finally, I write an assessment and plan and close the exam.
I first began clinic 7 months ago and have learned an immense amount of information since. I enjoy working with two preceptors because I learn something different each time I am in clinic. Never have I thought I would be doing full examinations by myself, but I am glad I get pushed to do my best. I am in clinic once a week, but looking forward to the summer session being at a new clinic site to perform eye exams four days per week.
Biren is in his third year at NECO. He is from Chicago, Illinois. During his free time, he enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and trying new foods. He always enjoys great company and making new friends.