From BIO to Blizzard, 10 Lessons from this January

by on Feb.23, 2015, under Uncategorized

Binocular Indirect Ophthalmoscope (aka “BIO”) is something I am not magically good at.

2. Purkinje dots are a pain to keep aligned all the time and “lunging” is a position I am not used to being in.

3. If you thought you had perfect eyes, your binocular vision courses will change that.

4. Sometimes, you just have be direct with patient and visuals help a lot. You may have conversations like: “Sir, you like to sleep in your contacts and never clean them? Let me show you a few pictures of bacterial infections and corneal neovascularization.”

5. When New York City freaks out about an impending blizzard, do not freak out with it even though you may have never seen a blizzard in your life.

6. Sledding is a tremendous amount of fun, no matter age or tool used to sled. The saucer shaped sleds are the BEST kind.

7. Snow days are not always a blessing in disguise once you find out your makeup schedule, and therefore, that time spent sledding was not worth it.

8. A pair of child’s size snow boots with velcro straps instead of laces are a solid investment both economically and in laziness.

9. It is never over until the fat lady sings—go Patriots!

10. The retina is a crazy, crazy place. Who knew?

I’ve come into spring semester of 2015 with a, “New year, new me” approach. Graduate school is a time of independence and self-motivation. We started learning new techniques in our “Principles and Practices of Optometry” course (PPO for short) that require a lot more skill and practice. The most recent challenge for me is mastering BIO, a technique used to examine the retina in 3D. Unlike direct O-scope, which we learned in first year, BIO allows doctors to observe the whole retina, from the central optic nerve and the macula to the vessels in the far periphery of the retina. This, however, requires patients to be dilated and doctors to be masters of various stretch positions unbeknownst to us before. It’s actually a great deal of fun and a definite sense of accomplishment when I’m able to not only observe the vortex veins in the periphery of the eye, but to have everything also in focus! Our professors are stressing good posture from the beginning to prevent back pains and injuries later in life, but this lunging and bending to see the far points of the retina mostly just has me in giggles over the way we’re all standing about in yoga positions. :)

We have also started our clinical component of vision therapy and binocular vision and ocular motility courses so I decided to get a binocular vision workup on myself at our clinic, the New England Eye Institute. I wanted to see everything we’ve been learning in class put to reality.

As a preface, I went in with symptoms of fatigue and mild, temporary blurriness after prolonged periods of near work and then rapidly switching to distance. I’ve had these symptoms since undergraduate school, but never thought much of it other than the fact that I was probably just spending too much time on the computer and other near work (TV, reading etc.) But as a future optometrist, how can I ethically treat others in the future if I’m not proactive about my own visual health?

The end diagnosis was accommodative excess and convergence excess, meaning that my eyes tend to overwork themselves when doing near work and have a hard time relaxing when I switch to looking at distance things—causing my temporary blurred vision. While I already had an inkling that would be the diagnosis, it was awesome to have all the tests done on me and to streamline lecture with real life. Now, I have reading glasses that I wear while doing near work to help my eyes learn to relax. I’ve got a follow up in about a month to see how I’m progressing…wish me luck!

Coming up in February, I’m participating in Private Practice Club’s event: Dine Out With Doctors where we get to have dinner in Boston with a doctor and pick their brains, stay tuned. Also, check out beautiful Boston during the various snow falls we’ve had within the last couple of days!

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