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  • Lisa Russell

    Welcome, Class of 2018!


    Good morning, readers! Last time I wrote I was just a few weeks into the second year summer mini-term, and now I’m one week into the regular fall semester. Besides taking different courses and labs, there is one major difference between the summer term and the fall term: the presence of a first year class! Even though we became second year students as soon as we finished our spring finals in May, it didn’t REALLY feel like it until there was a first year class on campus as well. We finally feel like we’re not at the “bottom of the food chain,” and that we can help out the first year students the same way the class of 2016 helped us one year ago. Having a brand new class of 136 students here is a nice reminder of the INCREDIBLE amount of information and clinical skills we have learned since we were in their shoes one year ago. It is truly amazing to think about how far we’ve come in one year. I wish the best of luck to the class of 2018 as they take on this exciting adventure and I hope they know how excited we all are to have them join the SCO family this semester.

    Because of my role as a Student Ambassador, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of the first year students at New Student Orientation and through campus tours. I remember how nervous and excited I was before my class’ orientation events, and I loved being on the other side this year and being able to help answer questions and make the students feel more comfortable about their transition into optometry school. I could hardly believe that it had been a year since I was sitting in the lecture hall with my class for the first time.

    Besides welcoming the class of 2018 to SCO, there has been a lot going on for my class this week. Our fall schedule is packed full with courses, labs, and school screenings. It’ll be a busy semester, but I think it will be a fun one! We are about to start learning BIO in our pre-clinic lab and the school screenings give us the opportunity to work with REAL patients and to fine-tune our first year skills. As we embark on learning the rest of our major clinical skills, I am constantly reminded that in only eight months we’ll be over in the clinic seeing our very own patients! This is such an exciting time and I know that second year will fly by just like first year did. Between courses/labs, involvement in student organizations, and other various extracurricular activities, I’m thinking it’ll be Christmas Break before I know it.

    Once again – CONGRATULATIONS to the Class of 2018! Enjoy your time as a first year student because it will absolutely fly. :-)

    Virgilio Gozum

    Dear First Years


    Dear First Years,

    I know I’m not the first to say it recently, but it never hurts to say it again: Congratulations on starting this new adventure in your life – optometry school! I’m sure it’s also been said, too, but welcome to Southern College of Optometry, Class of 2018.

    This is such an exciting time for you all, and many good memories lie ahead of you. Why, I remember back in the day when I was a first year, fresh-eyed and with a brand new, shiny trial lens kit, duffel bag full of thick textbooks. I remember it just like yesterday. In a sense, I suppose it was just yesterday…yesterday is a relative term. But here I am, already a third of the way through my fourth year.  It will fly by extremely quickly, I guarantee it.

    So how does one make most of this blink of an eye called optometry school? I am by no means a definitive scholar on the subject, but I may have a modicum of experience to empart to you:

    1) There’s 135 others in your class, and roughly 300ish older students on campus right now. Learn from them, and learn from their eyes! I’m not very good at math, but 435 x 2 eyes = a lot of eyes to learn from. You – we – are all in this together, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from your fellow eye enthusiasts.

    2) On that note…your faculty members will one day be your colleagues, so ask as many questions as you can right at the very beginning. Their experience and knowledge is invaluable, so don’t be shy.

    3) Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, less-than-desirable exam scores, or partly botched practicals. It will happen and they will come. Just dust yourself off, learn from it, and move on. And repeat 1) and 2) when these things happen.

    4) Get involved! There are so many ways to be active on campus, and joining different interests and clubs will greatly improve your knowledge of our career. There exist so many venues for learning about optometry outside of the classroom. Enrich yourself with these different perspectives.

    5) At the same time, you have to be balanced. Don’t overstretch yourself too much; pacing is key. As Dr. James Newman told my class during Theory and Methods: “Optometry school ain’t no sprint; it’s a marathon.” Speaking of running…exercise for your health and sanity.

    6) You are in Memphis. Memphis, Memphis, magnificent Memphis. My favorite city on the planet. You are now here at a very interesting time in the history of Memphis, to be honest. The city is undergoing what is best described as a Renaissance, with hotspots of growth and future growth all over the city. But I shan’t mention any specifics here – go out in this wonderful city and explore. Volunteer. Be a Memphian.

    You all will soon get your white coats. In the next minute you’ll be wearing that white coat, nervously sitting in a conference room with your lab group in The Eye Center, waiting for your pre-clinical checkouts. Almost no time at all will pass before you see your first patient, and in a tachistoscopic (you’ll learn what this means) flash you’ll be taking boards and graduating. Here I am, somewhere between these last two events, looking back at where you all are now. Where I was once. Enjoy this chapter in your life, with eyes wide open – blink, and you’ll miss it!

    Cordially, with a hint of nostalgia,
    Virgilio Gozum

    “Time flies like an arrow.  Fruit flies like a banana.”
    -Groucho Marx, supposedly

    Amy Puerto



    Hello Blogosphere!

    It’s been a busy August–I took Part 3 of National Boards, finished my summer externship at SCO, moved out of Memphis, and moved into my new apartment in Richmond, KY for my second externship rotation. Again, did I say it was busy?!

    In the midst of all this hustle-and-bustle, I found my way to Fort Worth, Texas for the Excellence in Eye Care conference. Hosted by Alcon, a pharmaceutical and contact lens manufacturer, the event sponsored 50 4th year students from across the optometry schools to learn more about the contact lens industry and Alcon’s products. I was able to tour the manufacturing plant where contact lens solutions like Clear Care and Opti-Free are produced. The company also provided the attendees practice management pearls for contact lens wear and patient compliance. I met several engaging speakers who have a wealth of knowledge in regards to private practice and industry partnerships. When I shared my interest for working with industry and being a speaker within the optometric profession, one of the event coordinators even requested my CV! Of course,  students were also able to enjoy some down time in the evenings including square dancing along Sundance Square, chowing down on some classic TexMex fare, and even watching some bull riding down at the famous BillyBob’s Stockyards! It was definitely hot in Texas, but seeing a familiar watering hole in Fort Worth, the Flying Saucer, was definitely an ode to good ole’ Memphis.

    I look forward to updating you all soon on my first week of my private practice rotation in Richmond, KY!

    Carpe Diem,


    Jarrod Griffis

    Summer in Memphis


    After a grueling six weeks of academia, my saturated mind has rediscovered a foreign activity known as “life”. For the mini summer semester here at SCO, my colleagues and I discovered a vital life lesson that may have unlocked an area of the brain that was once, I believe, unknown to man. The ability to balance sanity and information intake (of ludicrous proportions) has become a powerful tool on our utility belts of entrepreneurship. Like all situations of life, nothing great can come by way of ease.

    Once the mini term was over, my roommate and I went down Madison Avenue to enjoy the juiciest pulled-pork BBQ this country has to offer. The Bar-B-Q Shop is a traditional favorite after finals are completed and was a great place to celebrate my birthday at the same time. Nothing can satisfy a growling stomach like a platter of hot and savory pulled pork complemented by a sweet and chilled coleslaw dish. But this was only the beginning of many fortunes. Finally having enough time to find a decent barber, I decided to give Sports Clips, a local chain of Memphis and Southaven, a try. Not only did I receive a haircut, but also a free face, head, neck, and upper back massage with a steamed towel, shampooing, the works… I ended this glorious day by geeking out in Best Buy and getting the apartment ready for my parents to arrive later that night.

    While my parents were in town, we attended a Red Birds’ game at AutoZone Park, dined at the Majestic Grille on Main Street, visited the Botanical Gardens, and toured the exotic Memphis Zoo. Between the ballpark organ sounding for a home run and the mighty panda bear gnawing on a bamboo stalk, Memphis is definitely a place to get out and relax. But now it is time to prepare for the upcoming fall semester, and I must get back to my work study here at the bookstore. God bless you as the fall approaches, and I hope one summer you can find yourself in Memphis.

    2014-08-24_22-09-39_1582014-08-24_22-00-15_213 2014-08-24_17-51-09_992 2014-08-25_15-35-35_5192014-08-26_15-45-15_2242014-08-22_12-09-17_778


    Liz Frontino

    First Week in Memphis


    Hi Everyone!

    I’m so excited to be writing my first blog post! I just moved to Memphis a few days ago and am busy getting acclimated to this new city! So far, I really like what I’ve seen.

    Before I get started, let me introduce myself. My name is Liz Frontino, and I’m from a small town in Northwestern Pennsylvania. If anyone has ever heard of Groundhog’s Day or Punxsutawney Phil, that’s basically where I’m from. I graduated from Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia in 2012 with a degree in biology. Throughout college, I thought that I would go to medical school and work in a family practice or do something in public health. I never really considered optometry, despite knowing several optometrists and a very respected ophthalmologist. When I graduated, I decided to take a year off before applying to school, and it happened that I ended up with a job at the eye clinic in my hometown. Despite being such a small town, the Laurel Eye Clinic is a huge establishment, with 8 ODs, 2 MDs, and 10 practice locations. Not really knowing what I was doing, I accepted a job as a technician. From day one, I loved it. I had never really worked with optometrists before, and I thought that their job was basically to prescribe glasses and do routine exams. I was absolutely wrong! I never knew how many eye diseases there were, how many systemic diseases were related to the eyes, or just how crucial optometrists are in someone’s overall health.

    When it came time to start thinking seriously about medical school, I was torn, knowing I would miss working with eyes on a daily basis. I didn’t want to be a doctor who just performed basic eye screenings; I wanted to really delve into the specifics of eye care. I knew that optometry would also satisfy my interest in routine, family care and that I would have multiple opportunities to become involved in public health. Before I knew it, I was studying for my OAT and starting applications for optometry school.

    When I began applying to schools, I thought the only place I would apply would be to the school in my home state. I really only applied to SCO as a backup, based on a a recommendation from one of the ODs I worked with. When it came time to interview, however, I was immediately impressed with SCO. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. I felt comfortable right away. Even though I knew I’d be far from home, SCO just seemed like the right fit for me. I thought the Eye Center was amazing, Memphis seemed like a neat place, and I could really see myself learning here. When my acceptance came, it didn’t take me long to make a decision!

    So here I am! Very excited to be in Memphis. I’m living on Mud Island in the Belle Harbour apartments and can’t believe how gorgeous my apartment and the surrounding area is. I will have two roommates, but neither has arrived yet, so I’m just trying to fend off the homesickness and loneliness by staying busy and exploring my new home. I’m very excited to start orientation and classes next week, and to meet all of my fellow students.

    There you have it! That’s a very long introduction, but it gives you an idea of my story and where I come from :) I will write more once classes begin and I can get a better feel for what it’s like to be a real optometry student! Thanks for listening!

    Amy Puerto

    And then…there was Part 3


    Greetings, blogosphere:

    How did August sneak up on us so quickly? I feel like I was just starting my first externship rotation at The Eye Center, and now-BAM- I’ve only got a week left of this rotation! I can never say it enough but time really has flown by. And since it’s August, it means 4th year optometry students can officially start taking National Boards Part III…

    First, this exam is unique compared to Part I or Part II exams where students take a standardized, multiple choice test.  Instead, Part 3 is a completely clinical skills examination that simulates a real-life optometric examination room and patient care. Optometry students must travel to the National Testing Center in Charlotte, NC to take Part III. Optometry students can sign up to take Part 3 anytime during their fourth year. Of course, I figured the earlier the better since I’ll be taking Part II in December.  What makes taking the exam in August even more practical for me is that I’ve been at SCO all summer doing my in-house externship rotation . You see , SCO has two specifically-designed NBEO Part III practice rooms set-up in the clinic. Not only do these rooms have a similar layout to the examination rooms in Charlotte, but they also utilize the same equipment students have to use for national boards. Being able to practice ahead of time on the equipment–especially using the video taping system on the slit lamp and BIO– was not only a real advantage, but it helped me gain the confidence and efficiency to do well during the exam.

    Speaking of the exam, it’s broken up into 4 stations- including an injection skills test- each with a number of procedures that have to be completed in 30 minutes at each station. After practicing every weekend (and sometimes following clinic in the evenings) this summer, I can honestly say some skills went smashingly well during my exam. Of course, I’ll be the first to admit the nerves did get me here and there, and I had a few mistakes…however it was everything I expected, and as far as the testing center end of things go, it couldn’t have gone better. SCO-especially the mock clinic rooms I had mentioned above-prepared me very well for this exam.  Also, I have to thank several third year students for sitting as patients for me on multiple occasions so I could get the practice experience in before I took Part III.  At the end of the day, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I did well enough to pass. I won’t know my scores until October, so in the meantime I’ll enjoy my last few days in clinic at SCO and start preparing for my move back to Kentucky for my private practice externship. And as you already know, December is only a few short months off, which means it’ll be time to take my last and final boards exam-Part II (EEK!). Now, in case you weren’t already aware–SCO did have a 100% passage rate on Part II last year, so there’s some high expectations for my class going into the exam….I better start studying!

    Now if all goes well, by January 2015 I will hopefully have all my boards exams completed (and passed!), so that the next big milestone on my plate is GRADUATION (can you all believe it!?!). But let’s not get ahead of ourselves quite yet ;)

    Okay readers, I’m off to the Bluegrass State in t-minus 10 days!

    Carpe Diem,


    Virgilio Gozum

    The Summer of Patients


    My summer semester is coming to an end, but it has been quite eventful in clinic. I definitely feel that I’ve learned so much and that I’ve advanced my knowledge of the optometric arts, but along the way I’ve also had quite a few memorable patient encounters ranging in age from 1 to 90. Let’s talk about just a few of those within that range.

    On Mondays, I started out in APC with Dr. Norton. Fourth year Adult Primary Care kept me and my suitemates – Braden, Jordan, and Jen – quite busy, and we would typically see five or six patients a day. At first, it took some acclimation, but 3rd year APC did prepare us well, especially in the spring.

    Out of the many patients I saw in APC, I think I will always remember a few in particular. One patient, cap turned backwards, right pants leg cut off right above the knee, admitted to me with his greeting that he had a few…drinks before the exam. Ha! Alrighty then. I knew at that moment that this would be an eye exam to remember. Extremely nice guy, but he did have a propensity for exaggeration. For example, I highly doubt that he was a native Alaskan whose father shipped him off to Morocco as a teenager so that he could marry an exotic Moroccan princess (arranged marriage, of course) and father 25 half-Alaskan, half-Moroccan children. But all he needed were reading glasses, and he was grateful for an accurate prescription.

    Another patient in APC was much, much more stately. At the young age of ninety, she hardly looked 65 to me. With just a few wrinkles of wisdom on her face and just the mildest of cataracts (!) and no systemic diseases, she possessed incredible health and vitality. This retired nurse’s secret? “Just keep busy,” she said, “and never stop moving.” Fine words to live by, and she told me fascinating stories of growing up in Memphis circa 1930-1940.

    Halfway through the semester, we switched from APC to our new clinic at University Eye Care, at the University of Memphis. Still in its early phases, our schedule was a little lighter, though it has picked up it recent weeks. It was quite fun exploring the U of M, where my brother went to college. Speaking of whom…I had two patients who identified me as “Gian’s brother” as soon as they saw my nametag. Gotta love those small world moments!

    Jen, Me, Jordan, and Braden - I've really enjoyed being with my clinic suitemates this semester.

    Jen, Me, Jordan, and Braden – I’ve really enjoyed being with my clinic suitemates this semester.

    On Tuesdays, I’ve had Vision Therapy in the morning with Drs. Eubank and Kehbein, and then halfway through we switched once again to Low Vision with Dr. Heard. Afternoon Tuesday clinics were spent with Dr. Kehbein and the Peds/VT residents. Two patients come to mind. The first was a 68 year old stroke patient that I saw with Dr. Eubank. Right before the start of the semester, he had suffered a mild stroke, which affected his memory and certain aspects of his visual perception. The week following was his first VT eval, and my first week of clinic was his first week of therapy. Throughout the first half of the semester, we worked on activities that worked on his memory and perception. I think through therapy, he realized that he had these deficits and was slightly in denial of them. However, he kept a good attitude and did the best that he could. Still, his progress from post-stroke to once again driving his familiar routes was quite something to behold, and he did say that the therapy helped.

    My other Tuesday patient has turned into one of my favorites while at SCO. It all started in Pediatrics, when I first met my six year old patient. He is a rambunctious sort and is full of energy. Referred by an occupational therapist concerned about his visual function, we discovered that he has significant oculomotor dysfunction. Thus, the following week, I performed his VT evaluation, and just about every week since he’s been my most constant therapy patient.

    In the beginning, I admit I was overwhelmed. I simply did not have the energy to match his own, nor did I feel creative enough to deal with all that freneticism. But after a few weeks, we started figuring things out together. I’ve learned that he performs much better when we work on activities together, as a team. Since that realization, our therapy sessions have been much more focused, and I am so proud of his progress so far. Just this week, I told him that next week would be my last, and he exclaimed, “Don’t go, ‘gilio!” That’s when it hit me that I’ve grown quite fond of our weekly vision therapy sessions and that I will miss the little guy.

    As a quick aside (as if I ever have quick asides): part of the fun of working with this patient was tailoring the session to his needs and his personality. For example, as he is very active, he cannot sit still for very long for more static and “boring” (his words, not mine!) activites like Hart Chart Near/Far Rock, in which a patient reads a line of letters in the distance and then another line up close, in order to stimulate the accommodative system. So, cognizant of that fact, I came up with a more dynamic Hart Chart by typing up lines of large and small letters. I bound these lines to bean bags with rubber bands. For the procedure, I would have him read the larger line while the bean bag was in my hand, and then when I tossed it to him, he had to catch it and read the line of smaller letters. This activity was quite fun for him, and I was pleased that it actually worked. So, essentially he worked on his accommodative system with the lines and hand/eye coordination with the bean bags, all at once!

    Photo Aug 12, 6 06 53 PM

    Alright, back to the discussion. Wednesdays are my Contact Lens days, and I’ve enjoyed having Dr. Cisarik and Dr. Jackson. It’s almost as if they have been my Contact Lens Mom and Dad. Having never really fit a contact lens before, I was admittedly intimidated by the prospect of it. However, my staff doctors provided much assurance and support, and I feel that I’ve learned so much about the art and science of contact lenses. As far as patients go…since Dr. Jackson has been my staff doctor in the evenings, we often see a lot of specialty fits. Keratoconus, orthokeratology (corneal rehaping), etc – these are just some of the things my group has encountered. I’ve encountered lawyers, other doctors, police officers, old people, young people, all sorts and all walks of life.

    My first insertion and removal training was with a 13 year old male. He reminded me a little bit of me, as I was about that age when I first got contact lenses. Like my younger self, he had difficulty putting them in and taking them out, but got the hang of it. At his follow up exam, he proudly demonstrated that he could take them on and off in seconds and absolutely (and I mean absolutely!) loved his lenses. He made me feel like a superhero, to be honest, as if I had just changed his life. Come to think of it, however, I know mine did after contact lenses, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

    Another memorable patient was about the same age. This was my very first day in contact lens, and I was working with the resident and one of her patients, a 14 year old orphan in less-than-ideal living situations. She too loved her lenses (“These are the only things keeping me happy,” she had told me), but I noticed that her lenses were switched. After mentioning this to the resident, it was elucidated to me that our patient had a history of poor compliance in the training interval with the lenses and likely did not have enough social support to continue wearing them safely. Sadly, I had to take away her lenses (remember, the only things that were keeping her happy). I tried to console her to the best of my ability, but it was little solace to her that I told her that she may be able to try again in East Tennessee when she gets older.

    Oh, did I mention that the very next day she was supposed to move to a new foster home in East Tennessee? Yes, this was probably my most emotional patient encounter yet. It was heartbreaking. I hope she’s doing better.

    Thursdays are my Ocular Disease days in which I alternate biweekly to having Dr. Hauser in the morning and Dr. Sharpe in the afternoon to having Drs. Kabat and Duncan in the same sequence. It’s been great, actually, seeing Ocular Disease from each of their different viewpoints. We’ve seen quite a bit – lots of glaucoma follow-ups, cataract post-ops, and red-eyes. One guy had a massive corneal abrasion but didn’t know how it got there. Another person had such wicked inflammation all over both eyes that we felt the need to refer her out; some systemic issues were likely at play. I haven’t heard yet about what the ophthalmologists have determined, but I hope we were able to catch something early.

    Fridays in Pediatrics with an assortment of staff doctors (Drs. Kehbein, Taub, Bodack, Eubank, Esposito, Ashe, Tison, Harris, all at some point) started out somewhat slowly. Many families went on vacation in May/June. However, once the school year started approaching, the floodgates burst, and soon there were kids everywhere. I haven’t minded, though. I’ve come to enjoy pediatric exams. It’s fun interacting with these kids, and helping those who can’t see actually visualize their world (as I was once helped) is one of the greatest satisfactions so far. The youngest patient I’ve seen was just barely one. Happily, everything was normal. However, Braden saw a one year old who had a rather sudden onset cataract in the right eye. We were perplexed – she had seen an ophthalmologist just weeks before, and everything was fine! The surgeons did remove that cataract, but when one began to develop in the left eye, that baby was referred to a specialist all the way in Phildelphia. We have yet to hear back about the results of that exam.

    Another aside: after putting dilation drops in kids’ eyes, if you don’t want to witness unhappiness, try to get them to forget the pain and stinging by having them do some physical activity. Jumping jacks, spinning around, dancing. I’ve found this an effective method on most (not all!) kids. Thanks to Dr. Bowersox (my staff doctor in SVOSH this year) for that tip, which has been a lifesaver!

    What a memorable semester it’s been, and I can’t believe my time in The Eye Center is almost up. I’ve already begun saying farewell to the wonderful people I’ve been working with ever since first year, in addition to saying “see you later” to the city of Memphis. But yet, the learning will never end (thankfully!), and I am looking forward to my externship at SouthEast Eye Specialists in Chattanooga. But no matter where I go, I’ll always have great memories of my time in clinic at SCO.


    Lisa Russell

    Second Year and the Summer Mini-Term


    Good morning, readers! Now that I’m a few weeks into my summer courses, I figured I would check in and let y’all know what life as a second year optometry student is like. Between the summer break and the fall semester, the second year students have a summer “mini-term.” During this term we take Systemic Pharmacology, Pathology, Evidence Based Medicine, the continuation of our pre-clinic Theory & Methods lab, and a workshop called Foundations of Service Learning. It’s a lot of work packed into a short term, but the lab is a lot of fun and the classes are interesting so it’s been a nice term to come back to after our long break!

    My favorite part about this term is the skills we’ve been learning in our Theory & Methods lab. During first year, this lab was spent mastering chair skills and refraction. Now that we’re comfortable with these skills, we’ve moved on to slit lamp examinations! So far we’re covered corneal exams (anterior segment) and fundoscopy. Fundoscopy involves using the slit lamp and a high powered lens (78D or 90D) to examine the posterior segment of the eye. Getting to evaluate the health of the cornea and the retina for the first time has been an AWESOME reminder of the amazing career waiting for us after graduation. While slit lamp examinations are a tough skill to master, it’s been a lot of fun practicing with my classmates and getting the technique down. I love the process of developing an eye for detail in something when I wouldn’t have even known what I was looking at a week before! In this mini-term, we have a practical every single week so it’s really important to stay on top of practicing these skills. So far, so good though!

    In a couple weeks it will already be time for final exams! We have one week off between the summer and the fall term, part of which will be spent working at the New Student Orientation for the Class of 2018! It’s hard to believe orientation was a full year ago and there’s already a new incoming class. I am really looking forward to meeting the new students and adding more people to the SCO family! Orientation will be a lot of fun and a great way to show the incoming students what SCO is all about.

    Other than the summer term, not a whole lot is new for me! I recently started a new workout class at a gym in Southaven that I am going to at 5:00 AM four mornings a week, so I’ve been getting up much earlier (but getting my mornings off to a great start). Since second year is set up with labs in the morning and lectures in the afternoon, I’ve loved getting my day going early and getting a few things done in the morning (like this blog post!).

    That’s all I’ve got for today, but I’ll be sure to post in a few weeks and let y’all know how orientation went! This is something I’ve been looking forward to since I became a Student Ambassador in the spring, so I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say about it. :-)

    Preslee Trammell

    Hello, Clinic!


    I cannot believe I’m already in my third year of optometry school and starting clinic! Time has really flown by! I had a great two week break after I finished up my second year final exams, and then returned back to Memphis to start in clinic!

    We are in clinic seeing patients two days a week, and working in the optical one day a week. We also still have four classes and a few labs during the week as well. It is amazing how much I have learned in just a few months in clinic. The first day I had in clinic was nerve-racking, exciting,thrilling, and a little scary to be honest!

    They always say you will never forget your first patient, and that is certainly true. My first patient was the sweetest man that reminded me of my grandfather. He was the perfect first patient to have, and luckily, I ran into him a few weeks later when I was working in the optical and he came in to get his glasses adjusted. I recognized him and went up and reintroduced myself and said hello. Once he recognized me, I was taken off guard when he leaned in and gave me the biggest hug. It was a moment that just warmed my heart and made me remember why I love this profession. There is nothing to replace the patient care experiences we get while in clinic at The Eye Center. I’ve seen a variety of patients with diseases such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration,  binocular vision disorders, and patients with simple refractive errors who just need glasses for school or work.

    It really is amazing putting all the things we’ve learned in the first two years of school towards patient care. The staff doctors are so helpful, but challenge you to start thinking what procedures are necessary to make a correct diagnosis and what the appropriate treatment would be. With so many different staff doctors in the clinic, you get to see many different styles of clinical experience when working with all of them. You also get to rotate through the technology department a few times per semester where you learn and perform tests like the OCT, take fundus and anterior segment photos, run visual field tests, and A and B scans. It’s great that we get to work in the optical once a week too. We learn things like how to help patients pick out glasses, figure out insurances, and adjusting glasses. Last week, I even had the opportunity to work in the finishing lab where we make some of the glasses ordered in the optical. It was so cool to see how the lenses are cut. Technology is pretty amazing these days.

    After two years of studying and working on my classmates as patients, it has been a fun summer jumping into the real clinic world. I feel like it was just yesterday when I was starting school at SCO, and now here I am starting my clinical training at The Eye Center. I’ve looked forward to starting in the clinic since I applied to optometry school, and my experience so far definitely has not disappointed!

    Lisa Russell

    Summer Recap


    Well… as I predicted, our last summer break absolutely flew by! I can hardly believe it’s already time to start back up and begin our second year courses. The break may have been quick, but it was definitely eventful! Starting tomorrow, I’ll have some fun second-year events to write about in my blog posts – but for now I’ll recap the events from this summer.

    In my last post, I talked about various events I was able to take part in throughout the first half of the break – including an elementary school career fair, SCO’s graduation ceremony, and the Solutions in Sight event. These events, along with my full-time position at O’Brien Vision Center, kept me busy up until the big trip to Philadelphia for Optometry’s Meeting! Ben and I actually drove to Philly and made an eventful road trip out of it. Our trip included everything from a classmate’s wedding in beautiful North Carolina (congratulations again, Caroline!) to visiting my oldest brother in Washington, DC. We even squeezed an incredible day trip to New York City into the week! The conference itself was awesome. Students had the opportunity to attend all Continuing Education courses free of charge, so that was something that I definitely took advantage of. I spent my time at the convention center listing to brilliant ODs at CE lectures, volunteering at SCO’s exhibit hall booth, and learning a lot about what’s going on in the world of optometry. Some of my favorite parts of the trip included the Student Bowl (which was a blast) and being able to do some awesome sight-seeing in Philadelphia. Of course I had to try a Philly Cheesesteak – I would definitely recommend Jim’s Steaks. :-)

    A few days after I returned home from my eventful road trip, my sister and her boyfriend came to Memphis to visit and to spend the 4th of July with Ben and me. We had fun doing some sight-seeing in Memphis with them and watching the fireworks from Beale Street. Once they left to head back to Texas, it was already time to get ready for the Student Ambassador Summer Retreat! The retreat was this weekend and it was a blast. We did some fun team-building activities and spent the whole weekend on a beautiful lake in Arkansas. Getting to know each other better and becoming closer as a group was the perfect way to spend our last “free” weekend. Unfortunately, we had to pack up this morning and head back to Memphis – and now it’s time to start preparing for the summer mini-term which starts tomorrow!

    I’ve heard that second year flies by even faster than first year did – so I’ll probably be “recapping” second year before I know it! Wish the Class of 2017 luck as we take on a new semester. :-)


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