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Clinical Education Department

This department supports the clinical work component of the curriculum at New England College of Optometry. Students work under the careful supervision of faculty mentors who help them hone their clinical skills and develop expertise in specialty areas of interest. They work in a clinical environment that familiarizes them with a contemporary health care model that emphasizes visual health through community-based collaborations. Director of Clinical Education: Erik Weissberg

Patient Care Coursework

A sequence of Patient Care courses gives students direct patient care experience and responsibilities in affiliated health centers, Veterans Affairs hospitals, private practices, or in the New England College of Optometry clinical system, the NECO Clinical Network. Clinical preceptors will evaluate and guide the student through the process of providing eye care. Students are graded on key clinical tools: technical skills, knowledge base, analytical skills, diagnostic skills, management and treatment, communication skills, efficiency, attitude, and professionalism.

Final Year Rotations

Four rotations during the final year complete the clinical requirements, with mandatory assignments in Primary Care, Advanced Care and Specialty Care. Students choose an additional assignment in one of the mandatory categories or from a list of elective sites. The College currently has affiliated clinical sites located in over thirty states, Canadian provinces, and China. Student assignments are based on a variety of factors, including student choices and program needs.

  • Primary Care Rotation
    Clinical sites that provide comprehensive eye care services for patients of all ages are categorized as Primary Care sites. Typically, these sites are community health centers, community clinic, or private optometric practices.
  • Advanced Care Rotation
    Clinical sites that provide comprehensive eye care services in hospitals or surgical centers and have associated medical staff are categorized as Advanced Care sites. These include Veterans Affairs hospitals, surgical centers, and eye institutes.
  • Specialty Care Rotation
    Clinical sites that provide professional specialty care are categorized as Specialty Care clinics. These include clinics specializing in visual therapy/binocular vision, contact lenses, pediatrics, geriatrics, patients with disabilities, or low vision. The College’s Special Populations rotation provides training in many of these specialty areas.

The Office of Clinical Education monitors the quality and quantity of patient encounters for each student. All students must satisfy a minimum number of contact lens patient encounters during the course of their final-year assignments. Some students may be assigned to contact-lens-specific sites in order to assure a broad clinical experience. Clinical preceptors evaluate students twice per quarter with the expectation that all levels of performance will progressively increase throughout the year.

Clinical Education Department Faculty

Clinical Education Department Courses