The joys of residency in pediatric optometry

Two seated students in scrubs, giving the thumbs up sign at their externship at the Martha Eliot Center

The joys of residency in pediatric optometry

When residency application season rolled around late 2020, I was wiped. It’d been such a crazy 4th year, with the pandemic and all… I was looking for stability and familiarity, and definitely not looking to apply for a residency across the US.

Precepting 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years with Dr. Jacky Kong at Martha Elliot Health Center.

But on further reflection, I knew my most bright and fulfilling moments the past 4 years were working with children, and I wanted to be a better eye care provider for them. And so, here I eagerly stand — a Californian in Massachusetts pursuing a residency at NECO’s incredibly rich pediatric program. Everyday, I’m grateful to learn from so many experts in the field in diverse clinic settings. I feel empowered being in such an academically driven setting, with countless opportunities to challenge myself, whether it be submitting case presentations to resident conferences, lecturing optometry students on pediatric techniques, or working on my personal research project.

Practicing low vision contrast testing with a 4th year student, Aftab Khan, at Perkin’s School for the Blind.

Each day is different here, so I’m always on my toes! On Mondays and Thursdays, I work at Tuft’s Medical Center, seeing medically complex kids ranging from aphakic babies to children with rare genetic and vision disorders. On Tuesdays, I work at Perkins School for the Blind, where I see a lot of children with multiple disabilities and cerebral visual impairment. On Wednesdays and Fridays, I work at community health centers caring for Boston’s underserved youth. Notably, I have the opportunity to precept optometry students at these centers, which has been a surprising joy thus far.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds, and am excited to become a (residency trained!!) pediatric optometrist I’ll be proud of!