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Life as a Fourth Year Optometry Student

Biren practicing an eye exam on a friend. This picture was taken a few days before Part III. My friend was sitting as a patient for me and making sure I was perfecting the skills!

Ever wonder what it feels like being in fourth year of optometry school? It is actually very re-warding and enjoyable – despite the busy clinic schedule. I enjoy being a fourth year student because I am now able to apply all of the information I have learned from classes, labs, and previous clinics into my current clinical placements.

My fourth rotation this year is different from the previous three sites in that I am in various specialty sites throughout the week instead of one location.  For three days a week, I work at the New England College of Optometry Center for Eye Care in the contact lens and low vision services.  In the cornea care/contact lens department, I am getting exposed to and learning how to fit scleral lenses, rigid gas permeable lenses, as well as the more common soft contact lenses. I am also learning how to fit specialty design contact lenses for the treatment of irregular corneal conditions.  

In the low vision department, I work with patients with low vision or vision impairment to prescribe visual assistive equipment since typical glasses or contacts will often not provide much benefit to patients. Working in this department is much different than a normal exam. Here, I am listening to what the patient’s main concern is and trying to find a solution to daily activities the patient would like to do but is now unable to because of vision impairment. By identifying the right visual assistance equipment, we can help improve a patient’s quality of life. 

My other two days are spent at the Perkins School for the Blind primarily providing low vision services and helping young children become more independent with specific devices for their needs.

My day begins around 6:30 am each day to have ample time making breakfast and preparing lunch. Depending on the day and which clinic site I will be at, the first patient is expected to arrive between 8 am and 8:30 am.  I like to arrive 20 minutes early to have the exam room ready and review charts for the day. A typical day consists of about 6-8 patients and I usually get home around 6pm. Of course clinic can get exhausting, but I will either go for a nice workout or just relax the rest of the day. 

I took Part III of the National Boards in North Carolina last week, so I was busy preparing and perfecting my clinical skills.  One thing I appreciate about NECO is that they have dedicated an exam room at school for fourth year students to practice specifically for Boards.  Essentially, it is an exact replica of the exam room that will be in North Carolina. I practiced about 3 days each week ensuring my skills and dialogue were perfect.  

Now that I have completed the exam, I have more time to myself.  Usually on the weekends, I like to get out of my apartment and visit friends or even go on mini-trips outside of Boston.  Now I am just waiting for the warm weather so that I can enjoy evening runs along the Charles River and go for long walks and try new restaurants with friends!

Biren is in his fourth 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.