Friday, September 27, 2013

Eye-Opening Experiences for EC Pre-Optometry Student

Rosalba Ramirez is a senior at Elmhurst College majoring in biology and pursuing a career in optometry. As an undergraduate, she has gained wonderful experiences geared toward her professional interests. Below she describes two opportunities in optometry where she was able to explore the profession.

At the Spectrios Institute for Low Vision, I was able to learn a lot about low vision care while translating for the Spanish-speaking patients that went there.  My time there consisted of translating paperwork so that Spanish-speaking patients can comprehend their treatment, access different resources available to them, and much more.  I also translated for Spanish-speaking patients in person helping them understand the optometrist’s diagnosis and different options they had available to them.  While the institute itself did not offer vision correction, they offered an array of resources and tools that helped patients make the most of the vision they did have.  Working alongside the low vision optometrists at Spectrios was really helpful in giving me some insight on one of the different routes one can take as an optometrist. 

 Rosalba Ramirez

My time at the Illinois Eye Institute (IEI) at Princeton Elementary School was a very valuable to me.  Monday through Friday a busload of Chicago Public School (CPS) students arrive at the school-based eye clinic around 9am.  I had the opportunity to go in every Thursday for half a year, and it was quite an eye-opening experience for me!  I performed a variety of screenings that included testing for far and near visual acuity, stereoacuity, color vision, eye pressure, and measuring for refractive error before the optometry students from the Illinois College of Optometry performed exams on the CPS children.  I had never had so much hands-on experience as I did at the IEI at Princeton, and I am grateful for all that I learned from the optometrists there.  It was very fulfilling to know that I was helping provide vision care to an underserved community.  I never realized how many people in Chicago do not have access to vision care and how much it affects children in their school performance.  The IEI at Princeton Elementary School was one of the best volunteer experiences to participate in, and I would strongly encourage any student remotely interested in the field of optometry to volunteer there as well.

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