Second year so far...

Second year so far has been busy! When I started I quickly realised that the year was going to be demanding. Practical exams, coursework and written class tests were going to keep the whole class occupied throughout the year. It is definitely a step up from first year but it is also a rewarding one.

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For the first time I have been testing senior patients getting a taste of what day-to-day life as an optometrist will be like. I have really enjoyed this aspect of second year as it puts into practise everything I have learned so far in my studies. I love talking to all the patients and seeing first-hand the importance of the role of an optometrist. Understanding how to communicate with patients was enjoyable but also challenging. Learning how to explain tests to patients and interpret their answers was more difficult than I had imagined however throughout the year this skill developed in parallel with my ability to complete a routine eye exam.

I had to complete two group projects as part of my coursework. One was a presentation in front of my class and lecturers which was nerve-wracking but I do feel it developed my confidence. Working within a group provided the opportunity to develop team working skills and distribute knowledge. A second group project involved working with students studying other courses to create a booklet. This provided the opportunity see things from another point of view and work with people of different disciplines.

Throughout second year more and more valuable optometric skills have been developed in the Advanced Examination Techniques and Contact Lens modules. In the first semester I have learned how to carry out Goldmann tonometry, insertion and removal of contact lenses and Volk lens assessment. These are all skills I will carry with me throughout my career. I have also learned about the dispensing side of optometry and how important this is to ensure the prescription is correct for the patient.

Studying Law and Ethics was interesting as it made me realise how connected the world of optometry is and how to treat patients appropriately. Through studying disease in our Human Disease module, it has been confirmed to me how the eyes relate to many parts of the body and a variety of serious illnesses can be detected through an eye exam. This is a very rewarding aspect of optometry but also gives a lot of responsibility to every practitioner.

Second year makes me one step closer to final year and becoming a pre-registration optometrist. Each step allows me to learn more and more about optics and eye health and helps me gain confidence in my ability to practice as an optometrist in the future. Applying to different pre-registration programmes is very daunting and makes me realise that the process really isn’t that far away. I know that it will be a challenging but very rewarding few years ahead and I will work hard until I achieve my goals!   

Roisin Magee
Ulster University