Nov 6, 2015
9
3
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Pre-Optometry
So I just started optometry school and I love it so far! The past 3 weeks have been like a dream come true.
Just one part is a little strange to me: everyone does nothing but study, and everyone seems to have their eyes on their target residency options already. I'm not sure how everyone has already figured out what they want to specialize in.
People listen to recordings when they dry their hair. At lunch everyone has their books out. Our classrooms are full 30 minutes before classes starts because everyone gets their early and just studies, ever since the first week of school. Our first test is next week and my crew and I had plans to hang out last week, but we canceled because the majority of our crew did not want to go out and perhaps have one drink an entire week before our test. I also already know of someone who posted a study guide in our Facebook page and purposefully left some concepts out of the version he uploaded.
It feels like everyone wants to be valedictorian of the class, and everyone wants to be at the top of the class to be competitive for when it comes time for residency applications.
I am aspiring to obviously learn all the material well but I'm having a hard time being on the same page as everyone. Honestly the material does not seem that much more dense than undergrad. I do think my undergrad curriculum was more rigid than that of some of my classmates, but not this much more.

1) How important will it be to do a residency? In terms of potential jobs, salary starting points, potential to grow, etc., are people without a residency out of optometry school at a significant disadvantage that will echo throughout their career?
2) Did you study like there was no tomorrow in optometry school? Did you have to beat your class to get where you needed to be?
 
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Dec 7, 2014
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I'm still in optometry school but your depiction of your class sounds pretty much nothing like mine. Sure some people want residencies but no one I know is certain exactly what they want. Everyone in my class tries to help each other out and there's no deceptions with things like study guides... Also that sounds like a crazy amount of studying and I don't know how they're not all going insane. I'm kinda sorry you're having that experience. Perhaps after they see what the first test is like they'll calm down a bit.
 

Snakedoctor1

5+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2014
280
174
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Optometrist
So I just started optometry school and I love it so far! The past 3 weeks have been like a dream come true.
Just one part is a little strange to me: everyone does nothing but study, and everyone seems to have their eyes on their target residency options already. I'm not sure how everyone has already figured out what they want to specialize in.
Girls listen to recordings when they blow dry their hair. At lunch everyone has their books out. Our classrooms are full 30 minutes before classes starts because everyone gets their early and just studies, ever since the first week of school. Our first test is next week and my crew and I had plans to hang out last week, but we canceled because the majority of our crew did not want to go out and perhaps have one drink an entire week before our test. I also already know of someone who posted a study guide in our Facebook page and purposefully left some concepts out of the version he uploaded.
It feels like everyone wants to be valedictorian of the class, and everyone wants to be at the top of the class to be competitive for when it comes time for residency applications.
I am aspiring to obviously learn all the material well but I'm having a hard time being on the same page as everyone. Honestly the material does not seem that much more dense than undergrad. I do think my undergrad curriculum was more rigid than that of some of my classmates, but not this much more.

1) How important will it be to do a residency? In terms of potential jobs, salary starting points, potential to grow, etc., are people without a residency out of optometry school at a significant disadvantage that will echo throughout their career?
2) Did you study like there was no tomorrow in optometry school? Did you have to beat your class to get where you needed to be?

Specific jobs will want residency trained Optometrists, but it's a very small percentage of overall graduates who end up completing residencies. Higher now than in the past, but still a relatively low percentage. Maybe most of them come from your school.

I personally studied more in undergrad than Optometry school generally speaking, but I'm not in competition with my classmates either. I also find that my life is better when I spend less time in a book and more time being a normal human and spending time with my wife. My class posts study guides (correct ones) on facebook all the time to help each other out. You should tell your class to take a giant chill pill, 800 mg qid. We'll go per oral for now, but if there's no improvement we may have to hit the problem closer to it's source and switch to anal insertion.
 
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gwarm01

10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2009
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Specific jobs will want residency trained Optometrists, but it's a very small percentage of overall graduates who end up completing residencies. Higher now than in the past, but still a relatively low percentage. Maybe most of them come from your school.

I personally studied more in undergrad than Optometry school generally speaking, but I'm not in competition with my classmates either. I also find that my life is better when I spend less time in a book and more time being a normal human and spending time with my wife. My class posts study guides (correct ones) on facebook all the time to help each other out. You should tell your class to take a giant chill pill, 800 mg qid. We'll go per oral for now, but if there's no improvement we may have to hit the problem closer to it's source and switch to anal insertion.

I'm just a curious spectator from across the aisle, but I have a few questions. What sort of residencies are available to optometrists? Are these typically for institution jobs at big healthcare centers? Do you think that less emphasis is put on residency since most optometrists, I assume, work in community based practices? Forgive me if I'm completely wrong because I don't know a whole lot about the profession.

There is a huge emphasis on residency in pharmacy these days. I feel like a lot of that is due to the oppressive work environments in community settings, so everyone wants to work for a big hospital. The demand for those limited jobs basically created an environment where hospitals no longer pay full salary to train an employee since they have hundreds of new graduates lining up with a big smile to work for 40k a year to learn what was freely taught a decade ago. I wonder if this was brought on by differences in the work environment between our two professions or if something else is at play.
 

generallyspeaking

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Nov 25, 2015
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1. The most common residencies are cornea/contact lens, peds/binocular vision/vision therapy, low vision and rehabilitation, ocular disease. There are some other ones listed on ASCO that I never heard of (geriatric optometry???)

2. In my opinion, less emphasis is put on residency because it doesn't really do much more than give a practitioner confidence through exposure to more difficult cases. In the end, we're still only primary care doctors, and a lot of state laws restrict the amount of care we can do before it must be sent to an ophthalmologist, so having a ocular disease residency where part of your treatment is "refer to ophthalmology" is kind of not too useful. It also doesn't translate to increased income either unless you become a referral center like for vision therapy or specialty contact lenses (your bread and butter will always be basic refraction otherwise).

3. Optometry residencies don't expand the scope of practice you are able to do. I didn't do a vision therapy residency but I'm pretty darn sure I can do vision therapy for 95% of the vision therapy patients. I probably wouldn't know what to do for someone with anomalous correspondence by having first hand exposure but I could probably read it in a book and learn it in 1 hour. On the other-hand, doesn't a pharmacy residency increase the scope of practice? : an outpatient pharmacist could not do the same work as an oncology pharmacist without the huge risk of screwing up and killing someone. My sister is a pharmacist and she says she could never do a residency because she floundered at her hospital rotations and coursework related to that side of pharmacy of monitoring drug interactions, vitals, yada-yada (I'm not 100% sure what kind of work really goes on here).

I was a top student in my class but I feel less competent than my colleagues who were C students who did a residency. However, when I run into something that I just don't know how to handle, I refer it to my neighboring ophthalmology department and they can handle it (I work in a hospital). This relationship works well for me and that I see all primary care and they see all secondary care. I try to help with their load by doing as much as I legally or comfortably can (like monitoring glaucoma suspects or simple primary glaucoma). I don't see low vision patients or do complex contacts, but I refer that to those in our department who can, or if nobody does, than I can refer it to those in the community who do, but realistically I only encounter less than 1% who really need those services.
 
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Nov 6, 2015
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Pre-Optometry
You should tell your class to take a giant chill pill, 800 mg qid. We'll go per oral for now, but if there's no improvement we may have to hit the problem closer to it's source and switch to anal insertion.
That was the best thing I read all day LOL. Thanks for that!
I agree, I just want to learn the material that I need to know, whether that means I'm ranked in the top 25% or 25th percentile. I've already have OD2s ask me why my classmates are crazy.
 
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OP
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Nov 6, 2015
9
3
Status
Pre-Optometry
1. The most common residencies are cornea/contact lens, peds/binocular vision/vision therapy, low vision and rehabilitation, ocular disease. There are some other ones listed on ASCO that I never heard of (geriatric optometry???)

2. In my opinion, less emphasis is put on residency because it doesn't really do much more than give a practitioner confidence through exposure to more difficult cases. In the end, we're still only primary care doctors, and a lot of state laws restrict the amount of care we can do before it must be sent to an ophthalmologist, so having a ocular disease residency where part of your treatment is "refer to ophthalmology" is kind of not too useful. It also doesn't translate to increased income either unless you become a referral center like for vision therapy or specialty contact lenses (your bread and butter will always be basic refraction otherwise).

3. Optometry residencies don't expand the scope of practice you are able to do. I didn't do a vision therapy residency but I'm pretty darn sure I can do vision therapy for 95% of the vision therapy patients. I probably wouldn't know what to do for someone with anomalous correspondence by having first hand exposure but I could probably read it in a book and learn it in 1 hour. On the other-hand, doesn't a pharmacy residency increase the scope of practice? : an outpatient pharmacist could not do the same work as an oncology pharmacist without the huge risk of screwing up and killing someone. My sister is a pharmacist and she says she could never do a residency because she floundered at her hospital rotations and coursework related to that side of pharmacy of monitoring drug interactions, vitals, yada-yada (I'm not 100% sure what kind of work really goes on here).

I was a top student in my class but I feel less competent than my colleagues who were C students who did a residency. However, when I run into something that I just don't know how to handle, I refer it to my neighboring ophthalmology department and they can handle it (I work in a hospital). This relationship works well for me and that I see all primary care and they see all secondary care. I try to help with their load by doing as much as I legally or comfortably can (like monitoring glaucoma suspects or simple primary glaucoma). I don't see low vision patients or do complex contacts, but I refer that to those in our department who can, or if nobody does, than I can refer it to those in the community who do, but realistically I only encounter less than 1% who really need those services.

Thank you, that's very helpful and insightful! That's true, ocular disease is exciting but at the end of the day every optometrist has the same scope of practice.
It must be amazing to work in a hospital. Was it competitive to land that position?
 

generallyspeaking

2+ Year Member
Nov 25, 2015
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Yes, if you read through my older posts, I feel like I was very lucky to get this position. I'm a new grad who didn't do a residency, so I always wondered why I was accepted over the others who applied (and trust me, a lot of people want to join this hospital organization because of its reputation for good working conditions and leading compensation; a lot of my CA classmates keep asking how I got a F/T job here when they only hire 2-4 F/T jobs per year in the whole state to external applicants). I asked my chief why he picked me and he said it was because my professional references spoke very highly of me.
 

Snakedoctor1

5+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2014
280
174
Status
Optometrist
That was the best thing I read all day LOL. Thanks for that!
I agree, I just want to learn the material that I need to know, whether that means I'm ranked in the top 25% or 25th percentile. I've already have OD2s ask me why my classmates are crazy.
Answering 2-3 more questions correctly (essentially the difference between an A and a B on a test) doesn't make a great doctor. You will get the knowledge you need, and while it still takes effort and dedication, you'll get plenty of review. Studying for boards comes to mind..

Good healthcare isn't just memorizing facts. Of course you should strive to do well in school, but remember that patients want to feel like you are taking good care of them. Just because you are taking good care of them doesn't mean they feel like you are. In my experience, this tends to be a key difference between ODs and OMDs, but in any field there are those who are good with people, and those who are lacking in the bedside manner department.

I'll probably get sniped by a wandering pre-med for that comment, but truth is painful.