Monday, May 12, 2014

Getting Away: The Key to a Balanced Life in Optometry School

Of all the things I'd been skeptical about, I didn't feel skeptical about this: the wilderness had a clarity that included me.- Cheryl Strayed, Wild

The best medicine for an overworked brain is nature; Optometry students know that feeling all too well! To balance the hard work of a graduate program, our students have tried many different activities to aid them in continuing a sense of well-being. Fourth Year student, Shane McDonald, shares some photos of his various adventures throughout Oregon!

Climbing Monkey Face and Smith Rock

Camping and hiking Mt. Hood, 2.5 hours outside of Forest Grove

Climbing Bulo Point, about 3 hours outside of Forest Grove.

As you can see, there are a lot of opportunities to experience the beauty and nature of the Pacific Northwest near PUCO! If you have a chance to schedule a visit with us, try to experience some of the sought-out climbing and hiking locations in the area. You can use the Portland Hikers Field Guide to map out the best location for your hiking or climbing desires.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry on YouTube!

The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) has released a video, Be a Doctor of Optometry: Put Your Future in Focus, on their new YouTube channel! 

“The video reinforces what many optometrists already know,” says Dr. Jennifer Smythe, Dean of Pacific University College of Optometry and ASCO President. “Doctors of optometry have unlimited career opportunities, great success at achieving work/life balance, and are primary health care providers that make a real difference. We also have the privilege of having a positive impact on the ability of an individual to succeed and be happy in life by improving vision and eye health.”

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Guest Post: Tyler Rose: Mr. Optometry Pageant

To start 2014 off right, Pacific University College of Optometry hosted its first ever Mr. Optometry pageant in the Taylor Meade Auditorium. It was quite the event and a great experience for everyone! The pageant’s festivities were organized by first year entertainment representative Becca Lange with the aid of the council members of the Class of 2017. Students and Faculty all participated in helping make it an epic night! The judges for this event were our very own Dr. Coffey, Dr. Citek, and Jeannie Oliver; our charming MC’s were Drs. Doll and Halverson. There were nearly 200 audience members who attended the Mr. Optometry Pageant for its debut year!

Jeannie Oliver, Dr. Coffey, Dr. Citek
Each class had a handful of brave participants who were nominated by their class and willing to participate in the various activities. The night began with a choreographed dance to the song “I like to Move it Move it”, surprising audience members with the skillful display. Contestants then went on the catwalk to show off their best clinic attire and had a thought-provoking question waiting for them to answer on the spot. Questions such as, “If a patient had come to you that self diagnosed themselves with a number of diseases, how would you go about treating them?” or “As Mr. Optometry, what do you think some of the responsibilities are?” or “What would you do if a woman’s water broke in your office?”

Intermission was graced with a bake sale; goods were donated to each of the contestants by classmates and the contestant who sold the most goods got the most points. Afterwards, the points were tallied and four unfortunate souls were cut from the rankings. However, the show must go on, and the remaining semifinalists played two Optometry-style game shows; Family Feud and The Price is Right.

Family Feud!
The night’s talent portion was nothing shy of amazing as contestants beautifully showcased their acting skills. They each had one minute to act out 10 charades in front of the audience, each charade getting more and more challenging. Audience members got to call out their answers to the contestants, some turning out to be quite hysterical! For example, one of the contestants was acting out “Getting accepted into Optometry School” and jumping up and down in excitement, while audience members yelled out “Cheer leader!”, “Pants on fire!”, and “Raise the Roof!”. The last category, “Best Eyes”, was determined anonymously by votes from the students and faculty. The winner of this category was awarded separately with the “Pupil’s Choice Award”

Drs. Doll and Halverson and First Year Student Samantha Sperber awarding winners.

After all of the acts were performed, the votes and points were added up to award the winners. There was suspense in the air as another 3 were eliminated off the stage. Finally, the final 3 contestants were awarded the following; Pupil’s Choice award was won by first year, Chris Kimball, Runner up was first year, Jordan Tanous, and Pacific University’s one and only Mr. Optometry 2014 was awarded to second year student ambassador, yours truly, Tyler Rose.

Pageant Wave!

It was a great event and a fun way for the whole school to assemble and really get to know each other better. We all learned some hidden talents and fun facts about our classmates and faculty members! Over $1,000 was raised at this event. Heine and Pioneer donated prizes for the winners of Mr. Optometry, runner up, and Pupil’s choice award.

This year might have been the first annual Mr. Optometry at Pacific University but it certainly won’t be the last. It was not only a great success but will become an event you will not want to miss in the future. The festivities of the pageant will grow and improve each year, I guarantee it! We hope to continue this fundraiser and anticipate that it becomes a tradition for PUCO students for years to come!

Hope to see you there next year for Mr. Optometry 2015!

Thank you to all the volunteers who put this on!
 Photo Credit: PUCO First Year Students Britlynn Chan and Dana Brady.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

PUCO Promotes InfantSEE Program to Community

This year, Governor Kitzhaber declared November 2013 as InfantSEE Month in Oregon. In an effort to raise community awareness about InfantSEE, a national program that connects parents with optometrists in their area who provide free vision screenings for infants under 12 months of age. Pacific University’s College of Optometry recently hosted two free on-campus events featuring nationally recognized presenter, Tom Sullivan.  The event was even picked up by a local news organization that did a segment on the InfantSEE program and the importance of early detection. The segment was filmed in our Forest Grove EyeClinic, located in the College of Optometry with PUCO faculty member Dr. J.P. Lowery. 

As a parent, I understand the importance of free early detection programs. When my oldest son was three years old he participated in a free vision screening at his preschool. I signed the waiver with the expectation that his results would be normal. I viewed the vision screening as a wonderful learning opportunity for students to get more experience working with pediatric patients. Looking back now I can see that there were some warning signs that his vision may not have been normal, such as his lack of interest in catching a ball, less-than-stellar depth perception, and the slight turn of his left eye that was sometimes detectable in photos. I viewed his toddler clumsiness as one of his endearing qualities; I had no reason at that time to suspect there was a problem with his vision. He was on track with all of his developmental milestones, and had “passed” a basic vision screening as a part of a well-child check - although, he refused to have his left eye covered during the exam, something I think an optometrist would have picked up on right away. The nurse administering the screening said that it wasn’t uncommon for kids his age to be uncooperative, and that his vision seemed “fine”. So, I was surprised when I received the results of his vision screening in the mail, indicating that abnormalities were detected! About 10 days later he had his first pair of glasses, and a referral to a specialist for vision therapy to start strengthening his weaker eye.
First pair of glasses!
Aside from looking super cute in his new glasses, my son was able to complete vision therapy, which helped his eyes start working together, before he was school age. This prevented the characteristic eye-turn commonly known as a “lazy eye” and his vision was able to help him rather than hinder him in the classroom. I frequently see articles highlighting study after study demonstrating the importance of early childhood intervention, and vision is no different. I’m happy to now be a part of a program that is educating the community, and providing free resources to ensure its youngest members have optimal vision.

Friday, November 22, 2013

PUCO Holiday Meet & Greet 2013!

It’s that time of year again, folks! The Portland weather is biting cold, snow dusts the top of Mount Hood and the city is sparkling. It is the Holiday season, and Pacific University College of Optometry has a gift for you!

Link to photo origin here
 On December 20th and December 27th, PUCO students from over 50 cities in the US and Canada are offering to grab coffee with prospective students­ at a Starbucks near the PUCO students’ location— and the coffee is on us! Link to the locations here.
Why go to a Meet & Greet? One student commented, “First, I thought it was an excellent idea for a program, and wanted to support its growth. Second, I am extremely interested in PUCO's program and LOVE coffee.... it was a perfect match. Lastly, I wanted to learn more about what it is truly like to be an optometry student. I sincerely enjoyed meeting the student, and look forward to becoming a successful optometric student myself.”

Students from past Meet & Greet sessions found the experience incredibly rewarding (not just because of the free cup of coffee!). One student said,“I was extremely impressed, and was so glad I went. It was informative, and fun. It was very nice to connect with a student and hear the positives and negatives of student life. I feel my impression of Pacific has only improved as I am very excited for the future.”

The sessions will last around an hour, getting answers to questions you have about Pacific or the profession of optometry; to talk about living in Oregon; and to share with you why they decided to come to Pacific over the other optometry schools out there. We want you to have access to all resources about Pacific, so when you choose an optometry school, you can make the choice that’s right for you!

You will have until December 4th to respond to the offer! If you have any questions regarding the Meet & Greet, feel free to contact Andrea or Abby with your questions and comments!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Guest Post: Cathy Yuen: The biggest optometry event of the year is calling for YOU!

To all the new incoming first years, congratulations for surviving the first week of optometry school! As the first week comes to an end, I hope you have all found your way to swim through the piles of email you get each day and to keep track of all the quizzes and labs that you have.  It was nice to see so many of you coming out to the SOA Spring Picnic last week.

At many events throughout the year, you will often hear that travel grants for the Optometry’s Meeting are being raffled off.  In case you aren’t sure what the Optometry’s Meeting is and how the travel grant works, I will tell you a little bit about it.  Optometry’s meeting is one of the largest optometry conferences held annually at different cities across the US.  I had the opportunity to attend this year’s conference which was held in sunny San Diego!

At the conference, there are dozens of booths that feature the latest diagnostic technologies, new products on the market, and designer frames.  Basically, you will find everything related to optometry.  There is also a large selection of continuing education seminars available.  Topics range from practise management to amblyopia treatment and to glaucoma diagnosis.  You are guaranteed to find some talks that interest you!  Aside from the optometry aspect, there are also many opportunities for you to socialize with students from other optometry schools in the US and Canada.  One of the sponsors of the conference, HOYA, organized a private event for us on the USS Midway.  It was pretty cool to go on the longest serving aircraft carrier of this century!

 One of the highlights of the conference is the Student Bowl.  The bowl is a jeopardy-style competition where each school sends out one representative to answer optometry trivia questions.  The atmosphere was awesome! Pacific had a great turnout and we cheered our hearts out for our rep, Gleb, who did an awesome job!

After the conference, I visited the San Diego SeaWorld with my friends and had a great time seeing all the animals and shows.  One of the highlights of the day was getting splashed by the killer whales in one of the shows.  We were soaking wet from head to toe! Fortunately, it was really hot that day so we dried off in no time but at the same time, we all got sunburns by the end of the day!

Photo by Amandeep Soor
Next year, the Optometry’s meeting will be held at Philadelphia.  I highly encourage you to try to attend as it really is a fascinating experience! As you will or have heard many upperclassmen say, the summer of your first year will be the last one so take advantage of it! Now, to help you to go to the conference, many organizations such as SOA and AOSA graciously donate travel grants that will be raffled off at different events throughout the year.  The travel grants can be used towards airfare or accommodation.  If you want to increase your chance of winning, make sure you show up to all the events! Philadelphia is waiting for you!

Photo by
Thanks for reading!  Hope you guys had a great long weekend!

-Cathy Yuen