Where my interest in low vision began

One of the beautiful aspects of optometry that is often overlooked in the freedom to expand the use of your degree. In school, I learn how to become the best possible clinician that I can but, in the future, I hope to expand my career outside of the traditional path.

Before beginning optometry school I was lucky enough to accept a position working at the Carroll Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Newton, Massachusetts. At that point in my life, I had no idea what low vision rehabilitation was let alone the fact that it was something optometrists specialize in.

It was there, at the Carroll Center that I really found a passion for working with patients in order to help them utilize the vision that they do have to the best of their ability. Each day I would leave inspired by the program’s participants and thankful for the chance to help them maintain their independence. Thus began my journey to optometry school and my curiosity about this career.    

While in optometry school

At the Illinois College of Optometry, we begin interacting with patients as early as our first year. This allows us to learn more about specialties such as low vision rehabilitation earlier on. Taking our vision rehabilitation course during my second year, I was intrigued by the connection between treating a patient’s ocular diseases and further enhancing their quality of life through rehabilitation.

Now, rotating through our Center for Vision and Aging and working with our vision rehabilitation doctors, my interest continues to grow. After expressing this interest, I was contacted by a fellow student as well as a resident to help start a club at ICO for students with similar interests. We created the ICO Low Vision Rehabilitation club which has allowed us to invite speakers, host events, and educate students about this specialty. Today, this group continues to grow and I look forward to seeing where it ends up before I graduate.

Future goals

Next year I will be a fourth year and off on my externship rotations. At ICO we compete 4 rotations including a VA and vision rehabilitation specialty rotation. I am excited to soon select these locations and make a final decision about pursuing a residency in this field.

For now, I will be continuing to learn more through my ICO rotations and conferences I attend. I am happy to have found something I am so passionate about and excited to see what the future holds!