Recently, we had several of our students take over our @salusuniversity social media accounts and while doing so, they conducted Q&A’s with prospective students and viewers. And, what better way to find out about the nuances of a program than students who are knee-deep in it studying, performing clinical exams, and the like.  

Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) 
Question: Is applying for a residency a good option after optometry school?
Answer: Consider this as you go through the program because you might have some experiences that change your mind and you have to think about it for yourself.

Q: How many hours of shadowing did you have?
A: I think it was around 100, but I didn’t have any clinical experience (prior). I want to stress the importance of making sure you are a well-rounded applicant.

Q: What year do you start going to The Eye Institute (TEI)?
A: The first month of our first year, but we were observing for the most part (at that time). 

Q: How do you get placed in externships during fourth year?
A: You are given a list of sites you can go to and you make your choices based on that. If you and another student choose the same site, you are put in a lottery to see who secures that site.

Malino DeFayQ: How many patients do you see every day at TEI?
A: Usually anywhere from one to three patients, depending on the length of the shift.

Q: What’s your favorite class?
A: My favorite classes were disease-based classes (Anterior Segment, Posterior Segment, and Neuro-Ophthalmic Disease).

Q: What have you enjoyed most about your clinic experience at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus?
A: Seeing patients and my didactic knowledge applied in the real world, aka feeling like a doctor! My favorite part of the clinic is having Primary Care as my specialty because I get to see different types of patients each time!

Q: I’ve seen a few optometrists with a stethoscope - what’s the purpose of it in an eye exam?
A: We take blood pressure on every patient because hypertensive changes can affect ocular health.

Q: What’s the clinic like - exciting or scary?
A: For sure, scary at first! But you learn something new every time you see a new patient, which builds your confidence.

Q: Which year has been the hardest, in your opinion?
A: I would say second year was the toughest! Definitely year two.

Q: How comfortable are you with patients as a third year?
A: As a third year, my patient care experience has been great. I feel like I get to connect more and more with what I have learned in class. Also, studying for the boards has helped me get through an eye exam better.

Sindhuja MuppaQ: What’s your favorite thing about PCO/Salus?
A: The early clinical experience!

Q: What’s your favorite thing about TEI?
A: My favorite thing about TEI is that there are so many specialties you encounter during your student life. You can be in primary care one day and the next morning be in Low Vision or Neuro!

Q: Are the majority of patients you see coming in for a prescription change or check up?
A: No, I would say most of our patients are ocular disease-related, like glaucoma, cataracts, PVD, dry eyes, and more, in addition to an Rx update!

Q: What made PCO/Salus stand out from other schools you were applying to?
A: PCO/Salus offers students a cohort curriculum and includes early clinical experience. They also offer extensive externships for your third/fourth year rotations.

Q: Any advice for first year optometry students?
A: First year was a tough one because everything is so new to you and there are so many things to get done. I think it’s very important to make a schedule for yourself every week (like to-do lists or reminders), so you don’t get too overwhelmed with the amount of work given.

Q: What was the hardest thing to adjust to in the clinic?
A: Time management, because now you’re taking classes plus being in the clinic two to three times a week.

jasleen phangurehQ: What’s the hardest part about the clinic?
A: Improving on efficiency and applying what you learn in didactic studies.

Q: Is optometry harder than undergrad?
A: I would say yes, for the following reasons:
  • Higher expectations in grad school
  • More demanding labs/clinical time
  • More classes
  • Less free time
Q: Biggest challenge of the first year?
A: Getting used to the exams and the pace of the lectures. Once I found my groove, I definitely felt more comfortable.

Q: Favorite specialty at TEI?
A: Glaucoma! Every time I’m in glaucoma I learn so much.