Here at the Atlantic Vet College, we don’t have the luxury of having a boarded ophthalmologist, so when it comes time to teach the third-years about ophthalmology, we recruit help from another school. Instead of learning ophtho over the course of a semester, we’re learning a semester of ophtho over the course of two weeks. This means lectures almost every day and labs scheduled for learning how to do and practice ocular exams. We also coincidentally are learning about equine ophthalmology in our Equine Health and Disease course, so today we ended up having three hours of ophtho! It’s been an information overload!
One thing I didn’t realize is just how complex the eye is. It’s such a small structure, especially when compared to the heart or liver, but it accomplishes so much. Eyes are responsible for so much of your awareness of your surroundings. They can adjust to bright lights and darkness. They see near and far. They see colors and movements. As our visiting professor likes to say, “The brain is really just an extension of the eyes.”
However, our eyes are so very fragile. A slight disruption in the cornea can lead to infection, leading to uveitis, leading to cataract formation and blindness. Some lens fibers come a little loose and, oops, your lens is frolicking inside your eyeball. It’s really amazing the intricate interplay that goes on. I’m having a fantastic time learning ophthalmology, and it might be another area of interest of mine in practice!