Got your attention now! Keep reading for interesting facts about optometric education.
An often overlooked fact about optometry is that the eyes are directly tied to the body as a whole. The eyes can be the first indicator of many systemic diseases. Part of an optometrist’s education is learning the structures of the torso and head and how they relate to the eyes. What is the best way to visualize these structures? The human cadaver.
As one of my jobs in optometry school, I (along with some of my favorite classmates) prosected the cadavers for the anatomy labs. (Dissect is to separate into pieces; prosect is to dissect for demonstration purposes.) On the first day of my exposure to cadavers, I had to avert my eyes to prevent syncope. After giving myself a pep talk, I crept closer to the bodies trying to overcome my sensitivity to the smell of formaldehyde. Eventually staring down at ‘mine’, I realized that they each had their own amazing stories and lives and now it was ok that that was over. By their own donation, the next stage had begun and now they were our teachers.
Before too long, I was able to saw through the skull to exposure the eye muscles, tease out the tiniest cranial nerves and weigh an enlarged heart with my hands. Our whole class benefitted by being able to better understand the workings of the body and how each part related to each other. There is no better way to understand this than seeing it where it used to function.