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Editor dreams of optometry

Mar 15 • Olivia Burger, Opinion • 635

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The first thing I remember wanting to be when I grew up was a ballerina. How typical.
Although I did steal the show at my debut dance recital as the most outgoing and cutest miniature mouse, I quickly learned that my chances of becoming a professional ballerina weren’t very good.
After my ballerina pipe dream died out I turned to the most practical thing I could think of – a gym teacher.
I don’t know where or why I got this notion that I should be an elementary school gym teacher but it’s quite comical considering I’ve never been much of an athlete nor am I even slightly coordinated at 90 percent of gym class sports.
Somewhere along the way I ditched the gym class dreams and transitioned to wanting to become a vet.
When we had to put my beloved dog down in third grade I think I gave up on the veterinarian lifestyle because they suddenly seemed evil for killing all the wonderful animals in the world.
I don’t really remember at what age I decided that I wanted to do something in the medical field, but I knew that the sciences were interesting to me and something I really excelled in.
In seventh grade when I was forced to do a project in which I had to map out my entire life, I included in my PowerPoint that I was going to do a 3+4 Accelerated Program in Optometry through Gannon University and Salus University, located in Philadelphia.
To this day my plan and path to become an eye doctor haven’t changed, although my mindset about the profession has evolved drastically.
What I didn’t understand in seventh grade was that optometry is much more than giving out glasses and contact lenses. It’s not just a mindless circuit of saying, “One…or two?” all day.
While improving vision is a key factor of the profession, the field focuses on larger health issues like diagnosis, treatment and management of numerous diseases.
As an eye care professional I will play an important part in improving someone’s overall vision health and overall quality of life, which is the basic goal of any health profession.
Whether it would be helping a man return to work after cataract surgery, or prescribing glasses to a baby so that he/she is able to see the world clearly for the first time, any small thing I could do to improve someone’s eyesight could make a world of a difference in their day-to-day life.
I think that vision is a gift we take for granted, and sight is the most beautiful sense we experience on a daily basis.
While my passion for the field has grown since I made that PowerPoint in seventh grade, one thing still remains the same in my mind – eyeballs are cool.
It is absolutely amazing how our bodies are able to process, react and learn through our eyesight and I cannot wait to learn about the beauty of the human eye in graduate school.
The eyes are the windows to the soul and the way in which we see to experience and live life. With a stressful year ahead of me including admission exams, applications and interviews, I know that all my hard work will pay off in the end and I look forward to pursuing this passion in eye care.

OLIVIA BURGER

burger028@knights.gannon.edu

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