The Ophthalmic Technician Program at Henry Ford College, located in Dearborn, Michigan, currently has 28 students enrolled. There are two cohorts, the first-year cohort consists of 12 students and there are 16 second-year students.
Eye muscles seem to be one of the most difficult learning areas for our students. Since our students learn better with a hands-on technique a “muscle day” was created. During this class, students used beach balls and wiffle balls, along with markers, stickers, ribbon, double-sided tape, straws and tacky glue to construct an eyeball with eye muscles attached. It was a fun experience and when everyone was done, they were anxious to take their creations home. This was a great learning experience to have students actually use the props to place muscle labels on the beach and wiffle balls, and use bent straws to create the trochlear muscle. While we might think college students are too mature for these types of projects, the excitement in the classroom proved otherwise. There is no doubt this will be repeated in the future.
This semester, our second-year students have had two service learning projects, which were coordinated with our local ophthalmologists under the direction of Dr. Anne Nachazel. In September, the students practiced their skills with history taking, testing visions, checking eye pressures with the Tonopen and dilating patients at Focus Hope. Focus Hope provides services and food to the indigent community in Detroit, MI. We created makeshift examination stations in the Focus Hope food distribution warehouse, where over 100 patients were seen by our students and local ophthalmologists for free eye examinations. Free reading glasses were also given to those patients who needed them, and medical referrals were given to patients who needed further workups.
In October, the second-year students also assisted with eye examinations for the Veterans at the American Legion Post in Oxford, Michigan. The students were able to practice their skills with history taking, testing vision, checking eye pressures with the Tonopen and performing Auto Refraction. Several ophthalmologists were present to perform the ophthalmic examinations. Free reading glasses were dispensed to those who needed them, and medical referrals were given to patients who needed further workups.