Clinical Training Fact Sheet
Berkeley Optometry offers a thorough and intensive four-year clinical training program. Students are enrolled in preclinical training laboratories in years 1-2, perform their first primary care exams in the spring semester of year 2, and move on to full-time clinical training and direct patient care during the summer before year 3. On average, each student will have experienced more than 2,500 patient encounters by the time of graduation.
Preclinical Laboratory Training
One measure of the intensity and thoroughness of Berkeley Optometry's clinical training program is the number of hours students spend in lectures and working with each other and their instructors one-on-one in our preclinical laboratories, where they learn the techniques and procedures necessary to 1) conduct a primary care optometric examination, 2) fit contact lenses, 3) diagnose and treat ocular diseases, 4) diagnose and manage sensory motor anomalies of vision, and 5) perform advanced procedures in ocular disease diagnosis. The intensity of just the laboratory portion of this preclinical training is indicated in the table below.
|Year 1||Hours||Year 2||Hours||Year 3||Hours|
|Total Preclinical Laboratory Training Hours = 440|
Clinical Patient Care
At Berkeley Optometry, perhaps no single measure documents the extent of students' clinical training better than the number of patients for whom they provide vision care during the second, third, and fourth years of the professional program. At the Meredith Morgan and Tang Eye Centers on the Berkeley Campus alone, there are more than 75,000 patient visits each year, during which second- and third-year students, fourth-year students who are on internal rotations, and faculty members provide complete vision care. The total number of patients cared for by Berkeley Optometry students is significantly increased as a result of their experiences during the three or four (typically 10-week) external rotations they complete during the fourth year. The numbers of patients cared for by the average Berkeley Optometry student during training are shown below.
|6 complete examinations||Second-year Team Care|
|20 complete examinations||Third-year Summer|
|150 complete examinations||Third-year Fall and Spring Semesters|
|560 patient encounters||Third year|
|2,000 patient encounters||Fourth year|
|44 contact lens fittings + additional external rotation fittings||Third and fourth professional years (performed, on average, by students in Berkeley Optometry's internal clinics). The number of additional fittings each student performs prior to graduation depends upon the nature of the external rotations the student chooses to undertake.|
Samples of Student Testimonials
Sarah Gabrielson, OD
Class of 2012
"The most valuable part of my education at Berkeley Optometry was the time I spent in clinic. Being introduced to patient care during second year was an excellent beginning to my clinical education. Third year allowed me to develop confidence and a clinical knowledge base by working closely with attending clinical faculty and prepared me to flourish in a variety of clinics throughout the country during my fourth year. I am excited to continue learning throughout my residency and am confident my training at Berkeley has given me the tools to be successful in any clinic environment."
Pam Satjawatcharaphong, OD
Class of 2011
"What impressed me about Berkeley Optometry is that you start training to see patients very early in the program. As 2nd-years you work in small groups to see real patients in a non-threatening environment. This allows students to get a sense of what clinic will be like before seeing patients on their own in 3rd-year. In 4th year, I was pleased with the variety of high-quality external rotation options open to me. I was able to customize my rotation schedule to fit my interests and make sure I received the experience and education I wanted. Each year's experiences built on the last, and after graduation I felt prepared to enter the working world."
Patricia Oh, MS, OD
Class of 2010
"Book and class learning are important, but the sheer number and variety of eye exams that I gave in my 3rd and 4th years provided me with the hands-on clinical experience I needed to grow as an optometrist. By the time I graduated, I was ready to practice with confidence, and I estimate that I saw about 2,500 patients."
Erica Volker, OD
Class of 2010
"My clinical experience at Cal was varied, challenging, and enriching. As I start my residency, I am grateful for the variety of patient encounters I already experienced before graduation. After my summer and third-year clinics, I was well-prepared for my fourth-year externships where I further solidified my patient management skills."
Way Yu, OD
Class of 2009
"The amount and variety of clinical exposure we get is amazing. By the time my fourth year ended, I had seen over 2,400 patients, ranging from 3 months old to 97 years old. It gave me the confidence I needed to join a private practice as soon as I graduated."
Sarah Lewis, OD, MS
Class of 2009
"My patients during 3rd and 4th year ranged from toddlers to the elderly, with a wide range of ocular conditions and disease. Of my 2,500 patient encounters, I followed and managed approximately 450 glaucoma patients and glaucoma suspects."
Malena Chu, OD
Class of 2008
"Among my 2,500+ patient encounters during clinical rotations, I completed over 20 specialty contact lens fits (keratoconic, bitoric, multifocals) and worked with 200 low vision and binocular vision patients."
Harry Green, OD, PhD
Class of 2008
"I was amazed at the number of patients I saw during my third and fourth years. The sheer number and breadth of my patient encounters made my transition to outside practice smooth and easy."
Tim Trinh, OD
Class of 2007
"When I was a third-year student, I saw a total of 666 patients during my Summer, Fall and Spring Clinics; by the time, I graduated I had 2,170 patient encounters."
Andrea Yiasemis, OD
Class of 2007
"During my third-year Summer Clinic, I examined 21 patients, and during the Fall and Spring Semesters, I saw another 577, making a total of just under 600 patient encounters for my third year."
Annie Chin, OD
Class of 2006
"As a fourth-year student I had over 2,500 patient encounters in Berkeley Optometry's clinics and on my external rotations."
J. Ryan Zwelling, OD
Class of 2006
"During my fourth year at Berkeley Optometry, I had over 2,300 patient encounters on my internal and external rotations."
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School of Optometry
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