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Inaugural Ophthalmic Laser and Minor Surgical Procedures Course

Written by Meredith Whiteside, OD, FAAO.

This Spring, optometry students were offered The Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science’s inaugural Ophthalmic Laser and Minor Surgical Procedures course.

The purpose of this class is to expand on the current curriculum by providing both didactic and hands-on experience in the most common minor surgical and laser procedures. Topics covered include injections, surgical removal of skin lesions, suturing as well as carrying out laser procedures such as YAG capsulotomy, SLT (Selective laser trabeculoplasty) and PI (peripheral iridotomy). Throughout the course, clinicians learn indications and contraindications to the procedures, the mechanics of performing the procedures as well as perioperative care and addressing complications.

While the law in California currently doesn’t allow optometrists to perform many of the procedures taught in this program, this course aims to arm our clinicians with the knowledge and skills to provide outstanding patient care wherever they practice. Whether it is helping interns be better prepared for their external rotations, preparing interns for a residency in secondary or tertiary care center, or providing the first step towards licensure in a state which permits these procedures, our intention is to give students the opportunity to pursue these career paths.

“200F has provided myself and other students with the unique opportunity to explore optometry’s expanding scope of practice. Each week we have learned about new procedures and clinical skills that are becoming available to ODs in other parts of the country. I look forward to the expanding scope and getting to utilise the skills I have learned here at Berkeley Optometry in 200F.” – Jordan Kennedy, third-year optometry student.

The course is being team-taught by Health Sciences Clinical Faculty Drs. Meredith Whiteside, Angela Shahbazian, and Kuniyoshi Kanai. In addition, nationally recognized experts are providing guest lectures on various topics.