Making our Private Practice Knowledge “Sharp”

One of the great things about UIWRSO is that professors are very involved in the multiple clubs we have at school. They are able to come in and give talks about their personal practices, experiences, or advice for future optometrists. One of the prominent clubs at UIWRSO is our Private Practice Club (PPC). PPC brings in professionals who share their experiences with students on opening practices, what works and what doesn’t. Additional guidance can be found in special events like “Dining with the Doctors” where students have the opportunity to eat at a restaurant with a professor from our school and “pick their brain.” Fortunately, one of our professors, Dr. Richard Sharp, was able to speak to the students of UIWRSO about his private practice, Sharp Eye Consultants, P.A. Dr. Sharp teaches “Diagnosing and Management of Glaucoma” at UIWRSO, and also hosts an externship for fourth year students (which I will be attending—stay tuned for details!).

Sharp Consultants, P.A. is a practice that focuses on those who have ocular or systemic diseases and providing care for those patients. Many patients are those who are referred by their primary care physicians for this specialized care. The practice has an optical to provide these services to patients, as well. Three doctors manage the practice, including Dr. Sharp, Dr. Eddy Contreras, and Dr. Steven Campbell, who are all optometric glaucoma specialists. As I mentioned previously, RSO fourth years have an opportunity to work alongside these skilled doctors during their externships.

Dr. Sharp visited with the students of RSO of how his private practice came to be. He first started talking about when and where it was created and what kind of income the practice generates. Dr. Sharp mentioned that one source of income is a “capitated contract,” which I had no idea what that was. As he put it, you get paid to “take care of a patient month by month” instead of charging per visit. As he explained it more and more, it definitely gave us a better idea about the options available to us once we have our own practices. He also talked about the issues he had opening a practice and what to watch out for. This is the kind of advice you can only get from someone who has experienced set backs; I was very interested in this part because we can avoid these mistakes in the future. He then went on to explain what a day is typically like in his practice: who they see each day, what kind of patients, as well as the billing that comes along with it. Dr. Sharp also offered some tips for us, as future doctors, on how to impress your patients such as taking the extra five minutes to explain their disease because they will appreciate it and come back to your practice. I hope you enjoy a glimpse of his presentation:

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At RSO, we are lucky to have professors who can give us the “keys to success.” I love the fact that our faculty is close to the students and they help us to learn from their mistakes and triumphs. Even though it might be quite sometime before I open my own practice, I will take what I learned from Dr. Sharp’s presentation and apply it when the time comes.

To learn more about Dr. Sharp’s practice, please visit:

Prepping for Boards Part I

After the hardship that optometry students like to call second year, third year seems great! You now have an opportunity to practice your skills on real-life patients in clinic, have a lot less classes and labs, and just overall have more free time. That is, until studying for Boards Part I rolls around! NBEO Part I Boards is very intimidating for a lot of students. It tests most of the information that you learn during your first three years of optometry school! Even though this can be very daunting, UIWRSO aims to help students to better prepare for boards. Continue reading “Prepping for Boards Part I”

LVR Club Celebrates Valentine’s Day

I am a firm believer that students that enroll in an optometry program should also be active outside the classroom. I am lucky enough to be an officer for our school’s Low Vision and Rehabilitation (LVR) club. Every month I send out information about low vision diseases and our role, as optometrists, in treatment and management of the diseases. We also host many events, including trips to the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind, 5k walks, etc. This month, in honor of Low Vision Awareness Month, LVR Club decided to help out our library in making Valentine’s Day Cards for employees of the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind.

At the beginning of the meeting, our club’s president, Candice Jones, explained the upcoming events that LVR will have. This includes (and make sure you watch out for the blogs about these!): Volunteer events such as vision screenings, San Antonio Low Vision Club monthly meetings, Low Vision Expo, as well as “Low Vision with a Twist.” Coordinating events such as these is a great way to network and learn a lot more about optometry, even outside of school. Food for this meeting was graciously donated by one of the RSO faculty, Dr. Matt Valdes.

Then the fun making the Valentine’s Day cards began! Because many of the employees of the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind are visually impaired, students, faculty, and staff used tactile stickers, glitter glue, beads, felt, and dark markers so it is easier for them to read the cards once they receive them. You don’t really know how much you take for granted until you realize little things like this: that people need things like tactile words/stickers in order to “see” what you wrote. It was very humbling.

During the meeting, we were able to make a lot of cards! Our school library is actually keeping the card station open so that all students can get involved whenever they have time. I am excited to hear about these employees opening their cards. I hope that reading something like this will brighten their day, even if it is just a little bit. I am grateful to have the opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life, and I wouldn’t have known about it unless I joined UIWRSO’s LVR Club!

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COVD Residency Skype Session

Deciding on whether or not to do a residency program is a tough decision. Sometimes it’s the thought of not making a full salary right out of school, the time it takes, or even what kind of residency program a student might be interested in. UIWRSO’s COVD (College of Optometrists in Vision Development) Student Chapter held a “Residency Skype Session” for students to explore the questions they might have had about several residency programs. The event was coordinated by Dr. Kara Tison. Continue reading “COVD Residency Skype Session”

Reflections of a First Year Student

Applying and being admitted to optometry school had always been a dream and when I first read the admission acceptance letter, I was overwhelmingly happy, and felt so proud of myself. I made it! I got accepted into my top choice school. Thinking back, that moment was probably the most joyful moment I have ever had. Of course I was excited, but then I started wondering what it would be like in San Antonio, how I could survive in a professional school knowing that it is very challenging and demanding, and how my life had turned to a whole new chapter. With those thoughts in my mind, my feelings of excitement turned to nervousness as I prepared to enter into UIWRSO.
I sit here now thinking how first semester has passed so quickly, though as I reflect on the last few months, I realize one of the more memorable aspects of the first semester was probably orientation. After first arriving, I got to meet the staff and faculty, as well as my future classmates, learn about the history of the school, tour the facility, and many more activities.  Honestly, everything felt pretty overwhelming at first, but the atmosphere the staff and faculty here at UIWRSO created for us was very welcoming and caring, which I greatly appreciated.
If I were asked how would I describe my first day of class?   My answer would be easy, “Constantly getting lost.” I am a first year, after all. This got better throughout the week (and semester), thanks to my classmates who are a lot better at directions than I am. One thing I absolutely love about RSO is how friendly and helpful the people here are. From staff, to faculty, to my classmates, everyone is so nice and is eager to know you and willing to help you to the best of their ability. Throughout the semester, I have found that we all are very supportive of each other and this helps to motivates me to try harder and do my best.  The anxiousness I experienced when I started the program have been replaced by feelings of comfort and reassurance knowing that the faculty, staff, and most importantly my classmates are all very supportive and want to see me succeed.
My experience at RSO has been good so far and I am looking forward to the professional growth along with the memories I will create in the upcoming years.