A new eye care clinic is open on the campus of The Ohio State University, and the opportunity it presents for students, faculty, and patients matches its state-of-the-art construction.
The College of Optometry’s clinic, at the corner of 11th and Neil avenues, replaces a more than 50-year-old facility. The new setting offers a modern learning experience for students to improve the lives of their patients, said Karla Zadnik, dean of the college.
“You can only do so much in the classroom, so much in simulations, and so much in the lab before, sooner or later, they need to start seeing real patients,” she said. “Our clinic uniquely exists only to educate students. If you wanted to see one of my faculty members, you would not be able to do that without first seeing a student. This is designed from the first moment to be that kind of educational clinic.”
The new clinic occupies the first three floors of the Neil Avenue building. Primary vision care, contact lens care, pediatrics and vision rehabilitation are some of the full spectrum of services offered at the clinic.
The new building includes 56 fully equipped exam rooms and a new retail eyewear gallery with more than 3,000 frames.
Audree Bass, a fourth-year optometry student, said the new clinic offers more space and more efficiency. Faculty, diagnostic equipment and labs are all centrally located, which benefits patient care.
“I’m able to grab all of my tools and put them out on the desk, and I’m able to help the patient efficiently. That really speeds up my exam efficiency,” she said. “Also, the computers are now set in a way where I can face the patient as I’m typing their history or information. So it’s a lot more fluid.”
Efficiency matters for most patients but is particularly important for children, Bass said.
“Getting through the exam quickly really makes it better for the patient, and we’re able to get more accurate data. A lot of disease onset in childhood, like an eye turn or some type of focusing problem, can really affect them later on,” she said. “You really want to have them attentive and engaged so you can evaluate those things early and they can go forward, go to school and be successful.”
For patients, the modern equipment, services and setting may be reason enough to encourage a visit. But Zadnik points out that patients tend to see their optometrists more often than they go in for a general physical. As a result, their eye doctor can catch health problems that extend beyond the eye.
“They say the eye is the window to the soul. I don’t know about that, but the eyes certainly can be the windows to your systemic health. It might be weird to think about an optometrist telling you, for the first time, that there’s an issue with your blood pressure – but that can happen,” she said.
Zadnik said the new clinic also helps Ohio State recruit and retain the best students and faculty.
“If you really are a place with the best students in the country and the best faculty in the country, they deserve a nice house,” she said. “I really think with the best and brightest optometry students in the country, the addition of this facility is going to make us unbeatable.”