Sheffield Special Olympics Vision Screening


Wow, what an eye opener!

It was an amazing week. Wasn't sure what I was expecting, but what it was, surpassed my thoughts. The atmosphere was electric, all of the athletes were so bubbly and the room was a buzz. Once you settle any eye 'exam' nerves, their humour & personality comes out and literally, they are hilarious. Some of the sweetest people I've ever met, they take every opportunity coming to them and seem to live life to the full. So inspiring!

Team heading to compete.
Seasoned volunteers, warned us of the serious bling that would soon grace us. By Wednesday the medals were flurrying in! We had athletes strutting in, with their chests puffed out and heads held high. It was so warming to see teams coming back to collect their specs, having been so successful. Some athletes even gave us thank you hugs for helping them with their vision. All the feels!

Their thirst and energy for life, making friends and travelling was so refreshing. Many athletes had been to an Olympic games before, but in different parts of the world! I was so intrigued to find out where they'd been and what sports they played. The range was huge from swimming to equestrian, even boccia!

Vision screening ran in a conveyer belt style, with different aspects of the test taken at different stations. My favourite stations were colour vision and near visions, where we also checked motility (how the eye muscles work). You learn so many different presentations of the CT at uni, but not until you see it do you really understand! Wow, I saw hypotropias, eso and exo tropias/phorias, cyclos, (all different forms of lazy eye) and latent nystagmus (uncontrolled jerky eye movements). Literally, there were so many different types and combinations of deviations! It blew my mind. Of course, because many have binocular vision problems, they didn't have stereopsis either (depth perception) so it was really interesting to detect!

Optometry Today's Coverage (Watch me sign at 3:37! >.<)

We have a special assessment module in 3rd year which I'm really excited for. Being able to engage and communicate with hundreds of special assessment patients in a real-life situation was incredible. Once you find a method of communication, you can really connect, even without speaking! Working with such a diverse team of qualified Optometrist, Dispensing opticians, students and volunteers was amazing, I met so many inspiring athletes and saw a variety of different pathologies and BV patterns.  If you ever get a chance, definitely go volunteer. It widens your experience, skills but also your horizons. 

To the next games in 4 years, can't wait!
Erica.... xo 

Training distance vision station
Check in/Arrivals
Gear our t-shirts were sponsored by the AOP - thank you!
Some of the team.
Meeting the medalists!
Dispensing station
Eyes on you!
They even brought a mini petting zoo!
Enjoying the tortoise.
Tarantula! She's brave.
I kid you not, this tortoise's name is Eric.

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