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    It’s not easy seeing green


    When I opened it up, I saw 64 crayons but about only 32 different colors and figured it must be a factory error. Oh well, no problem. It was the late 1960s, and back then you could slap on any old color or pattern combination, and you were groovy and good to go.

    But by 1980, alarm bells sounded, and sorta red warning lights flashed when I enrolled in inorganic chemistry. I was convinced that my entire future probably rested on my ability to titrate, so I painstakingly tried to add just enough solution into my Erlenmeyer flask to reach the endpoint’s expected color.

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    With blue endpoints I had no problems, but if the solution was supposed to turn “just pink,” I always ended up in “obviously red.” I blamed it on a long, unlucky string of faulty stopcocks, but my professor shook his head, probably thinking to himself: That guy is never going anywhere near a patient.

    We have a hit!

    It all came to a head in optometry school when what I had always thought of as my very original, quirky take on the color palette was suddenly outed and labeled as “abnormal.” It was color vision lab, and when I couldn’t see those stupid, dot-numbers that were supposedly embedded in all those other stupid dots (I mean, really, come on), my professor exclaimed, “We have a hit!”

    The second floor of the UAB Optometry School building shook from the herd of pathology-starved, second-year optometry students who stampeded into the tiny exam nook to watch me stammer and sweat my way through that way overrated, so-called “test.” In a panic, I just started picking random numbers, like I was filling out a lottery ticket. Some of my classmates shook their heads sadly, while others stifled laughs. I knew I could see colors, so I didn’t understand all the commotion.

    Related: 5 tips to keep your exams on track

    Michael Brown, OD, MHS-CL, FAAO
    Dr. Brown has practiced medical optometry in a comanagement center and with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in ...


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    Optometry Times A/V