The Karabots Junior Fellows Take a Closer Look at Eyes

Image of a Papier Mache Eye model on display at the Mütter Museum

Did you know that many eye disorders show no early warning signs? This is the reason it is important to receive regular eye examinations. This was just one of many important facts students in the fifth cohort of the Karabots Junior Fellows Program learned during a full day of activities devoted to the eye.

Dr. Michael DellaVecchia delivers a presentation on ophthalmology to students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program

For a professional perspective on the eye, they met with Michael DellaVecchia, MD, PhD, FACS, Clinical Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at Jefferson University Hospitals and a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Dr. DellaVecchia shared his years of experience as an ophthalmologist and screened shockingly informative videos of him performing several different eye procedures, including conducting cataract surgery (a procedure where a patient’s lens is replaced by an artificial one) and removing a parasitic worm a patient had the misfortune of bringing home from a humanitarian trip to Africa. He also demonstrated several different types of eye trauma he has encountered from patients over a long career.

Students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program perform simple examinations on each other while wearing goggles that simulate the effects of glaucoma

After meeting with Dr. DellaVecchia, the students got the opportunity to assume the roles of ophthalmologists and eye patients. Trying on a variety of specialized goggles used to simulate the effects of three different conditions–cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration–the students performed simple eye examinations on each other. While one wore a specific pair of goggles, another student tested their distant, focused, and peripheral vision, recording their findings in order to draw conclusions on how these different conditions affect a person’s vision.

Three students in the Karabots Junior Fellows Program dissect cow eyes

The students competed their closer “look” at the eye with a cow eye dissection. Guided by Museum Educator Marcy Engleman, they dissected a cow’s eye to gain a greater understanding of its structure and anatomy. After a long session, they left with a fresh perspective on how our eyes work and the importance of taking care of your eyes.

If you’re an educator or are just looking to learn more about the anatomy and pathology of the eye, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia has two lessons available to you via our online exhibit: Memento Mütter.