Read about the Academy Experience
08/02/2011: Dissection of the Eye
Posted by Administrator on July 20, 2011 at 5:19 PM EDT
The Better to See You With
In the laboratory, several stations are prepared with tweezers, surgical scissors, small surgical priers, paper cups, sharpie markers, and…pennies. (We couldn't help but wonder how the pennies would work into the dissection of an eye. The answer is that they are used in a simple but instructive test of bifocal vision.) Students are also provided lab coats, safety goggles, and nametags for this lab.
After picking dissection partners, small teams of partners are paired with college level pre-med student instructors who act as guides and resources during the dissection. The laboratory starts with a brief lecture that covers anatomy, structures and functions of the eye. All of the components of the eye are discussed including the iris, pupil, sclera, cornea, lens, retina, the circular muscle, the radial muscle, the intraocular muscle, the optical nerve and more. Students answer questions and diagram all of the anatomy throughout the course of the lecture.
After the brief lecture, student teams throw on latex gloves and choose an eye to dissect. Coming from cows or sheep, students have a choice between a "bigger" eye or a "big" eye. Excited to examine the interior workings and anatomy, students take scissors in hand and remove the outer layer, the aqueous humour, of the sample and expose the lens. Everyone fills with palpable curiosity as the sounds of "ooh's" and "aah's" float throughout the room. There are also several giggles and even the occasional sound of a playful, "Yuck!"
The pre-med instructors flit about amongst their teams and offer pointers on surgical technique and dissection strategy. Students encounter several practical challenges to their critical reasoning, comprehension skills and to their fingers' dexterity as they take apart and catalog their samples. This laboratory is truly awesome and informative.