Brawley Clinic opens to optometry student doctor internships



                BRAWLEY – Brawley optometrist Dr. Donald Barniske has been appointed a clinical assistant professor for the Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry, which allows him to serve as a clinical preceptor for 4th year optometry student doctors who are required to complete internships in optometry practices throughout the nation.

                Dr. Barniske now oversees interns who rotate through three-month internships at the Vision Care Center of Southeastern California at 260 Main St. in Brawley.

                “It is an honor to participate in the program and to help develop the skills of optometrists of the future,” Dr. Barniske said. “The program also provides a chance to introduce the student doctors to the opportunities of a rural practice, something many of them would otherwise never have considered.”

                Western University of Health Sciences, College of Optometry in Pomona is one of the newest optometry schools in the nation. The current 4th year class will be the first to graduate from the college.

                Hoa Tran, an optometry student doctor from Los Angeles, completed her clinical rotation at the   Vision Care Center this fall.

                “Working with patients in a busy, fulltime professional practice was a great experience,” Tran said. “The staff was very helpful and the patients were really appreciative. I liked being in a small town and getting to know people, both as patients and as people in the community.”    

                She is now doing an internship Kansas. Student doctor Abby Hsu is now working at Vision Care Center in Brawley.

                Dr. Barniske said, “I am impressed with the progressive academic and clinical program Western offers.”

                 Western College was enthusiastic about including Dr. Barniske and the Vision Care Center of Southeastern California in its internship program because the center features some of the latest technology and offers patients a number of specialized services.

                Dr. Elizabeth Hoppe, dean of the Western University College of Optometry, said Dr. Barniske’s appointment to the faculty position “recognizes your outstanding professional accomplishments (and) reflects our confidence that your academic and clinical abilities will serve to enhance the University’s excellent program.”


                A graduate of the Southern California College of Optometry, Dr. Barniske is a fellow in the College of Syntonic Optometry (CSO), which focuses on phototherapy. He is certified to diagnose and treat eye diseases including glaucoma and other conditions of visual system. His practice also offers vision therapy and diagnoses and treats patients with dyslexia. He also works with patients with low vision.

                Dr. Barniske is past president and current board member of the College of Syntonic Optometry. He is past president and current board member of the Imperial County Optometric Society, a board member of the International Light Association based in Brussels, Belgium and is a member of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.