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Simulated eye clinic and virtual eye case: alternative worlds for medical students
  1. Michael Andrew Williams,
  2. Catherine Ross,
  3. Sonia Derbyshire,
  4. Stephen Duffy,
  5. Clare Morgan,
  6. Michael O'Gallagher,
  7. James Murray
  1. Centre for Medical Education, Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michael Andrew Williams, Queen's University of Belfast, Centre for Medical Education, Mulhouse Building, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast BT12 6BJ, UK; m.williams{at}

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Ophthalmology teaching in our medical school traditionally consists of a 2-week attachment in third year, but an apparent decline in ophthalmic knowledge and skills following this, has been observed. Two novel teaching interventions were introduced in fifth year. A simulated eye clinic (SEC) was run for all final year students. The SEC consisted of four cubicles with four simulated patients (SPs) playing the role of patients with temporal arteritis; an acute oculomotor nerve palsy; a pituitary tumour and sudden loss of vision in ‘only eye’ in a patient who had just bought a new car. These were chosen as important cases that could present to non-ophthalmic doctors. Students worked in teams of five, had 15 min per station and rotated around all stations. Each of the five students in each team was given a defined role at each station: one called the patient from the waiting room and took a history, one measured the best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), one performed the relevant ophthalmic examination and one made a differential diagnosis, management plan and referral. Referrals were made by students making a phone call answered live by tutors, who sat in another room acting the role of whoever it was that the students had chosen to call. The fifth student was the ‘pseudoexaminer’, who was given a ‘mark sheet’ and asked to comment on her peers' performances at …

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  • This work was presented as a poster at the Association for Medical Education (ASME) Annual Conference, Belfast, July 2016.

  • Twitter Follow Michael Williams at @mwillia14852538

  • Contributors MAW conceived, designed and delivered the simulated eye clinic and virtual eye clinic (VEC), and the associated study. He obtained ethical committee approval and wrote the first draft of the paper. SD and helped design the study and collected data. SD played a major role in collecting data. CM collected and analysed data on the VEC. MO played a major role in collecting data. JM advised on the study and oversaw the running of the study.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval Queen's University School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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