TIPS BEFORE MY ROTATION
Made by a medical student, for medical students*
Download the Clinical Kit on your phone
Watch the videos before your rotations
The Clinical Kit is composed of a guide with labelled diagrams of the slit lamp, tonopen and ophthalmoscope with clear step-by-step instructions on how to easily use these fundamental ophthalmic instruments! As well, you will find a standard ophthalmology template that you can use anywhere. You will benefit from this kit in your future practice, specially in the ER!
Use our instructional videos on how to perform the key steps of the ophthalmic exam. They are made by our dedicated team, adapted to your specific level and they will give you a great introduction before the start of your rotation. These videos can be accessed anywhere on the fly through your phone or during any other clinical rotation.
Practice, practice, practice as much as you can
One of the notable aspects of Ophthalmology is that it merges cutting edge technology with various novel instrumentation. At the beginning as a student, it can be quite overwhelming to have access to all of the ophthalmic tools while not being familiar with any of them. The key is to take the time to practice all of the equipment and challenge yourself everyday. There is no magic trick; everything comes with practice and patience.
Focus on what will be useful for you!
The goal of this rotation is not to become an expert in Ophthalmology nor to master all slit-lamp skills overnight. It takes months to years of practice. Even if you are not particularly interested in eyeballs, as a physician you will still have to take care of patients with various ocular conditions. Therefore, you should focus on the skills that you may have to use in the ER, during your pediatric rotation or in a family medicine practice. We suggest to first focus on the use of the tonopen, direct ophthalmoscope, and to learn the basic functions of the slit-lamp.
The 40 seconds rule.
Don't discourage yourself when you cannot perform a specific task or see a specific structure on the slit-lamp. The most important is to go through every step of the ophthalmic exam with each patient & allow yourself 40 seconds to try a specific task before moving on to the next step. In the end, it will ultimately reduce your frustration and will make the exam more comfortable for the patient.
Draw what you see.
Ophthalmology is indeed very visual and the beauty of the speciality is that you can directly see active pathology in real-time that you will eventually be treating. The more time you take to learn and perfect your biomicroscope skills equals the better chance you have at picking up subtle details and more accurately depicting ocular pathologies on paper. In your notes, don't be afraid to simply try drawing what you see. If you are not comfortable or not sure how to draw a specific pathology, make your drawing on a separate sheet of paper and discuss it with the resident or the staff before completing your note.
Watch the steps of a cataract surgery the day before the OR.
One of the videos included in this platform is a step-by-step explanation of routine cataract microsurgery. Like any other surgical rotation, it is always good to familiarize yourself with different steps of a procedure beforehand, so that you are more aware of what’s going on during the OR.
Shadow the nurses, technicians & orthoptists
Allied health care professionals are great resources that love to help students. They will spend more time teaching you and are more than happy to show you special tests that they routinely use in the eye clinic including different imaging modalities specific to Ophthalmology.
Ask more questions
Don't be shy, the role of a medical student is to learn and ask questions. It is the best way to make sure that you understand what is going on and to engage your supervisor in showing that you're interested in developing your knowledge and learning the material properly. No question is a wrong question so ask away!
It might be intimidating at first but Ophthalmology is an amazing speciality! You can actually see individual, microscopic blood cells circulating in the blood vessels, directly visualize active pathology with a Biomicroscope and use a diverse range of state of the art instruments. Did you know that Ophthalmology was the first surgical speciality to do a human transplant with the cornea transplant? Pretty cool eh... The most important, like any other rotation, is to learn as much as possible and to have fun doing it at the same time! At the end of your rotation, strabismus will be your business...guaranteed !