Dr Helen Court

Honorary Lecturer

School of Optometry and Vision Sciences

Mae'r cynnwys hwn ar gael yn Saesneg yn unig.

I completed my Optometry degree in Cardiff in 2001 graduating with First Class Honours. I then practised as an Optometrist in private practice from 2001-2004, during which time I was also involved in teaching pre-registration seminars. During 2004 I returned to Cardiff University to study for a PhD, entitled ‘Anxiety and the Optometric Patient’. I was actively involved in both clinical work and teaching during this time. Upon PHD completion, I spent a further year in a post-doctoral position researching the effectiveness of the Welsh Low Vision Service (supported by the Welsh Office of Research and Development). I started my lectureship post in December 2008.

Honours and awards

College of Optometrist prizes for professional qualifying examinations (PQEs)

  • College prize: second highest overall mark in the PQE
  • George Wheatcroft prize: best results in Investigative techniques PQE
  • The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers’ prize: highest marks in Dispensing, Routine and Ocular Disease & Abnormality

Award for Best Presentation at BCOVS (British Congress of Optometry and Vision Sciences conference), Bradford

Nominated for Optician’s Award: “Contribution to CET”

Speaking engagements

May 2009
Evaluating the effectiveness of low vision services in Wales
ARVO, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

March 2009
Patient Anxiety: a problem for contact lens practice?
Swedish Contact Lens Conference, Gothenburg, Sweden

March 2009
Patient Anxiety: a challenge for contact lens practice?
Bausch & Lomb Academy of Vision Care; Loughborough, Manchester, London & Newport, UK

July 2008
Visual Impairment and Falls
Vision 2008, Montreal, Canada

July 2008
Managing anxiety in optometric practice
Independent’s day, Birmingham, UK

June 2007
Anxious Patients - What’s the Problem? REPLAY learning CET lectures

May 2006
Development of the Optometric Anxiety Scale
ARVO, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

April 2006
Anxiety and the contact lens patient
Global Symposium on Vision Correction, Athens

For the last four years I have co-led the ‘Communication Skills’ module for the 2nd years. This is a seminar-style course designed to teach aspects of communication skills required in practice. I have also been responsible to supervising a range of undergraduate clinics including 2nd and 3rd year primary care clinics. Since January 2009 I have taught ‘Colour Vision’ to the 2nd year students and supervised final year dissertation projects. I am currently involved in redesigning the ‘Communication Skills’ teaching, which is now integrated into all three years of the undergraduate degree.

I also participate in the delivery of CET for Optometrists.

My primary research area is investigating the role of communication and patient anxiety in optometric practice. To date, there is almost no other research regarding patient-practitioner communication within optometry. For example, we have no method of quantifying how well optometrists communicate and no evidence about the role of communication style in predicting patient outcomes, such as satisfaction and compliance. This lack of research stands in stark contrast to other areas of primary healthcare where the role of communication is well understood. Therefore, my aim is to produce research which will translate directly into optometric practice and produce direct benefits to patients.

A further area of interest is evaluation of low vision services using patient-centred outcomes, such as quality of life. I have recently been involved in a project evaluating the new community based Welsh Low Vision Service funded by the Wales Office of Research and Development for Health and Social Care.

I also have a keen interest in using Rasch analysis to develop and refine patient-centred outcome measures e.g. patient satisfaction and compliance questionnaires.