OPT025: Medical Retina

This course aims to enable optometrists to refresh and enhance their knowledge and clinical skills in the area of medical retina.

The aim of the course is to provide community and hospital based optometrists with knowledge of common medical retina conditions and includes topics covering screening, referral and treatment pathways, with an emphasis on optical coherence tomography (OCT) interpretation and diabetic retinopathy grading.

It aims to enable practitioners to make accurate and appropriate referral decisions for patients with medical retina conditions and prepares optometrists to commence working under supervision in medical retina, new patient triage clinics and AMD treatment-retreatment clinics.

This module is accredited by the College of Optometrists for the College's Professional Certificate in Medical Retina.

Start dateDurationCreditsPrerequisitesModule tutorsModule code
September 2018Two academic terms20 credits

CET points available 
NoneBen Phipps
Aisling O'Donovan
Kate Powell
Rachel North

Following completion of the programme an optometrist, orthoptist or ophthalmic nurse should be able to demonstrate:

  • a detailed knowledge of the anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology of the retina, with emphasis on the macula
  • an understanding of the risk factors and differential diagnosis of disorders of retinal and macular pathology
  • an understanding of treatments of medical retina disorders including the patient's response to treatment
  • an ability to communicate effectively with patients
  • an understanding of how to image the eye for detection of diabetic retinopathy and other retinal conditions in accordance with relevant protocols including those applied to national screening programmes
  • an ability to interpret OCT images and fundus photographs for AMD and diabetic retinopathy, with appropriate patient management
  • an awareness of the use of fluorescein, ICG angiography and autofluorescence in medical retina service delivery
  • an understanding of the principles, processes and protocols of national diabetic retinopathy screening programmes
  • an understanding of diabetes and its relevance to retinopathy screening
  • an ability to detect and classify diabetic retinal disease
  • an ability to recognise acute retinal pathology, conduct appropriate tests and make appropriate referrals, clearly stating the level of urgency
  • an awareness of current national referral guidelines and detailed knowledge of local referral pathways for patients with medical retina disorders
  • an awareness of the rapidly evolving nature of medical retina treatments including pertinent treatment trials
  • an understanding of current guidelines for management of medical retina disorders.

    This module is taught via 15 lectures (PowerPoint with audio), delivered via Learning Central, the University's virtual learning environment, with supporting resources and references supplied.

    Students will also attend for tutorials and complementary workshops, over four days (two consecutive days in January and two consecutive days in June).The workshops enable students to hone their clinical assessment techniques with patients, and the tutorials enable guided discussion of typical case presentations from optometric practice.

    Online Examination (20%)

    There is a Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) examination that will assess comprehension and application across the entire syllabus which students will take at the end of the module for final assessment.

    Online Coursework (30% combined)

    Key Feature Scenarios: The learner must work through each case by answering 4 sets of questions. Each question will have 4 possible answers (multiple choice), and at each question stage, more will be revealed about the case. This will be worth 15% of the final mark.

    Management Case Decisions: The learner will be asked to make decisions about retinopathy grade and management including possible treatment. For the conditions other than diabetic retinopathy you will be asked to make decisions on diagnosis, differential diagnosis, treatment and management. This assessment will be worth 15% of the final mark.

    Practical Assessment (30%)

    The learner will be assessed on practical skills under exam conditions using Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE station exams). There are 10 stations, each lasting 5 minutes.

    Written Coursework (20%)

    Assignment 1: The learner will be required to write a 1,500 word essay on treatment, worth 10% of their final mark.

    Assignment 2: The second written assignment will require the learner to write a case based assignment (1,500 words), also worth 10% of their final mark.

    • Anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology of the retina
    • Risk factors, differential diagnosis and pathogenesis of retinal and macular pathology
    • Current treatments of medical retina disorders including the patient's response to treatment and pertinent treatment trials
    • Communication with patients
    • Imaging the eye for detection of diabetic retinopathy
    • OCT imaging and fundus photography
    • Fluorescein angiography, ICG angiography and autofluorescence
    • National diabetic retinopathy screening programmes
    • Diabetes and relevance to retinopathy screening
    • Detecting and classifying diabetic retinal disease
    • Acute macular and retinal pathology detection and management
    • Current national referral guidelines and local referral pathways
    • Current treatments of medical retina disorders and pertinent treatment trials
    • Current guidelines including Royal College of Ophthalmologists clinical guidelines and NICE guidelines

    Academic skills

    • Collate information from a number of resources to improve learning
    • Advancing own knowledge and understanding to higher level

    Subject specific skills

    • The enhancement of clinical examination techniques
    • To develop practical skills to assess and manage people with acute eye problems
    • Appropriate referral pathways for acute eye problems

    Generic skills

    • Time management
    • Working independently
    • Problem solving
    • Communication skills