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OPT025: Medical Retina

This course will enable optometrists or allied health care professionals 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 clinicians 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 them 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 to provide the Professional Certificate in Medical Retina. In addition, this course has been developed to incorporate all of the competencies required, so that on successful passing of the module, optometrists will have an equivalent qualification to the Level 3 Diploma for Health Screeners (Diabetic Eye).

There are CET points available on completion of applicable elements of the module.

This module runs over one semester.

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

Start dateSeptember and March
DurationOne academic term
Credits20 credits - CET points available
PrerequisitesNone
Module tutorsBen Phipps
Aisling O'Donovan
Kate Powell
Rachel North
Module codeOPT025

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 distance learning lectures and Xertes, delivered via Learning Central, the University’s e-learning system, with supporting resources and references supplied.

    Throughout the course there will be medical retina cases to work through to help you to develop and then test your recognition and then management decisions.

    At each stage you will have Webinars with the Module Leaders to discuss the lectures and cases.

    Alongside the course delivery using e learning, there are 3 days of practical workshops and case discussions in the state of the art teaching clinics at Cardiff University. There you will exam, assess and discuss patients using specialist equipment for retinal imaging.

    Progress is assessed formatively throughout the course with two sets of key feature scenarios and one set of management case scenarios.

    Summative assessment occurs at the end of the semester and comprises:

    Online Examination (60%): There is an online test that will assess comprehension and application across the entire syllabus which students take at the end of the second semester. This will be made up of 20 multiple-choice questions, 10 key feature scenarios and 10 management case Ssenarios.

    For those wishing to obtain the College of Optometrists professional certificate in Medical Retina in addition to passing the module overall there is a requirement to obtain 70% or above for the online examination. 

    Practical assessment (40%): Students will sit an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

    The pass mark for each component is 50%. Students must pass the module overall, and also pass each individual component.

    • 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