Thanks to a milestone gift, the University of Waterloo’s (WOVS) FYidoctors Simulation Lab opened in October 2018 as the first virtual reality training of its kind in Canada. At the time, the lab included access to five EyeSi simulation technology stations that enabled students to practice binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy (BIO) techniques.
Installed in early September 2020, WOVS is now thrilled to have EyeSi Slit Lamp simulators, the newest addition to the lab’s slate of state-of-the-art technological tools. This technology will enable students to practice basic handling of the device, and the skills required to conduct a corneal exam, retinal exam, gonioscopy and tonometry. Through multi-tiered training, it promotes pattern recognition for retinal pathologies and provide competency-based assessments. Modules are being developed in rapid succession, and we’re delighted to have received the posterior fundus module in early February 2021.
During the fall term, third and fourth-year students were able to conduct most of their regularly scheduled clinical training, all while adhering to Ontario’s strict public health guidelines. Students supplemented their clinic time by utilizing Slit Lamp simulators and BIOs to further develop technical and diagnostic skills, efficiencies, and confidence.
While simulated training has always been an important part of the School’s curriculum, it has played an extraordinarily important role during the time of COVID-19.
Simulation technology continues to provide students an authentic experience with equipment that reflects the look and feel of the real thing. Students can practice without distraction as much as needed to reach established milestones in a self-paced, modular system.
Thanks to their access to these technological tools, students are coming to clinic more prepared than ever to deliver efficient and quality patient care.
“The virtual reality modules really help us in preparing for the real thing,” says second-year student Janet Tan, who began frequenting the simulation lab in September as a key part of her learning. “Using the slit lamp for the first time can be daunting, so having access to the simulation really helps a lot. It simulates the clinical environment from the technical handling of the device to the ocular anatomy in incredible detail.”
WOVS is exceptionally grateful to FYidoctors for their continued investment in the future generation of optometrists!