Coming Soon: Virtual Reality Simulation Lab

Today’s technology provides new ways to significantly enhance a student’s ability in ophthalmoscopy before they begin to examine patients. Salus University is creating a simulation lab adjacent to the new optometric clinical skills lab featuring state-of-the-art virtual reality technology that provides a powerful training tool for both indirect and direct ophthalmoscopy.
 
The simulation lab will include 10 stations; eight stations to train students in indirect and two stations for training in direct ophthalmoscopy. The simulator provides a highly realistic, three-dimensional experience of retinal examinations as well as affording an opportunity to learn how to properly handle the ophthalmoscope. Second year Pennsylvania College of Optometry student, Bradford Hearn, stated, “The first few times learning to use a BIO [binocular indirect ophthalmoscope] can be real difficult. This virtual simulator can really lower the learning curve for future students”
With a dynamic exam environment where the patient appears realistic and reacts to light, students learn through a truly immersive training experience. The simulator is able to provide immediate feedback on their performance allowing for an objective, competency-based assessment. Having a way to practice, even when a patient is not there to sit for you will be a big help. “I think it is an awesome learning resource,” Kelsey Jones ‘19OD said. “It will allow students to have more opportunities to practice and perfect their skills, making them better clinicians in the end.”
 
The technology includes a wide range of simulated clinically relevant cases. All relevant pathologies for retina and vitreous are covered with a multitude of examples. Case descriptions and the clinical records of the virtual patient are also provided by the training system. As a result, students gain verifiable knowledge on both healthy retinas and retinas with common pathologies. Chad Killen ‘19OD discussed how valuable it is to practice on different types of retinas. “As wonderful as tools like viewing pictures of our preceptors’ cases or looking in a teaching mirror can be, I think this technology will be a tremendous asset,” he said. “Students will be able to identify different pathology and conditions through their own eyes so that when they transition into the clinical setting they’ll have practice viewing retinas that are not quite as young and healthy as their classmates.”
 
Combined with the upgraded clinical skills lab, this technology will ensure that the University’s students are superbly prepared to handle all aspects of the patient exam when they reach the clinical setting.

The simulation lab is expected to be completed by August 2017.