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UR Well Eye Care: a model for medical student ophthalmology education and service in the community

Authors MacLean K, Hindman HB

Received 25 July 2014

Accepted for publication 21 August 2014

Published 27 November 2014 Volume 2014:8 Pages 2397—2401

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S71724

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Kyle MacLean,1 Holly B Hindman2,3

1University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY, USA; 2The Flaum Eye Institute, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA; 3Center for Visual Science, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA

Purpose: To assess medical student ophthalmic educational exposure and service provided through the University of Rochester’s UR Well Eye Care (URWEC) program, a student-run initiative in which medical students provide supervised eye care to an uninsured urban population.
Design: Retrospective chart review.
Subjects: Consecutive patients seen at the student-run URWEC in Rochester, NY, USA between June 2008 and June 2013.
Methods: One hundred and forty-five of 148 charts of consecutive patients seen at URWEC over the 5-year period were identified and reviewed. Data on patient demographics, reason for visit, history, examination, diagnoses, and management were collected into a database.
Main outcome measures: Main outcome measures included reasons for referral, student performance of ophthalmic examination components, ophthalmic diagnoses, and hours of volunteer service rendered.
Results: Patients came from a variety of countries and educational and racial backgrounds. The most common reason for referral to URWEC was diabetic screening eye exams (66/145, 46%). Student volunteers performed the following examination components in 79%–100% of visits under direct supervision of an attending ophthalmologist: visual acuity, pupils, extraocular movements, confrontation visual fields, intraocular pressure, drop administration, slit-lamp examination, and dilated fundoscopic exam. The most common diagnosis other than refractive error was cataract (29/145, 20%). Almost half of patients (66/145, 46%) were diagnosed with potentially vision-threatening conditions. Six hundred and thirty hours of community service were rendered by students and attending ophthalmologists during the 5-year period.
Conclusion: Student-run eye clinics provide a longitudinal setting where students can receive one-on-one training with attending ophthalmologists, attain a broad clinical exposure, and provide a needed service in their communities.

Keywords: medical student education, student-run clinic, student-run eye clinic, volunteer eye clinic, ophthalmology education

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