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Iain's blog

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

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Bristol Eye hospital visit

One of the final parts of the optometry course at Cardiff is a trip to Bristol eye hospital. Every third year spends 2 1/2 days in Bristol going round the various departments. This is both an exciting and interesting part of the course as it allows you to see a wide range of pathologies and see what happens when you refer a patient to hospital.

When you go to the hospital, you see 5 departments from a range of 6:

  • Outpatients – these are patients who are managed by the hospital but aren’t admitted. This commonly includes diabetics who have been referred from the diabetic screening service, but can also include macular degeneration, uveitis and retinal vein occlusions.
  • Shared care glaucoma – patients who have glaucoma, suspect glaucoma or persistent ocular hypertension are managed at the hospital by outside optometrists. This allows the patients to get the full care of the hospital without tying up too many hospital resources.
  • Optometry and orthoptics – orthoptics is involved with treating patients with binocular vision problems. These are often children but it can also include older patients who have developed a problem with the muscles or nerves round the eye. Optometry is simply refracting patients who have been treated in the hospital, it includes patients who have problems with the anterior eye such as keratoconus.
  • Surgery – relatively straightforward, this includes cataract surgery but also treatment of more severe conditions such as a retinal detachment.
  • Imaging – imaging is widely used in optometry and ophthalmology to locate problems in the blood vessel network or determine which layer of the retina is affected.
  • Casualty – patients here can be self referrals i.e. they’ve got an injury and come straight to A+E or patients who have been seen by an optometrist and sent to hospital for urgent treatment.

The rotation is really useful as it allows you to see the treatment patients go through when you refer them but also a lot of pathology that you don’t normally see in student clinics. Thank you very much to all the staff and patients at Bristol eye hospital for putting up with us.

Now with dissertation done, all lectures and clinics done, it’s time to start revising (boo!).

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