Helen Zhang, Jenny Lauschke, Ashish Agar
Purpose: Ophthalmic presentations constitute a sig- niftcant proportion of hospital admissions, yet oph- thalmology teaching for medical students is being reduced. This study aims to evaluate the current state of oph- thalmology education at Australian medical schools. Methods: A national cross-sectional survey of ftnal phase medical students (MSs) across Australia, and Junior Medical Offtcers (JMOs) working in NSW/ACT hospitals in 2017. Data collected include the type and amount of ophthalmology teaching received and self-rated conftdence in ophthalmic skills and knowledge.
Results: Currently 818 surveys have been received (52.8% JMOs, 47.2% MSs), with all AMC- accredited medical schools represented. Amongst both groups, lectures were the most common form of teaching received (74% JMOs, 66.1% MSs), while hospital tutorials were most preferred (44.4% JMOs, 65.7% MSs).
Overall conftdence levels for ophthalmic knowledge were low, with higher levels for topics including diabetic retinopathy and cataract, and lowest levels for orbital cellulitis, with 4.4% of MSs never having heard of it.
Both groups were more conftdent with skills such as testing visual ftelds, acuity and pupils, and less con- ftdent with eyelid eversion and direct ophthalmos- copy. Overall, undergraduate MSs were more conftdent than postgraduate MSs in skills (P<0.05). This difference normalised for JMOs. Both groups believe ophthalmology is important for the general doctor (97.2% JMOs, 95% MSs), and provided a range of constructive comments. Conclusions: Both JMOs and MSs believe oph- thalmology is important for prevocational doctors. However, both groups show low levels of overall conftdence in basic ophthalmic knowledge and skills, including direct ophthalmoscopy. The results from this study will provide valuable insight for future tertiary ophthalmic curriculum improvements.