Posterior segment course helps prepare ODs

March 9, 2012

The U.S. population is rapidly aging and increasingly prone to age-related eye disease. Diabetes continues to be reported at epidemic levels.

As a result, retinal conditions are growing sources of concern in American health care, notes Mark Dunbar, O.D., the lecturer for AOA EyeLearn’s™ new Posterior Segment online continuing education course.

“As an important part of the nation’s primary health care system, optometrists increasingly must be prepared to accurately diagnose and help manage age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and a host of additional conditions related to the retina,” said Dr. Dunbar, the director of Optometric Services and Optometry Residency Supervisor at Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.

The EyeLearn™ Posterior Segment course is designed to provide optometrists with a quick but comprehensive review of the basic information they need regarding conditions at the rear of the eye.

Like EyeLearn’s™ other online offerings, the Posterior Segment course was developed, in part, to provide a helpful refresher on retinal conditions and related eye health problems for optometrists who are preparing to take American Board of Optometry (ABO) board certification examinations.

However, the course is also intended to help optometrists prepare for anticipated growth in the volume of patients seen with retinal conditions.

“As health care professionals who want to provide a full scope of diagnostic and treatment services for patients, and as practice managers who understand that care for posterior segment conditions can represent an important source of revenue for a practice, most optometrists will find periodic review and updating of their knowledge base regarding posterior segment conditions to be beneficial,” Dr. Dunbar suggested.

With a “four-star” user rating, the EyeLearn™ Posterior Segment course offers a concise review of the four major categories of macular conditions, with helpful pointers on diagnosis and care, all in under four hours, Dr. Dunbar said.

Differential diagnosis of macular disease – as well as the basic treatment and management options – are covered in the course’s one-hour opening segment.

A half-hour discussion of hereditary retinal disease follows.

The course’s hour-long segment on retinal vascular disease covers both conditions related and unrelated to diabetes.

A final hour-and-a-half segment on central artery occlusion may prove particularly beneficial as practitioners will likely begin seeing a greater number of elderly patients with arterial problems in the coming years, Dr. Dunbar said.

Like all EyeLearn™ courses, the Posterior Segment course is presented in a series of interactive learning modules that allow practitioners to log on and access the learning materials whenever they are ready. 

The electronic format allows them to pause at any point and return to the course later.

They can immediately repeat a unit if they do not adequately understand the material covered.

Each unit comes with one or more self-assessment quizzes that appear periodically.

Course handouts are provided on the EyeLearn™ website.

Course takers can even follow the speaker word-for-word using course transcripts that are also provided on the site. 

In addition to interactive learning modules, practitioners can easily access supplemental resources such as AOA Optometric Clinical Practice Guidelines and articles from Optometry: Journal of the AOA as well as a range of pre-recorded audio or video lectures.

A Continuing Education (CE) Finder feature allows optometrists to find appropriate classroom continuing education programs on the posterior segment and related subjects, offered by state optometric associations, regional optometric organizations, and the AOA.

The EyeLearn™ online education portal is an exclusive AOA member benefit. AOA members can take courses and access materials free of charge. 

The optometric education portal can be accessed at www.aoa.org/eyelearn.

EyeLearn™ posterior segment review course

User rating: 4 Stars

Part 1- Assessment and Differential Diagnosis of Macular Disease/Treatment and Management Options for Macular Disease (66 minutes.)

Part 2- Assessment & Differential Diagnosis of Hereditary Retinal Disease (26 minutes)

Part 3- Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment of Retinal Vascular Disease (57 minutes.)

Part 4- Assessment, Differential Diagnosis and Treatment of Central Retinal Artery Occlusion (81 minutes.)

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