After more than two years of planning and five months of construction, equipment delivery and assembly, the revamped Optometry Clinical Procedures Lab is now open, along with the newly added Virtual Reality Simulation Lab. These two major initiatives aim to keep Salus at the forefront of optometric education delivery, and are part of the University’s five year Strategic Plan and Master Facilities Plan.
The renovated Clinical Procedures Lab features state-of-the-art ophthalmic equipment from a variety of manufacturers. The lab allows students to refine their examination skills and become flexible clinicians who are able to use a variety of equipment, which will be helpful in private or commercial practice upon graduation. The newly renovated 34 bays each include slit lamps with teaching tubes and access to electronic medical records, making the transition to patient care at The Eye Institute, the University’s optometric clinical facility, and in externships fairly seamless. The size and layout of the lab also allows for classes to be taught by multiple instructors. Lessons can include learning a few different skills at once as students rotate in small groups to various stations throughout the room.
The Virtual Reality Simulation Lab features state-of-the-art VRmagic equipment and software for virtual retinal examinations. The lab includes eight stations for indirect ophthalmoscopy and four for direct ophthalmoscopy. Each station is equipped with a touch-screen monitor, a model patient head, and the tools needed for either direct or indirect ophthalmoscopy. The indirect ophthalmoscopy stations also include a wearable headset with a display monitor. The VRmagic software has various modules users can select to test a variety of skills such as properly using an ophthalmoscope, finding shapes on the retina, examining objects found on a retinal map, locating and identifying retinal pathologies, and using a case-study format to examine a model patient. One of the features of the lab that stands out is the capability to have the simulator projected for group learning, further enhancing the students’ understanding of the cases and concepts being reviewed.
University president Dr. Michael H. Mittelman believes the labs will help Salus PCO stand out for students when choosing which optometry school to attend. “At Salus we are committed educating our students to the best of our abilities, which includes providing the latest technology and clinical training available,” he said. “Students are using state-of-the-art equipment to help them perfect the clinical skills needed to be top-quality healthcare providers as they excel in their graduate studies and professional practices.”