Goals, Lectures, Reading Assignments


Goals and Objectives:

Medical students who plan to enter the primary care fields in medicine and surgical specialities will -at the very least - need to master the fundamentals of Ophthalmology . The goal of this elective is to expose medical students to these fundamentals including:

  • the basic eye examination,
  • recognition of common ophthalmic conditions
  • an understanding of the ophthalmic manifestations of selected systemic diseases
  • when to manage and when to refer patients with ophthalmic problems

Upon completion of the elective, the medical student or resident should be able to :

  1. Perform a basic eye exam including obtaining a complete history, visual acuity, testing pupillary function including an understanding of the afferent pupillary defect, external examination, eye movements (using the Hirshberg reflex) and confrontation visual fields.

  2. Know when and how to dilate a patient and examine the fundus using a direct ophthalmoscope.

  3. Become familiar with common eye conditions that the internist, family physician and primary care physician is likely to encounter including the indications for urgent or elective referral.

  4. Demonstrate their knowledge in the following areas:
    • Acute and Chronic vision loss
    • The Red eye
    • Ocular and orbital injuries
    • Amblyopia and strabismus
    • Neuro-ophthalmology
    • Ocular manifestations of systemic diseases
    • Ocular pharmacotherapy and ocular side effects of systemic medications
  5. Complete all assigned online lectures and reading assignments.

Required reading:

Bradford CA. Basic Ophthalmology. American Academy of Ophthalmology 2004 ; Chapters 1-9 A copy is on reserve at the Northport VA medical library and can be borrowed for the elective.



Basic Eye Exam  | handout | video A | video B | reprint |
Red Eye | handout | video | summary table |
Ophthalmic Trauma | handout | video | reprint |
Amblyopia Strabismus| handout | video A | video B |
Systemic Diseases | handout | video part A | video part B |
Slow Vision Loss | handout | video |
Sudden Vision Loss | handout | video |
 Surgical Videos| cataract a | cataract b | Glaucoma filter | Glaucoma valve |

Hieroglyphics of the Eye Exam (P Sibony)
Referral guidelines for the primary care physician (P Sibony, F ElBaba)
Basic Eye Exam


* Note. Lecture videos best viewed on Internet Explorer Browser.



Are you interested in pursuing a residency in Ophthalmology ? read this ......
Lessell S. Advising Medical Students about Ophthalmology Electives and Residencies. J Acad Ophthalmol 2009: vol 2(1), p 19-22.
Greene, M . Selection Criteria for Residency: results of a National Program Directors Survey . Academic Medicine 84:362. 2009
Yousuf S, Jones L. Ophthalmology Residency Match Outcomes 2011. Ophthalmology 2012. 119:642

Last updated by psibony on April 05, 2013

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