Get the skills to care for others

Studying optometry requires mastering the skills needed to diagnose and treat defects or abnormalities of the eyes.

When you study Deakin’s optometry course, you’ll benefit from a global learning experience with a virtual program designed to give you practical insight into how to become an optometrist early in your studies.

A unique experience among optometry courses

As part of your second year while you study optometry at Deakin – and before you step into a practical placement – you’ll get the opportunity to participate in a Virtual Clinical Grand Rounds program.

Run via online video forum in collaboration with Deakin University, the Elite School of Optometry and Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital in Chennai in India, you’ll lead the presentation of real-life cases and treatment of patients from Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital.

‘It’s authentic cases and real optometry patients. It’s run by the students, but it is a collaborative approach with ophthalmologists, optometrists and students from India and Deakin University, where you’ll go through a clinical case together,’ says Deakin Lecturer in Optometry, Amanda Edgar.

And as Edgar explains, the opportunity to experience real optometry cases early in your degree will help you to understand more about how to become an optometrist, and what your career could look like beyond your studies.

‘The program gives you the chance to start thinking about what the role of an optometrist actually is, as well greater context for people who haven't previously had an eye test or been in the professional environment before,’ Edgar says.

Since the program’s inception as an innovative solution to international clinical placements affected by COVID-19, it has evolved to become an integral part of study within Deakin’s Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Optometry course to simulate real-life learning experiences, despite learning from home. It’s the only one of its kind among optometry courses in Australia.

‘Like a lot of other things that we discovered during the COVID pandemic, [the program] has given us a chance to be innovative and develop things that we can use moving forward in our curriculum,’ Edgar says.

‘We haven't done anything like this before in optometry and optometry teaching.’

Learn the skills you need from virtually anywhere

The inclusion of a collaborative virtual learning program means you’ll get real-world experience earlier in your studies, exposure to authentic case studies to motivate your learning, and an opportunity to build your confidence while you develop your professional skillset – all before stepping into a clinical placement.

‘The program really gives you a platform to start to try and put those skills into place before you have to perform it on a patient or in front of a clinical supervisor, and the ability to practice some complex clinical skills without having performance anxiety of doing it first on a patient,’ Edgar says.

And you won’t be alone while you learn. The virtual learning program is structured as a group experience, meaning you’ll be connecting with your peers and learning together.

‘The program is a collaborative session with students, ophthalmologists, optometrists and academics from all three institutions working through a simulated authentic clinical case,’ Amanda explains.

‘When you participate in these placement activities, you’re not alone. It's a very nice introduction to working with a patient clinically while also having the experts around you to discuss what they would do, and put your learning into context.’

And because of the program’s flexible and virtual nature, you’ll be collaborating with your peers and putting your learning into context all from the comfort of your own home.

Study optometry with a vision for the future

Built on strong global partnerships, the virtual program stays true to its collaborative nature meaning you will always be supported by professionals in the field.

And as a unique, one-of-a-kind opportunity among Australian optometry courses, the strength of Deakin’s virtual learning program is only just coming into focus.

‘We’re putting a focus on utilising these skills and developing these initiatives – they've shown a great benefit for the students, and we will keep using them.’

See yourself pursuing a career in optometry? Learn more about Deakin’s Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Optometry