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Department Course Descriptions

ORTH 4994 Topics: Optics for Orthoptics (4 credits)

This course introduces principles of physical, geometric and physiologic optics. Physical optics covers concepts of light, in which light is treated as part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and whose properties may be explained by waveforms as well as particles. Topics include wave and particle theory, polarization, interference, fluorescence, and lasers. Geometric optics topics include the behavior of light in various media, ray tracing to examine refraction, reflection, diffraction, dispersion, lenses and mirrors. Additional topics include object-image relationships, magnification, graphical analysis of lenses, spherical and spherocylindrical lenses, optical crosses and astigmatism.

Physiologic optics examines the human eye as an optical system through discussion of image formation, optical relationships of eye structures, accommodation, amplitudes and the effects of aging, refractive errors, astigmatism, prisms, Prentice's Rule, and the basics of retinoscopy and refraction. Special attention is paid to the clinical use of prism in the alleviation of double vision.

In addition, an introduction to contact lenses and spectacles is also included, with discussions of contact lens types, fitting procedures, care and storage procedures, indications for use, complications, patient instruction, spectacle ordering, dispensing and verification techniques. Unique needs of pediatric and diplopic patients will be covered, as well as treatment alternatives available to meet those needs. Trouble-shooting and problem solving techniques will be addressed in relation to patient complaints.

ORTH 4994 Topics: Ocular Motility I (4 credits)

This course introduces the structure and function of the human visual system including the globe, orbit, ocular adnexa, extraocular muscles, conjunctiva, cornea, iris, pupil, angle structures, ciliary body, crystalline lens, vitreous, retina, optic disc, optic nerve, visual pathway and neuro-anatomy. Binocular vision, vision development and abnormalities such as amblyopia, neurologic control of eye movements and abnormalities will be discussed. Students will learn and practice the elements and techniques of a basic sensorimotor evaluation, including evaluation of sensory status and measurement of eye alignment and eye movements.

This course will also include completion of a programmed text in medical terminology. Students will be introduced to the wide range of ophthalmic subspecialties during this course with half-day observational rotations in local clinics practicing each of the wide variety of ophthalmic subspecialties.

ORTH 4994 Topics: Introduction to Ophthalmic and Orthoptic Clinical Skills (4 credits)

This course introduces you to ophthalmology, including the role, duties and responsibilities of the ophthalmic technician and orthoptist. Ethics, professional associations and certification, and patient privacy and confidentiality (HIPAA) will be discussed.

The course is also designed to prepare students for their first clinical rotations. A ten-day intensive session begins this course with instruction and practice, in lab sessions, of all basic clinical examination techniques the students will be expected to perform in their rotations. These include lensometry, taking a patient history, assessment of visual acuity (for all ages), assessment of sensory status (Worth 4-dot, stereo), assessment of color vision, measurement of eye alignment and rotations, visual fields, pupil testing, slit lamp examination, tonometry, retinoscopy and refinement.

ORTH 4994 Topics: Eye Care Pharmacology and Instrument Maintenance/Clinical Rotation I (Practicum) (4 credits)

Students will be expected to pass clinical skills tests on each element prior to beginning the second phase of the course; clinical rotations. Students will be assigned to regional clinical sites where they will practice the skills they have learned in an ophthalmic office setting. The students will continue with a clinical rotation in the next term.

Students will begin their patient logs at this point and will also be starting their clinical journals, which will continue throughout the program.

This course introduces the general principles of ophthalmic pharmacology including drug types, routes of administration, and adverse side effects. Students will be introduced to common ophthalmic drugs such as anesthetic, dilating, anti-inflammatory, anti-infective, glaucoma, decongestants and anti-allergic, dyes and diagnostic medications, artificial tears, contact lens solutions, and surgical adjuncts. This course also introduces basic construction of ophthalmic equipment and common procedures required for proper maintenance. Projects will also include billing and coding principles, office management and supervision of other allied health professionals. Additional topics may be assigned, as needed.

The practicum is designed for students to gain experience working with patients and ophthalmic professionals and ophthalmologists in a clinical setting. Students will be expected to initially observe clinical procedures, to become oriented to each practice, and then begin working directly with patients. The clinical instructor at each site is responsible for observing and providing correction and direction to the student during the day, within guidelines established by the program. Students will keep a journal of their experiences and enter all of the patients they examine or observe into a patient log.

Students will choose two patients to formally present to the rest of the class during the seminar, including in-depth research on the specific eye pathology being discussed, the differential diagnosis for the pathology, treatment options, and prognosis.

ORTH 4994 Topics: Ocular Motility II (4 credits)

This course is a continuation of the topics presented in Ocular Motility I. Specific motility topics will be reviewed and covered in more depth, including neuro-anatomy, sympathetic and parasympathetic pathways, and sensory and motor physiology and pathology. Horizontal, vertical and torsional deviations and diagnostic techniques will be introduced and practiced.

This course introduces pathophysiological conditions of the globe and orbital region, encompassing both the more common conditions as well as some of the more unusual diseases. It also covers topics related to systemic disease that may have ocular and oculomotor involvement, such as thyroid eye disease, myasthenia gravis, diabetes and Parkinson's disease. Congenital ocular and neurologic anomalies affecting the eye will be discussed. Ocular emergencies, ophthalmic triage and appropriate orthoptic responses will be covered.

ORTH 4994 Topics: Ocular Motility III (4 credits)

This course is a continuation of the topics presented in Ocular Motility II. Students will continue to review neuro-anatomy and basic motility measurements. New topics presented include supranuclear control systems for eye movements, paretic and supranuclear strabismus, special forms of strabismus, nystagmus, principles of medical genetics and the non-surgical treatment of sensory and motor abnormalities. Students will concentrate on refining clinical examination techniques and presenting patients to physicians and parents. Ways to discuss treatment plans with patients will be discussed and practiced in the classroom.

Also included is an introduction to ophthalmic surgical procedures such as cataract, strabismus, refractive, and minor office surgical procedures. Special attention will be paid to principles of strabismus surgery to correct the deviations introduced. We will cover basic concepts of sterile field, operating room and minor surgery set-up, gowning and gloving, essential ophthalmic surgical instruments and sets and essential steps in common ophthalmic surgical procedures.

This course also includes a supervised clinical experience component. Class time will be spent discussing student clinical experiences.

ORTH 4994 Topics: Ocular Motility IV On line Seminar (4 credits)

This seminar course is designed to keep students in touch with each other and the instructor during their extended clinical externship. Topics of discussion in this class will be centered on pathology and clinical examination techniques observed during the course of the clinic day. Students will be expected to research the ocular pathology they encounter in the clinic and present their findings to the class using Blackboard or another online discussion board.

Students will prepare a major research paper on a topic chosen with the guidance of the instructor and clinical preceptors. During online discussions, students and faculty will provide input during the development process. This paper will be presented to the orthoptic students and faculty at a final gathering at the end of the semester.
Must be taken concurrently with Clinical Externship III.
This course is designed to meet the fourth writing intensive requirement.

Clinical Externship I (2 credits)

In the summer between the third and fourth years, students are placed in externships, where they can continue to refine their clinical skills. Students will work with certified orthoptists in a clinical setting. They will enter the patients they see into a log book, which records their experiences throughout their time in the program. In addition, students will keep a clinical journal, which will be submitted electronically to the program director on a weekly basis. Students will interact with each other electronically through moderated discussion boards.

Clinical Externship II (4 credits)

This externship is designed to meet the requirements for certification as an orthoptist as established by the American Orthoptic Council. Students will be placed in clinical sites with certified orthoptists and pediatric ophthalmologists, where they will continue to refine their clinical skills. They will function as an integral part of the clinical care team and will be expected to participate in all scheduled clinical activities for their site. They will continue to enter patients into the log and will continue to keep a clinical journal, which will be submitted electronically to the program director for grading on a weekly basis. Students will continue to interact electronically through moderated discussion boards.

Clinical Externship III (6 credits)

This final externship is a continuation of the Clinical Externship II. Students will be placed in a clinical setting, where they will work directly with a certified orthoptist and a pediatric or neuro ophthalmologist. They will continue to enter patients into the log book and keep a clinical journal. Interaction with fellow students will continue to be accomplished through the use of a moderated discussion board.

Final Residency (0 credits)

Upon successful completion of the full didactic portion of the BS with a major in orthoptics, including all liberal arts and major requirements, students must complete a 5-month clinical component, to hone their clinical skills and prepare for professional practice. This residency experience allows students to meet the minimum number of patient examinations, as required by the American Orthoptic Council. The level of supervision and direction from the faculty at St. Catherine University is minimal at this point. Students will log weekly entries into a discussion board, which will be monitored by the orthoptic program director. Practice exam scenarios will be posted for review and discussion by the program director to assist in examination preparation. Students are directly supervised by clinical preceptors, who are certified orthoptists, in pediatric or neuro ophthalmology practices. Students are expected to continue entering patient exams into the student log book, continue the clinical journal and prepare for certification board examinations during this residency experience.