WOPEC recommends flexible learning to optometrists

WOPEC emphasises benefits of its distance-learning courses and practical training in its ‘state-of-the-art clinics’

Optometrist used an OCT

The benefits of flexible part-time learning courses for practitioners are being highlighted by the Wales Optometry Postgraduate Education Centre (WOPEC).

WOPEC at Cardiff University provides short courses for optometrists, as well as postgraduate courses.

“Studying with Cardiff University offers the flexibility of distance learning, with support from experts and practical training in our state-of-the-art clinics,” said Dr Barbara Ryan, Cardiff University’s director of postgraduate-taught programmes and WOPEC co-director.

Dr Ryan, an optometrist, added: “Last year we achieved 100% student satisfaction in the Postgraduate Teaching and Education Survey.”

Practitioners can study one module at a time with WOPEC, or work towards a certificate, diploma or Master of Science degree. Many modules are accredited by the College of Optometrists for higher professional qualifications and most have CET credits.

Locum optometrist Ceri Probert (pictured), completed the clinical teaching module. He works in a medical retina clinic in Powys and is a tutor with WOPEC.

“I train and assess optometrists across Wales for the Eye Health Examinations Wales scheme, and this module provided me with great techniques for teaching and assessing optometrists,” Mr Probert told OT.

He added: “I also found the module useful on a recent Vale for Africa charity trip to Uganda. It actually helped me in my own learning too, as it starts from the very basics of understanding how and why postgraduates learn.

“I found the variety of teaching types used by the module tutors engaging, and the coursework elements were very relevant to my everyday work."

An optometrist at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS trust, Adrian Sexton, completed the Low Vision Advanced module, which is accredited for the College’s Professional Higher Certificate in Low Vision.

“Although the majority of the course is distance learning, the practical sessions at Cardiff, in conjunction with the excellent support via emails and webinars, led to a well-structured and informative course,” he said.

Mr Sexton added: “The experience I have gained in managing stroke patients through Peli prisms, along with awareness and screening for depression within a low vision setting has revamped and improved my low vision assessment."

The deadline for course applications is 6 February, with term starting on 6 March 2017. More information can be found on the Cardiff University website.