Testing times

Optometrist Kevin Wallace shares tips with undergraduates at the AOP’s student conference on refining your sight test time

Kevin Wallace presenting at the AOP student conference

Optometrist and AOP clinical advisor, Kevin Wallace, took to the stage at the AOP student conference last month (26–27 November) to share his tips on efficiently reducing the time it takes to perform a sight test.

The talk, entitled Two hours to 20 minutes, was designed to inform third-year optometry students on how to decrease their sight testing times “without cutting corners,” as they prepare for the pre-reg period. However, Mr Wallace also stressed that it was also not just about increasing speed, but also performing everything that optometrists need to do, both effectively and appropriately.

He highlighted that there are three things undergraduates need to do to improve their sight testing times and these included practise, efficiency and decision-making.

Explaining the importance of practising, Mr Wallace told students: “Repetition is key. You may do things on patients when they didn’t necessarily need a test, but this will allow you to practise your skills rather than doing the test in the most efficient way at first.”

Putting students at ease, he stressed: “A lot of these things are down to practise. You will not be as quick [at the sight test] in a couple of months’ time as you will be in nine months’ time. Just think about the order that you are doing things in and get it down to a nice, neat pattern.”

Focusing on decision-making, he explained: “Doing the test itself is not complicated…It’s about using the information and applying it to make a decision that is the right decision for the patient. That is the difficult bit which is hard to do quickly when you first start testing because you will not have seen enough funny optic nerves, for example, to really know what something means.”