I had my Ocular Therapeutics module 1 exam on Friday. I’d read over the articles, looked though the notes, studied the anterior eye section of Kanski and had a quick flick through my trusty BNF in preparation.  On Friday, though, I didn’t feel very well prepared at all.  In fact, I e-mailed the course head to ask him about resits, which pretty much summarises how much confidence I had walking in the door.  The e-mail I received back was very nice and ended with “But I’m sure this won’t be needed”, which was a nice way of him saying “Calm down, Michelle.”

In the end, the exam was not too bad.  There was the inevitable comparing of answers immediately afterwards and I was kicking myself over a couple of the answers I didn’t get.

The next day, it was straight into module 2, which was focused more on glaucoma.  We learned about the new SIGN guidelines (at the start, I was a little mystified by them but, after having it explained by a wonderful hospital optom specialising in glaucoma, suddenly it all made sense) and did a bit of gonioscopy.  We took it in turns to sit as a patient and I left with an extremely sore left eye.  I’d also forgotten how much proxymetacaine stings.

On Sunday, we had some lectures on glaucoma and OCT then a few workshops, giving us hands on experience of grading discs with the new system, pachymetry and OCT as well as a session looking at glaucoma related case studies.

If you are coming to the end of your pre-reg, you are probably exhausted with studying (and, if you are sitting the OSCEs next month, the last thing on your mind will be a further qualification) but I would encourage everyone to undertake the IP course.  Although you can only qualify as IP after practising for 2 years, you can always start in your first year as an optom and, by the time you’ve been through the course and done the 12 days of hospital placements, you’ll find yourself at the 2 year mark.  If you are Scottish, NHS Education Scotland will cover the course fees so you will be able to gain the qualification for free.  The best time for you to do it is when you are still fresh from studying.

I’ve learned lots of things that I’m using in practice already as well as brushing up on things I last tried at uni (we don’t do gonio or pachymetry in my store).