Meet Iris - the new head at Anglia Ruskin University!

Published: 7 March 2011 at 13:32

Optometry students are benefiting from exciting new teaching aid

Anglia Ruskin University’s Vision and Hearing Sciences department have unveiled a new member of staff to help optometry students develop their skills.

Nicknamed “Iris” by the department, the model head has been designed and built by Anglia Ruskin technician Tino Ficarra – and she is already proving to be a hit with students.

Optometry students are required to be clinically competent in a number of techniques and procedures. However, learning these techniques can take a while for those in the early stages of their training and, understandably, patients are not always willing to sit for long periods having bright lights shone into their eyes.

And that’s where Iris comes in. Her head can be mounted on a custom frame for retinoscopy and direct ophthalmoscopy examinations, and positioned on a slit lamp for indirect ophthalmoscopy work.  

Iris features real lenses in her eyes, which are connected to removable metal tubes. This allows the teaching staff to place images at the end of the tubes, and both the length of tube and the images can be changed to simulate different optical disorders.

Tino explained:

  “Iris is a really useful tool for students, who can be asked to identify different images that have been placed in her eye. This could be letters, symbols or anything else we wish to use.

“When the student is happy they have correctly identified the image, they can remove the tube to see if they are right. The length of the tube can also be changed to study retinoscopy, which is a technique to measure the refractive condition of the eyes.”

Dr John Siderov, Head of Vision and Hearing Sciences believes Iris will prove to be a valuable teaching aid for his department. He said:

“We are always on the lookout for new methods to improve teaching and learning in our department and Iris will give our entry-level optometry students a better opportunity to develop their introductory skills in direct and indirect ophthalmoscopy, and retinoscopy in the absence of a real patient.”