Build Your Own Eye: A Method for Teaching Ocular Anatomy and Pathophysiology
Residents and medical students
The eye is a critical, but often neglected, part of medical learning. This team-based learning (TBL) module was developed for emergency medicine residents and medical students; however, is applicable to any learner who should know basic eye anatomy and pathology. Emergency medicine teams, primary care providers, and ophthalmologists are most likely to encounter ocular emergencies.1-3 These emergencies are uncommon but quite dire when they occur and can result in permanent disability and life-changing morbidity.2, 4 It is critical that medical practitioners who are exposed to these types of emergencies are well prepared to evaluate and treat them.
To fully understand how pathology affects the eye, it is critical that learners understand the anatomy and physiology of the eye.5, 6 Many diagnoses are associated with specific parts of ocular anatomy;5, 6 therefore, teaching pathology in an anatomy-based lesson will help learners understand the physiology. This lesson teaches learners about physiology and pathology in a systemic, anatomically oriented way.
By the end of this session the participant will be able to:
- Describe basic anatomy of the eye.
- Build a basic model of the eye.
- Identify which diseases are associated with which parts of the eye.
- Identify the pathophysiology behind diseases of the eye.
- Name correct treatment for each disease.
The “build your own eye” lesson was taught as a classic team-based learning (cTBL) exercise. The modality of TBL with hands-on construction of an eye allow for social learning, competition and spatial learning related to anatomy. The creation of an eye allows residents to fully understand ocular anatomy which is not as evident when a two-dimensional paper image is used. Some learners need tactical stimuli for better understanding. This aspect of the exercise was focused on using alternative modalities to enhance spatial learning. These concepts are reinforced by the GRAT and IRAT portions of the exercise which tend to multiple choice learners. The fill-in the-blank aspect of the exercise requires recall and research to match the three-dimensional eye parts with pathology.
Learners were given the opportunity to complete an anonymous survey. Verbal feedback was also obtained from learners during the lesson. The survey asked learners questions about the effectiveness and value of the exercise, whether the content was applicable to work in the emergency department, whether this exercise should be kept as a part of the curriculum, and whether there was any practice-changing information. Learners enjoyed the competitive aspects of the exercise and also noted that they felt much more comfortable with ocular anatomy and pathology after the lesson.
Learners felt that the ocular team-based learning module was effective in teaching more about the eye in an atypical way. Some learners felt that an explanation in advance of the eye building aspects of the project may have been helpful so they could have brought supplies from home. Other learners felt that they would not have brought supplies from home; thus no explanation was necessary.
Learners seemed to enjoy the experience. The competitive aspects of the TBL, where the eye models were judged for accuracy, creativity, and appearance as well as the correct answers on the worksheet, seemed to enhance learner enjoyment and engagement. Learners felt that enough time was provided for the exercise. While some learners would have preferred an explanation in advance of the project in order to bring supplies from home, others felt that this was not necessary. Educators should determine what would be preferred by their particular learning group for future implementations.
Eye lid, tear duct, cornea, conjunctiva, pupil, iris, lens, anterior chamber, vitreous body, posterior chamber, retina, macula, choroid, optic disc, optic nerve, retinal artery, retinal vein, blepharitis, hordeolum, chalazion, canaliculus, dacryocystitis, corneal abrasion, corneal ulcer, ultraviolet keratitis, herpes keratitis, astigmatism, bacterial conjunctivitis, viral conjunctivitis, episcleritis, globe rupture, iritis, uveitis, anterior uveitis, posterior uveitis, hypopyon, hyphema, acute angle closure glaucoma, congenital pupillary deformity, coloboma, globe rupture, nevus, essential iris atrophy, cataracts, presbyopia, myopia, hyperopia, traumatic iritis, iridocyclitis, ciliary body melanoma, vitreous degeneration, vitreous hemorrhage, endophthalmitis, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, choroid nevus, choroid detachment, papilledema, optic nerve glioma, optic nerve meningioma, anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, retinal artery occlusion, retinal vein occlusion.