"The Virtual Eye Clinic"

Past Event Date: 

Meeting room: 

Room 204 - Main Conference Room

Event Type: 

Presenter: Tony Succar, Ph.D.



The Virtual Eye Clinic is an interactive web-based resource on which students can practice formulating a

diagnosis and treatment plan on virtual patients, with special emphasis on history taking and reasoning

skills. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of Virtual Eye Clinic on medical students'



A randomised controlled trial (RCT) was conducted with medical students from the University of Sydney

(n=188) who were randomly assigned into either an experimental (n=93) or a control group (n=95).

A pre- and post-test and student satisfaction questionnaire were administered. Twelve months later

a follow-up test was conducted to determine the long-term retention rate of graduates.


There was a statistically significant (P<0.001) within-subject improvement pre- to post rotation in

the number of correctly answered questions for both the control and experimental groups (mean

improvement for control 10%, 95% CI 1.3-2.6, and for experimental 17.5%, 95% CI 3.0-4.0).

The improvement was significantly greater in the experimental group (mean difference in improvement

between groups 7.5%, 95% CI 0.8-2.3, P<0.001). At 12 months follow-up testing, the experimental

group scored on average 8% (95%CI 0.4 to 2.7, P=0.007) higher than the controls.


On the basis of a statistically significant improvement in academic performance and highly positive

student feedback, the implementation of the Virtual Eye Clinic may provide a means to address

educational challenges in ophthalmology.