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An Academic Educational Program for Providing Eye Care to Older Individuals

DOI: 10.4236/ce.2016.76083, PP. 807-813

Keywords: Dementia, Education, Geriatrics, Geriatric Optometry, Long-Term Care Facilities, Optometry

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Abstract:

The literature indicates that the prevalence of oculovisual problems increases with age and that it is higher in older individuals residing in long-term care facilities (LTCF) compared to those living in the community. It further indicates that eye care services in LTCF are sub-optimal. The objective of this article is to describe the university-based educational program we have developed and implemented to train optometry students in the eye care of older individuals, including those among the most vulnerable, i.e. those residing in LTCF. Our two university-based institutions, the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal and the école d’Optométrie de l’Université de Montréal, collaborated to implement this program. The program has three main components: formal didactic courses, clinical rotations and in situ clinical research. It allows the students to learn how to adapt their clinical interventions to a variety of older patients, taking into account their specific needs, potential complex health conditions, behavior, socio-economic and socio-cultural context, as well as their capacity to understand and collaborate to the oculovisual exam. The program further follows recommendations by leaders in public health, geriatrics and optometry in offering a discipline-specific program in geriatrics.

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