Aim: A portable fundus camera could allow the third person to observe the technique essentials of direct ophthalmoscopy from a real time screen. This study was designed to compare the proficiency of teaching direct ophthalmoscopy using a portable camera with conventional way in medical students.
Methods: Medical students of fourth year were invited to participate the study. At baseline, the participants were taught fundoscopy with a conventional direct ophthalmoscope shortly. Then they were randomized to be taught the skill of fundoscopy either with a portable fundus camera or with a conventional direct ophthalmoscope as control for two days. Accuracy tests to match a subject’s fundus with one of the four photographs after examining an undilated eye using a direct ophthalmoscope were performed at baseline and end point. Accuracy test scores and self-reported confidence were compared between the two groups.
Results: A total of 160 students participated the study, with 79 assigned to the intervention group, and 81 to the control group. All the students finished the study. At baseline, there was no difference in accuracy test score between the two groups. After two-day training session, the accuracy score improved in 26/79 (32.9%) students of intervention group versus 15/81 (18.5%) of the control group (p=0.037). At end point, a total of 39/79 (49.4%) students in the intervention groups versus 25/81 (30.9%) in the control group identified the correct fundus photograph (p=0.017). The confidence levels were significantly higher in the intervention group than the control group.
Conclusions: Teaching direct ophthalmoscope using a portable fundus camera is associated with improved accuracy score and elevated confidence level in medical students when compared with conventional method.