Academics

Faculty of Medical Technology
Department of Orthoptics and Visual Sciences

Objectives

The Department of Orthoptics and Visual Sciences aims to produce medical technicians with the national qualification of orthoptists, and the qualification of accompanying support workers (visual disorder) as stipulated by an Ordinance of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

More than 80% of information from the external world is taken in visually. Orthoptists help to preserve this sense of vision, and play a major role in assisting to improve the QOL of people. Ophthalmologists rely on accurate tests and training data from orthoptists in order to provide proper diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, orthoptists are essential in the field of ophthalmology.

High-quality and safe medical care is being demanded in medical practices these days. As such, it has become necessary to carry out team-based medical care comprising of medical workers with advanced knowledge, techniques and a highly ethical viewpoint. This department cultivates orthoptists that can adequately respond to the arrival of an aging society and an increase in composite illnesses with visual disorders resulting from changes in the structure of diseases.


Fig. 1. Ratio of sensory function used for the information acquisition of the external world

Characteristics of the curriculum


Fig. 2. training in small-groups

Setting up courses for acquiring the qualification of accompanying support worker (visual disorder)

We are designing courses for acquiring the qualification of the accompanying support worker, who is able to understand patients with visual disorders and subsequently provide advanced support and considerate care to those in need.

Conducting on-campus practical training in small-groups

Starting from the first year, this department incorporates practical training in small groups to enable students to develop sophisticated skills in ophthalmologic examination techniques, and also to foster research skills for investigating issues, logical thinking skills, and the ability to apply acquired knowledge.

Phased clinical internship program

A phased clinical internship program is offered from the second year to facilitate improved skills in clinical practice.

Hands-on experience in the team approach of other vocations

This department incorporates off-campus practical training for students to acquire communication skills for a broad age group, spanning from infants to the elderly. Students have the opportunity to experience firsthand the team approach of other vocations through assisting in ophthalmologic examinations at child-care centers, and training at welfare facilities for the aged and special support education schools for the blind.

Research work on topics that reflect needs of society

The students of this department are required to complete graduation research work on a theme aligned with the needs of society. This will enable them to consolidate acquired knowledge and techniques and raise their level of expertise in visual functions, as well as develop a new sense of inquisitiveness.

Well-developed measures for passing the national examination

In order to reconfirm the attainment level of the students' study so far and facilitate the further establishment of Orthoptics and Visual Science, we have set up courses in the third and fourth years for passing the national examination for orthoptists.

Qualifications and careers


Fig. 3. measurement of intra-ocular pressure


Fig. 4. ophthalmology medical examination of the child

Qualifications we aim for:

National qualification for orthoptists, and qualification of the accompanying support workers (visual disorder) Article 5, paragraph (12) of the Services and Supports for Persons with Disabilities Act

The main duties of orthoptists are as follows:

  • Performance of various ophthalmic tests for general purpose; corrected visual acuity test, measurement of intra-ocular pressure, visual field assessment, imaging test, etc.
  • Performance of investigative tests of amblyopia and strabismus for adults and children (Most children eventually recover from amblyopia by around ages 8-10 if they can receive the benefit of patches and corrective glasses.)
  • Performance of screening tests and health examinations
  • In late years when their social needs increase, to aid patients with weakening vision on the use of magnificatory amblyoscopes and other strategies

This department aims to prepare students for taking the national orthoptist examination and to acquire the qualification as an accompanying support worker (visual disorder). Due to the small number of orthoptists nationwide and the subsequent overwhelming shortage, we expect, as the only orthoptist training college on the Japan Sea side, a large number of applicants for this department. We anticipate that the students, who are trained in our original curriculum, will work as orthoptists in a wide range of fields such as hospitals, other medical institutions, ophthalmology research institutes, health care and examination centers, and special support education schools for the blind.

The Department of Orthoptics and Visual Sciences is equipped with the latest and efficient on-campus facilities for practical learning and exercises, including spacious and separate laboratories for each test item. The computerization of medical records is progressing in current medical practice, as is the development of ophthalmology-related software programs.

The mainstream in ophthalmology these days, which is a field with large volumes of image data, is a system that uses image filing to uniformly manage or control test results collected from various instruments. The laboratories in this course also feature the image filing system used in clinical practice nowadays. Students in this course use an iPad to browse and edit data, as well as input test results. This gives them the opportunity to learn and reflects on current clinical practices through practical training. We have prepared a well-organized and effective learning environment where students are trained in methods for managing data gathered from various ophthalmologic instruments and then explaining them.


Fig. 5. image filing system

International activities

Students of this department are taken along with the teaching staff to participate in overseas academic conferences on visual functions and disorders. We are also conducting joint research with the University of Tübingen, the Institute for Ophthalmic Research, in Germany, and are planning a study tour for students to this university. In the future, these activities will be developed as programs to be offered by this department. Therefore, if we provide such opportunities for our students to acquire knowledge of the present situation in ophthalmology abroad, they will be extremely useful for their graduation research work.