Albion have sights firmly set on success

Optometry students from Plymouth University have helped local rugby stars to keep their season in focus by conducting free eye examinations.

Third-year students put their clinical skills into practice by treating five players from Plymouth Albion RFC at the University’s Centre for Eye Care Excellence (CEE). The players received the examinations thanks to a partnership with the University, which included a detailed assessment of the health of their eyes and screening for conditions that affect the vision.

The students were supervised by fully qualified optometrists and used the skills they had acquired throughout their course, from finding blind spots in the field of vision to photographing the optic nerve at the back of the eye.

Some of the tests, as is standard for a full examination, took more than an hour and the players were pleased with the thorough nature of the treatment they received.

Dan Collier, Plymouth Albion second-row, said: 

“It's valuable for players to check their eyes out now and then. As for me, I am getting older and want to have the best vision possible playing rugby because if you miss something for a split second you might have missed a chance. The students did many tests on us, first of all asking us to read the smallest text possible, then retrying that same test with different lenses in to see if it helped. Then they shined a light looking for pupil activity, conducted a blind spot test in a dark room and finally took a photo of the back of the eye to see if it was healthy.

“I would just like to say thank you on behalf of Plymouth Albion and the players who had an eye exam, as CEE was a very professional outfit and we were all made to feel very comfortable.”

Professor Paul Artes, Academic Lead of the optometry programme, said: 

“The University has offered optometry as an undergraduate course since 2011, and our course relies greatly on the students putting their clinical skills into practice. It’s invaluable for them to have real-life cases to treat. Optometry is a pioneering clinical degree set up to bring optometry to the South West. From the very first semester, students are introduced to working with patients – be that in community practices, in hospitals or in the University’s eye centre – gaining key knowledge, skills, experience and confidence that they need to succeed as the future of the eye care profession. We’re delighted that Plymouth Albion found the treatments useful and wish them all the very best for the rest of the season.”