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Learning how to examine the fundus of veterinary patients consistently and well is undeniably difficult, and teaching aids are important to avoid the demotivation of students.1,2 However, the rewards of mastering the technique are equally undeniable. Fundic abnormalities may be present in cases where there is only a narrow window of opportunity for recognition and treatment of conditions that threaten vision (eg, optic neuritis) or even life itself (eg, severe systemic hypertension). Fundoscopy also frequently enables us to distinguish potentially reversible from irreversible pathology, thereby guiding clinical decision making with clients.3,4
The teaching of fundoscopy has taken many routes over the years, and a variety of methods enabling the tutor and student to see the same thing at the same time have been employed. Early methods included the use of teaching prisms on the headpiece of binocular indirect ophthalmoscopes, resulting in the clinical tutor and students swaying gently in unison as the viewing angle was changed.
Improvements in the digital age have been impressive, with video camera attachments to indirect ophthalmoscopy headsets and a variety of digital fundus cameras becoming available, albeit at considerable cost. While these have undeniably increased the understanding students have of fundoscopic anatomy, as well as providing superlative images for clinical records in referral practice, they are not realistically affordable for general practice and can be time consuming to use when patient compliance is poor.
In more recent years, a variety of lightweight handheld fundus cameras aimed at the veterinary market have been produced, designed with simplicity of use in mind. Those that permit video recording and simultaneous viewing on a laptop facilitate student interaction, and one such camera – the epiCam V – is in regular use at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh. …
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