Evaluations of refraction competencies of ophthalmic technicians in Mozambique

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Purpose Ophthalmic technicians (OT) work at health facilities in Mozambique and are trained to provide primary and secondary eye care services including basic refraction. This study was designed to assess OT competence and confidence in refraction, and investigate whether an upskilling programme is effective in developing their competence and confidence at refraction. Methods Thirty-one trainee OTs and 16 qualified OTs were recruited to the study. A background questionnaire was administered to determine the demographic profile of the OTs. A confidence levels questionnaire explored their self-reported skills. Clinical competencies were assessed in relation to knowledge (theory exam) and clinical skills (patient exams). 11 OTs were upskilled and the clinical evaluations carried out post training. Results Initial evaluations demonstrated that confidence and competence levels varied depending on the OTs training (location and duration), and their location of work (clinical load, availability of equipment and other eye care personnel). The qualified OTs were more competent than trainee OTs in most of the evaluations. Post upskilling results demonstrated significant positive impact on confidence and competence levels. Conclusion These evaluations identified factors affecting the refraction competencies of the OTs and demonstrated that upskilling is effective in improving confidence and competence levels for refraction. They demonstrate the need for a refraction competency framework. The overarching aim of this research was to inform the development of a nationwide programme of OT mentoring, upskilling and leading to the establishment of clinical competency standards for the new OT curricula, relevant to the professional demands.




Shah, K., Naidoo, K., Chagunda, M., & Loughman, J. (2016). Evaluations of refraction competencies of ophthalmic technicians in Mozambique. Journal of Optometry, 9(3), 148–157. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.optom.2015.01.003

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