University of Sussex

File(s) not publicly available

[Abstract] The use of virtual three-dimensional anatomy software in teaching ophthalmology

posted on 2023-06-10, 05:25 authored by Yarrow Scantling-Birch, Hasan Naveed Naveed, Michael OkorieMichael Okorie, Saul Rajak
Purpose Medical education is changing at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level. There are less hours dedicated to the basic sciences, especially anatomy. These changes threaten to marginalise ophthalmology education, which relies heavily on basic science knowledge for clinical application. Technology-enhanced learning (TEL) can assist in the efficient knowledge transfer of basic ophthalmic knowledge. Our study scoped the literature and evaluated the use of a three-dimensional (3D) virtual anatomy software to learn clinical and surgically relevant ocular anatomy at the undergraduate level. Methods A literature search was conducted of the following databases: Embase, Medline and Cochrane Library. A national, cross-sectional study was conducted via webinar teaching with 36 undergraduate medical students. A 60-min lesson was used to teach ocular anatomy using a blended learning approach with novel virtual anatomy software (BioDigital, USA) and a didactic Powerpoint (Microsoft, USA) lecture. Anatomical knowledge gain was measured using validated multiple-choice questions and a surgical video quiz. Student perceptions using questionnaires were measured before and after the online teaching session. Results The literature showed a paucity of studies validating 3D virtual anatomy software in ophthalmology education. Software identified in the search included BioDigital, Essential Anatomy, Complete Anatomy and Visible Body. A significant improvement in mean knowledge gain was observed for both clinical and surgical quizzes after the use of BioDigital (17.9%, p < 0.0001). Significant confidence gain with respect to ocular anatomy was observed after the blended teaching session (40%, p < 0.0001). 100% of students enjoyed and agreed that 3D virtual anatomy software is an effective method of teaching ocular anatomy. 70% stated they will integrate digital anatomy software with their future ophthalmology learning, and 60% agreed the software could replace traditional teaching methods. Conclusions The declining importance given to ophthalmology teaching sets the tone for ophthalmic knowledge amongst graduating doctors and specialist trainees. TEL using 3D virtual anatomy software is an innovative, time-efficient and student-friendly teaching adjunct for ocular anatomy.


Publication status

  • Published


Acta Ophthalmologica







Presentation Type

  • other

Event name

2021 European Association for Vision and Eye Research Festival

Event location


Event type


Event date

September 27 – October 2, 2021

Department affiliated with

  • Division of Medical Education Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)


    No categories selected