University of Valencia (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 4676-4685
ISBN: 978-84-09-37758-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2022.1233
Conference name: 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-8 March, 2022
Location: Online Conference
This contribution describes the applications of physics in the field of Health Sciences introduced in the contents of a subject of general physics entitled Physics I. Physics for Health Sciences in the Degree in Optics and Optometry offered by the University of Valencia. The subject is a compulsory basic-training subject in the first year and semester of the degree, which introduces students to the classical phenomenological physics relevant to health sciences in general, and to optics and optometry in particular. It provides, together with the subject Physics II. Geometric optics, the fundamental physics for the degree. The subject contents consists of: elastic properties of solids, dynamics and properties of fluids, waves, acoustics, electromagnetism, and laboratory measurement procedures and uncertainties.

First year students in degrees in Health Sciences, like in other degrees where Physics is not the main topic, usually show little interest on it, or consider Physics as an extremely difficult and formal subject without any connection to their field of study. To make the subject more appealing, and in order to make students realize that physical concepts and phenomena are essential to their future field of work from the first year, we made significant efforts to show them practical applications of the physical concepts to health sciences, and specifically to optics and optometry, instead of just explaining the contents that could be found in the usually recommended books for General Physics.

In this sense, e.g., the elastic properties of solids were related to the contact lent elastic modules and its adaptability to the corneal surfaces. Fluids properties like viscosity, surface tension and contact angle were described for natural and ophthalmologic artificial tears used, e.g., as lubricant tears or those to treat the dry eye syndrome. In fact, these properties were also investigated through the direction of final degree projects of fourth-year students, in which they were obtained and analyzed in relation to lubricant compositions and response of patients. Oscillations and wave motion concepts were first explained, and then applied to acoustics and vision. We also depicted tests for detecting hearing disorders through the determination of isophonic curves, i.e., equal-loudness-level contours, but also other medical test, like ultrasonographies. The properties of lenses in glasses were also described, such as the absorption coefficients and the effect of polarized-lenses.

A greater attention was paid by students when the usual physical contents were immediately followed by those specific applications related to their future field of work. We also complemented the lectures with class-room experimental demonstrations from a teaching innovation project carried out at the University of Valencia.
Physics, degrees in Health Sciences, contents, applications, optics and optometry.