Preclinical Optometry

Subject OPTO90024 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Year Long, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Four 1-hour lectures/tutes per week; 4 hours of practical work per week
Total Time Commitment:

Estimated total time commitment - 290 hours



Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements for this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Ms Anthea Cochrane


Ms Anthea Cochrane

Dr Andrew Anderson

Subject Overview:

Note: This subject is only available to students enrolled in the Doctor of Optometry.

This subject gives a detailed account of the nature, origins, detection, treatment and prognosis of common vision and ocular disorders. It provides training in the optometric procedures for the examination of the eyes and for the treatment of visual disorders. On completion of the subject students will be able to investigate patients' visual problems, make a diagnosis and plan an appropriate course of management. Topics include refractive anomalies of the eye including explanations of the origin and development of refractive anomalies and the tests employed to detect, determine and correct refractive errors; anomalies of accommodation including presbyopia; anomalies of ocular motility and binocular vision including their clinical assessment and treatment; and the detection and basis of disorders of the visual pathway. Practical sessions introduce students to taking and recording a routine patient history and working up an ocular complaint, how to complete a comprehensive refractive examination, how to perform a routine screen to detect overt pathology or visual dysfunction and will acquire the skills to examine the health of the eye. In the latter part of semester 2, students will assimilate their skills and knowledge and perform routine eye examinations on colleagues and practice patients in a clinical setting. Additionally, students will work in small groups to link themes in vision with clinical practice.


On completion of this subject students should:

  • have an understanding of the appearance and function of the normal human eye and visual system;
  • have had the opportunity to reflect upon and explain how an association between topics from the basic vision sciences is relevant to clinical practice.
  • have started to develop an understanding of the mechanisms and associated manifestations of ocular and visual system dysfunction;
  • have basic competency in clinical ocular examination, using current best-practice methods, enabling them to assess the health and visual performance of their patient;
  • be developing interpersonal and communication skills, both written and verbal, that allow them to establish relationships with their patients;
  • be able to describe the passage of light through ophthalmic instruments, ophthalmic lenses and the eye, and assess the nature and quality of images;
  • begin developing proficient technical skills to manipulate ophthalmic instruments and equipment;
  • be developing skills in problem identification, and applying these to particular problems presented by patients.

Two 30-minute multiple choice examinations (questions progressively completed on-line during each semester), each worth 5%, representing 10% of the final mark for this subject.
Two 2-hour written exams, each worth 30%, held during the examination period at the end of each semester, representing 60% of the final mark for this subject.
Two 5-minute group oral presentations on a clinical case/scenario, representing 5% of the final mark for this subject.
Two 45-minute hurdle clinical proficiency exams, each worth 10%, representing 20% of the final mark for this subject. Students must pass both hurdles. Students will be given the opportunity to undertake additional assessment during semester if they fail this hurdle.
Ongoing clinical assessment of a minimum of 5 routine clinical eye examinations conducted on practice patients during Semester 2, representing 5% of the final mark for this subject. It is a hurdle requirement that students obtain a passing grade for this component of assessment. Students will be given the opportunity to undertake additional assessment during semester if they fail this hurdle.

Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts:

Benjamin W (2006) Borish’s Clinical Refraction. 2nd Ed. Pub. Butterworth-Heinemann.
Elliott D.B. (2007) Clinical Procedures in Primary Eye Care. 3rd Ed. Pub. Elsevier.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • have highly developed written and oral communication skills;
  • have the capacity to articulate their knowledge and understanding in written modes of communication;
  • be able to work as part of a team to address a common goal;
  • be able to apply critical thinking and problem solving skills to new problems;
  • be able to incorporate evidence based information into their clinical practice;
  • value the collection and recording of accurate and complete data;
  • have enhanced time management skills, in particular a capacity to manage competing demands on time, and professional focus in clinical practice;
  • be able to keep up to date with the latest innovations;
  • be able to reflect upon and identify deficiencies in their knowledge, and develop strategies to address those deficiencies.

Basic optometric equipment will need to be purchased by each student. There will be an information session advising students of what is required early in semester 1. Students will have the opportunity to submit orders for equipment towards the end of semester 1 ready for use in semester 2.

Students are strongly advised to purchase their own equipment, which they will continue to use during their course and after graduation. However, those students who do not have their own equipment will be able to borrow equipment for classes. Students are required to conform to prescribed dress and conduct requirements when assigned to all clinical duties with patients.

Related Course(s): Doctor of Optometry

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