Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.
|Course Overview: ||
Optometry is the occupation of measuring eyesight, prescribing corrective lenses, and detecting and managing eye disease. It is a professional allied health discipline based on the optical, visual, and biomedical sciences. An optometrist's role is to solve their patients' visual problems.
The Doctor of Optometry is a 4-year full-time program that offers intensive training in the clinical discipline of optometry. The course covers the basic and applied optical, visual, and biomedical sciences that underpin optometry, and delivers a comprehensive clinical training that commences in the first year of the study. During the course, students will have the opportunity to undertake a research project, in an area relevant to the discipline, and will be given the opportunity to undertake clinical training at metropolitan, rural and overseas sites as part of their final year of study.
Completion of the Doctor of Optometry satisfies the legislative requirements that permit students to register as optometrists in all states and territories of Australia and in New Zealand. The qualification also affords the opportunity, either with or without further study and examination, to register to practice in other countries around the world.
|Learning Outcomes: ||
Knowledge: Graduates of the Doctor of Optometry course will have:
- an understanding of the normal human visual system and its physical, chemical and biological foundations
- an advanced understanding of the mechanisms and associated manifestations of ocular and visual system disease
- an expert knowledge of current best practice management strategies for the safe and effective use of ocular therapeutic drugs
- knowledge to be competent in the practice of optometry at a level that enables them to achieve and sustain registration with the appropriate professional bodies
- knowledge required to manage the establishment, planning, promotion, finances, operations and workforce of an optometric practice
- have a strongly developed sense of professional and ethical responsibility for patients, colleagues and the community generally, and be aware of the moral and legal responsibilities of professional practice
- knowledge of ethical research principles and methods applicable to optometry and the vision sciences
Skills: Graduates of the Doctor of Optometry course will have:
- skills to quantitatively describe light and its passage through optical systems (including ophthalmic instruments, ophthalmic lenses and the eye), design optical systems to meet required specifications, and quantitatively assess the nature and quality of optical images
- skills to construct appropriate differential diagnoses, and to acquire additional information to arrive at correct definitive diagnoses
- expert competency in clinical ocular examination using current best-practice methods, enabling them to fully assess and manage the health and visual performance of their patient
- interpersonal and communication skills, both written and verbal, that allow them to establish and maintain professional relationships with their patients, professional colleagues and the general community
- skills in the practice of optometry at a level that enables them to achieve and sustain registration with the appropriate professional bodies
- skills to take on a leadership role in the advancement of optometry on a global stage, both in clinical and research spheres
Application of knowledge and skills: Graduates of the Doctor of Optometry course will demonstrate the application of knowledge and skills:
- by resolving new situations in clinical practice in an effective and innovative way
- by solving scientific problems in the visual and/or clinical sciences, as well as particular problems presented by patients
- by developing a sense of intellectual curiosity and a desire for lifelong learning, an ability to adapt to scientific, technological and social change, and a capacity to be creative and innovative
Specific graduate attributes have been carefully defined, developed and mapped to every component of the course, as listed below.
|Course Structure & Available Subjects: ||
Students must complete 400 credit points over the 4-year program. These 400 points of credit are accumulated from a compulsory series of six core subjects totalling 100 points per year.
Doctor of Optometry 1st year (100 points): Covers the basic vision sciences and pre-clinical optometry training.
Doctor of Optometry 2nd year (100 points): Covers the applied clinical vision sciences and clinical optometry training, as well as research in vision and optometry.
Doctor of Optometry 3rd year (100 points): Covers further applied clinical vision sciences and clinical optometry training, as well as clinical optometry practice.
Doctor of Optometry 4th year (100 points): Covers advanced clinical optometry practice
|Subject Options: || |
Doctor of Optometry 1st year
Study Period Commencement:
Subject by invitation only:
Study Period Commencement:
Doctor of Optometry 2nd year
Study Period Commencement:
Doctor of Optometry 3rd year
Study Period Commencement:
Doctor of Optometry 4th year
Study Period Commencement:
|Entry Requirements: ||
1. In order to be considered for entry, applicants must have completed:
- an undergraduate degree, or equivalent; and
- three subjects at level 2 or level 3 (or equivalent) from one or more relevant biological science disciplines; and
- one of either the GAMSAT (Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test), the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) or the OAT (Optometry Admission Test (USA)), no more than two years before the date of commencement of the Doctor of Optometry.
Meeting these requirements does not guarantee selection.
2. In ranking applications, the Selection Committee will consider:
- prior academic performance; and
- the GAMSAT or MCAT or OAT.
3. The Selection Committee may seek further information to clarify any aspect of an application in accordance with the Student Application and Selection Procedure.
4. Applicants are required to satisfy the university’s English language requirements for postgraduate courses. For those applicants English language requirements seeking to meet these requirements by one of the standard tests approved by the Academic Board, performance band 6.5 is required.
Note: Successful applicants with relevant prior study or professional practice may be granted up to 200 points of credit towards the Doctor of Optometry as follows:
- 100 points of credit will normally be granted to applicants with an undergraduate degree with a major in optometry or vision science, or equivalent;
- 200 points of credit will normally be granted to applicants who are registered as an optometrist with the Optometry Board of Australia and have at least three years of documented clinical practice as a registered optometrist within the last ten years.
|Core Participation Requirements: ||
For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Commonwealth, 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this course are articulated in the Course Overview, Learning Outcomes, and Graduate Attributes.
The University is dedicated to providing support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison website:
It is a requirement of the course that students will perform clinical procedures on their peers, and have clinical procedures performed on them by their peers.
All students in the Doctor of Optometry (OD) course must possess the intellectual, ethical, physical and emotional capabilities required to participate in the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence at graduation required by the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences and the Australia Health Practitioner Registration Agency.
A student with a disability may be asked to provide independent medical or other clinical assessments of the disability and its possible impact on the ability of the student to successfully complete the course, before being accepted into the course. This statement would be treated in confidence with only those on the admissions committee and Disability Liaison having access to the document. (Deliberate misinformation about the student’s ability to successfully complete the course will be regarded as unprofessional practice and treated as such.)
While the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences will make reasonable adjustments to minimise the impact of a disability, all students must be able to participate in the program in an independent manner. It is not reasonable for students to use an intermediary as an adjustment to compensate for a disability impacting on any of the five categories listed below. In the clinical environment there is a primary duty of care to the patients, and the needs of students cannot compromise this. It is expected that all students will be able to participate fully in all classroom based learning activities and to successfully fulfil the clinical assessment and self-study requirements of the course. The presence of a disability will not automatically entitle the student to preferential treatment in clinical place allocation.
A candidate for the OD must have abilities and skills in the following five categories:
Practical Classes: The student must be able to observe mandatory demonstrations and experiments in the designated subjects.
Clinical Work: The student must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the senses of vision, hearing and somatic sensation. It is enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell.
Practical Classes: The student must be able to hear and comprehend instructions in practical sessions and be able to clearly and independently communicate knowledge and application of the principles and practices of the subject during assessment tasks.
Clinical Work: A student must be able to hear, speak to, and observe patients in order to elicit information and perceive nonverbal communications. A student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients in both oral and written forms. The student must also be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in both oral and written forms with all health care practitioners involved in patient management (including the use of telephones and computers).
Practical Classes: A student must be able to undertake the motor requirements for any mandatory practical sessions. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
Clinical Work: Students should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by clinical examination. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities:
Practical Classes: The student is expected to have the ability to develop problem-solving skills and demonstrate this ability in practical sessions. These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving requires all of these intellectual abilities.
Clinical Work: The student is expected to have the ability to develop problem-solving skills and demonstrate the ability to establish management plans and priorities. These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving requires all of these intellectual abilities.
Behavioural and Social Attributes:
Practical Classes: A student must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgement, and the prompt completion of all required tasks.
Clinical Work: A student must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgement, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and colleagues.
|Further Study: || |
On completion, students may wish to apply for entry into a research higher degree program.
|Graduate Attributes: ||
Patient Care: Students must be able to provide patient care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective. At the end of the Doctor of Optometry course they should be able to:
- use appropriate interviewing skills to elicit an accurate and thorough history addressing the onset and persistence of the condition in the context of the patient’s life.
- perform a detailed and accurate examination in a timely manner.
- choose diagnostic, management, and therapeutic interventions based on sound reasoning using all the tools of evidence-based practice.
- communicate effectively with GPs, other health professionals, and health-related agencies to coordinate care and improve patient safety and quality of care.
- recognise limits of expertise and seek help appropriately.
Optometric Knowledge: Students must demonstrate knowledge about established and evolving basic and clinical science, as well as the application of this knowledge to patient care. At the end of the Doctor of Optometry course they should be able to:
- use clinical reasoning processes to interpret data to derive a differential diagnosis and develop a clinical management plan, including in the areas of paediatrics, binocular vision, contact lenses, anterior eye, glaucoma, medical retina, and low vision.
- select, justify, and interpret appropriate clinical tests and diagnostic procedures with attention to benefits, harm and cost.
- demonstrate knowledge of the ethical, moral and legal foundations of optometric care.
- recognise the social determinants of vision disorders and disease, and the influence of physical, social and cultural environments.
Practice-Based Learning and Improvement: Students must be able to investigate and evaluate their approach to patient care, appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and continuously improve patient care based on self-evaluation and life-long learning. At the end of the Doctor of Optometry course they should be able to:
- demonstrate an ability to identify strengths and weaknesses in knowledge and skills, and seek opportunities to strengthen those deficits.
- demonstrate the ability to give and receive constructive, formative feedback to enhance patient care.
- utilise established patient pathways to provide care to patients and to help develop pathways to improve safe, quality patient care.
- utilise information technology in the practice of life-long learning and to support patient care decisions and promote patient education decisions.
Interpersonal and Communication Skills: Students must be able to demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange with patients, patients’ families, and professional associates. At the end of the Doctor of Optometry course they should be able to:
- communicate effectively with patients and families across a broad range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, and demonstrate sensitivity in the care of patients by treating them as an individual with consideration of age, culture, disability, education, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background.
- communicate perceptively in difficult situations including: giving bad news, disclosing errors, and working with distressed patients and their family members.
- articulate an accurate clinical question when needed to support collaborative care.
Professionalism: Students must demonstrate adherence to ethical principles, and a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities in the best interest of the patient and the community. At the end of the Doctor of Optometry course they should be able to:
- apply principles of autonomy, beneficence, and justice, and work to resolve ethical dilemmas as they arise in clinical practice.
- demonstrate honesty, integrity, respect, reliability, responsibility, and confidentiality in all interactions with patients, families, colleagues, and other professional contacts.
- show commitment to lifelong cultivation of empathy, compassion, self-compassion, and self-care.
- show commitment to the prevention of vision disorders and eye disease and injury and the promotion of health and wellbeing within the community.
|Professional Accreditation: ||
Upon completion of the Doctor of Optometry you can submit an application to register and practice as an optometrist in all states and territories of Australia and in New Zealand.
This course prepares students to meet the registration requirements of the Optometry Board of Australia. More information on this official body can be found at the following website - http://www.optometryboard.gov.au/
|Generic Skills: ||
On completion of the Doctor of Optometry students should:
- be able to plan strategies for improving the management of information in the workplace;
- be able to work with colleagues to develop best practice in the delivery of eye care;
- be able to apply critical thinking and problem solving skills to new problems;
- have highly developed written and oral communication skills;
- have the capacity to articulate your knowledge and understanding in written modes of communication;
- have enhanced leadership skills;
- be able to work as part of a team to address a common goal;
- be able to incorporate evidence-based information into your clinical practice;
- have an appreciation of the design, conduct and reporting of original research;
- have a capacity to manage competing demands on time, including self-directed project work;
- have a profound respect for truth and intellectual integrity, and for the ethics of scholarship;
- have enhanced time management skills, in particular a capacity to manage competing demands on time, and professional focus in clinical practice;
- be able to independently advance your professional expertise and knowledge in optometry;
- be able to evaluate scientific literature as a foundation to evidence based practice;
- be able to articulate the interpretation of data in written form;
- be able to develop new concepts of how to manage clinical problems based on new knowledge obtained;
- be able to integrate knowledge from different domains and articulate knowledge and understanding in written and oral forms;
- value the collection and recording of accurate and complete data;
- be able to keep up to date with the latest innovations;
- be able to reflect upon and identify deficiencies in your knowledge, and develop strategies to address those deficiencies.
Please note that the purchase of some equipment will be necessary for various compulsory subjects within this course. Students will continue to use the equipment during the remainder of the course and after graduation.
Within the course, students will attend placements at clinical sites both within Melbourne, rural Victoria, interstate and overseas. Students are expected to bear the costs involved in these placements.
Students are required to conform to prescribed dress and conduct requirements when assigned to all clinical duties with patients.
Students will be required to attend and participate in the OD student conference. The student conference will be delivered in a traditional conference format over 2-3 days in the Semester 2 mid-semester break.
*Doctor of Optometry students will be required to have a current CPR certificate prior to entering clinic in third year.