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Preclinical Optometry (OPTO90024)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 25On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeOPTO90024
Year Long
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

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

This subject gives an introduction to the concepts 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. Additionally, students will work in small groups to link themes in vision with clinical practice.

Intended learning outcomes

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; and
  • be developing skills in problem identification, and applying these to particular problems presented by patients.

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

Eligibility and requirements




Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
OPTO90027 Integrated Ophthalmic Sciences
Year Long

Non-allowed subjects


Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



  • One 2-hour written examination, Semester 1 examination period (30%)
  • One 3-hour written examination, Semester 2 examination period (45%)
  • Clinical performance throughout year (20%)
  • One hour group (6 to 7 students per group) oral presentation on a clinical case/scenario, throughout year (5%)

Hurdle Requirements:

  1. Satisfactory performance in competency assessments, typically clinical proficiency examinations (throughout year)
  2. 100% attendance at preclinical duties

Dates & times

  • Year Long
    Principal coordinatorKwang Cham
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hoursFour 1-hour lectures/tutes per week throughout the year; 3 hours of practical work per week in semester 1 and an average of 8 hours of practical work per week in semester 2. Plus attendance at the Doctor of Optometry Student Conference
    Total time commitment290 hours
    Teaching period 4 March 2019 to 27 October 2019
    Last self-enrol date15 March 2019
    Census date31 May 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail27 September 2019
    Assessment period ends22 November 2019

    Year Long contact information

Time commitment details

Estimated total time commitment - 290 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Recommended texts and other resources

    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.

  • Subject notes

    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.

Last updated: 3 April 2019