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Integrated Ophthalmic Sciences (OPTO90027)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 75On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeOPTO90027
Year Long
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

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

This subject recognises that a scientific understanding of vision derives from an inherently multidisciplinary foundation, knitting together threads from many core fields including optics, mathematics, biochemistry, anatomy, histology, physiology, medicine and psychology. It broadly conceptualises this diverse collection of subject content into three tightly interwoven streams: the first of these is optics relating to vision, the second is biological systems underpinning vision, and the third is visual function itself, which emerges only by appreciating and exploring the various degrees of overlap among the other streams.

By following both the classical and modern research literature, students will explore in depth the interactions between light and biological tissues, and consider how optical theory can be plied to provide visual optical instrumentation allowing exploration of the parameters and fitness of the eye. They will appreciate how the anatomy, biochemistry and physiology of the visual organ and its neural radiations place constraints on the rich information presented to higher brain centres, and how optical imperfections can be quantified and rectified to improve sight. By examining the detailed anatomy of the orbit and its contents, including the extra-ocular muscles and their actions, students will understand how binocular visual functions depend both on the hardware of orbital mechanics as well as the interpretative and control systems of distinct brain areas. The subject reinforces experimental approaches used to measure sensory modalities to gain an understanding of how each anatomical and physiological feature of the eye-brain system is critical for functions serving normal visual perception.

While the scope of this subject is a complete understanding of the normal human visual system, the subject draws heavily on comparative anatomy and physiology, describing how human eyes are at the same time both similar and dissimilar to those of other species with regard to general structure and resulting functional attributes such as the perception of colour, motion perception, and our spatial vision sense. Congenital and acquired visual anomalies will also be used throughout the course to highlight the astonishing confluence of coordinated growth and maintained activity required of normal visual function while also illustrating visual dysfunction as a precursor to more detailed study in later (clinical) subjects.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject students should:

  • have an understanding of the normal human visual system and its physical, chemical and biological foundations that enables them to apply their knowledge to practical situations in an effective and innovative way;
  • be able to quantitatively describe light and its passage through optical systems (including ophthalmic instruments, ophthalmic lenses and the eye), and quantitatively assess the nature and quality of optical images;
  • have started to develop skills in problem identification, and have started to apply these skills to scientific problems in the visual and clinical sciences; and
  • have started to develop an understanding of the mechanisms associated with ocular and visual system disease.

Generic skills

On completion of this subject students should:

  • have a capacity to manage competing demands on time, including self-directed project work
  • have an appreciation of the design, conduct and reporting of original research
  • be able to work as part of a team to address a common goal
  • be able to integrate knowledge from different domains and articulate knowledge and understanding in written and oral forms
  • be able to apply critical thinking and problem solving skills to new problems

Last updated: 15 August 2019