1. Handbook
  2. Subjects
  3. Integrated Ophthalmic Sciences
  4. Print

Integrated Ophthalmic Sciences (OPTO90027)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 75On Campus (Parkville)

You’re viewing the 2019 Handbook:
Or view archived Handbooks


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

Eligibility and requirements




Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
OPTO90024 Preclinical Optometry
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



  • Three 2-hour written examinations, Semester 1 examination period (40%)
  • Two 3-hour written examinations, Semester 2 examination period (40%)
  • Six 10-minute group oral presentations, throughout the year (10%)
  • Practical reports, throughout the year (10%)

Hurdle Requirement:

  1. Satisfactory performance in competency assessments, typically stream-specific written examinations throughout the year.

Dates & times

  • Year Long
    Principal coordinatorAndrew Metha
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hoursFirst Semester: Six 1-hour lectures per week, four 1-hour seminar workshops per week; 6 hours of practical work per week. Second Semester: Three 1-hour lectures per week; four 1-hour seminar workshops per week. Plus attendance at the Doctor of Optometry Student Conference
    Total time commitment720 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

720 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    A reading list will be provided.

Last updated: 3 April 2019