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Optometry

Eyes

Available with a foundation year

Optometrists work in high street practice or hospital eye clinics, where they prescribe and dispense spectacles and contact lenses, and low vision aids; treat problems with binocular vision; and increasingly work alongside ophthalmologists to monitor the treatment of ocular disease. Until recently, the optometrist's formal responsibility was to recognise and refer abnormality, stopping short of diagnosis and management. In the last few years, however, there has been a steady increase in optometrists being involved in the primary care of patients with diseases such as diabetes and glaucoma. This has given rise to more emphasis on the study and management of these conditions.

Optometry is regulated in the UK by the General Optical Council, and you will need to be registered by them in order to practice. This involves a 3-year BSc degree followed by a pre-registration period of 1 year in a hospital or high-street practice during which your clinical skills will be examined; alternatively you can register directly following the 4-year Master of Optometry degree which is unique to The University of Manchester.

In our course you will discover the scientific principles that underpin optometry, including the properties of light, the anatomy of the eye and the processing of vision in the brain. Learn about ophthalmic appliances, such as lenses, and instrumentation, such as retinoscopes. Get introduced to general eye examination techniques and start to meet patients in your second semester. 

In your second year you will further develop your knowledge of ophthalmic appliances and optometric instrumentation. Discover a broad range of new topics, including human disease processes, pharmacology, contact lens practice and binocular vision. Develop your clinical skills so that by the end of the year, under supervision, you will have the competence and confidence to examine members of the public

Spend one week full-time at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital during your summer vacation, gaining a wealth of practical clinical experience in all hospital departments. This is a unique element of our degree courses and is not offered at any other UK university.

If you wish to proceed to the MOptom at the end of Year 2 and are selected, based on good academic performance and communication skills, you embark on the final two years, which include a year of practical experience in both private practice and at an eye hospital plus an advanced project and lecture courses.

Otherwise, you take Year 3 of the BSc, including further lectures on clinical subjects and pharmacology, extensive experience in the clinics, time at hospital, and a dissertation.

Course units

Click on the year you are interested in to view the combination of modules available for Optometry. (Please note that sometimes we can refer to modules as course units or units.)

First year

Compulsory modules

BIOL10100    Personal & Professional Development A
BIOL10151    Geometrical Optics
BIOL10171    Functional Anatomy of the Eye
BIOL10190    Optometric Examination A
BIOL10292    Dispensing A
BIOL10312    Physical Optics
BIOL10351    Data Handling Skills for Optometrists
BIOL10360    Visual Neurophysiology & Fundamentals of Visual Perception
BIOL10392    Human Physiology for Optometrists
BIOL10811    Body Systems
BIOL10832    Excitable Cells
BIOL12000    Health & Safety online course
BIOL12020    Science Ethics and Society (Level 1)
BIOL12051    Clinical Methodology 1

Optional modules

MATH19540    Mathematics 1C1/ (10 credit version) for Optometry
MATH19641    Mathematics 1Q1

Second year

Compulsory modules

BIOL20080    Dispensing B
BIOL20090    Instrumentation
BIOL20100    Optometric Examination B
BIOL20151    General Medical Science
BIOL20200    Personal & Professional Development B
BIOL20282    Vision in the Real World
BIOL20362    Binocular Vision A
BIOL20372    Contact Lenses A
BIOL20391    Pharmacology A
BIOL20581    Advanced Visual Neurophysiology (for OPT)
BIOL20621    Visual Psychophysics and Neurophysiology
BIOL21892    Ocular Disease

Optional modules

Final year

Compulsory modules

BIOL30200    Clinical Practical Sessions
BIOL30221    Binocular Vision B
BIOL30231    Legal and Professional Aspects of Optometry
BIOL30410    Low Vision
BIOL30612    Pharmacology B: Ocular Pharmacology
BIOL30651    Contact Lenses B
BIOL30732    Optometric Studies
BIOL30891    Ocular Disease
BIOL31200    Personal & Professional Development C

Optional modules

Disclaimer: Our modules teach the current trends in life sciences. Consequently, details of our modules may vary over time. The University therefore reserves the right to make such alterations to modules as are found to be necessary. Before accepting your offer of a course, it is essential that you are aware of the current terms on which the offer is based. This includes the modules available to you. If in doubt, please contact us.

Course units

Click on the year you are interested in to view the combination of modules available for Optometry. (Please note that sometimes we can refer to modules as course units or units.)

First year

Compulsory modules

BIOL10100    Personal & Professional Development A
BIOL10151    Geometrical Optics
BIOL10171    Functional Anatomy of the Eye
BIOL10190    Optometric Examination A
BIOL10292    Dispensing A
BIOL10312    Physical Optics
BIOL10351    Data Handling Skills for Optometrists
BIOL10360    Visual Neurophysiology & Fundamentals of Visual Perception
BIOL10392    Human Physiology for Optometrists
BIOL10811    Body Systems
BIOL10832    Excitable Cells
BIOL12000    Health & Safety online course
BIOL12020    Science Ethics and Society (Level 1)
BIOL12051    Clinical Methodology 1

Optional modules

MATH19540    Mathematics 1C1/ (10 credit version) for Optometry
MATH19641    Mathematics 1Q1

Second year

Compulsory modules

BIOL20080    Dispensing B
BIOL20090    Instrumentation
BIOL20100    Optometric Examination B
BIOL20151    General Medical Science
BIOL20200    Personal & Professional Development B
BIOL20282    Vision in the Real World
BIOL20362    Binocular Vision A
BIOL20372    Contact Lenses A
BIOL20391    Pharmacology A
BIOL20581    Advanced Visual Neurophysiology (for OPT)
BIOL20621    Visual Psychophysics and Neurophysiology
BIOL21892    Ocular Disease

Optional modules

Final year

Compulsory modules

BIOL30200    Clinical Practical Sessions
BIOL30221    Binocular Vision B
BIOL30231    Legal and Professional Aspects of Optometry
BIOL30410    Low Vision
BIOL30612    Pharmacology B: Ocular Pharmacology
BIOL30651    Contact Lenses B
BIOL30732    Optometric Studies
BIOL30891    Ocular Disease
BIOL31200    Personal & Professional Development C

Optional modules

Disclaimer: Our modules teach the current trends in life sciences. Consequently, details of our modules may vary over time. The University therefore reserves the right to make such alterations to modules as are found to be necessary. Before accepting your offer of a course, it is essential that you are aware of the current terms on which the offer is based. This includes the modules available to you. If in doubt, please contact us.

Students say...

“Studying Optometry at Manchester has so far been an exciting and rewarding experience. The course here is well structured and the units we study are taught brilliantly. I think seeing real patients from our first year has been so important in the development of not only the necessary communication skills, but confidence in yourself as a future optometrist. Optometry is a great career choice and I can't wait to practice the discipline after my time at Manchester. ”

Melissa Costello

“Choosing to study Optometry at Manchester was by far the best choice for me! The course is exceptional and every lecturer and supervisor is fantastic and really approachable. The Carys Bannister Building provides a fresh and modern learning environment, with optometric examination rooms so similar to those in practice, and the size of the course allows us to get to know everyone. Studying Optometry at Manchester is definitely giving me all the skills to have a successful Optometry career!”

Gemma Gould

“Optometry combines the two things I enjoy the most – science and communicating with people. It is not just about doing refraction; you cover a wide variety of topics and disciplines. For example, from Year 1 you already use ophthalmic equipment and meet patients, followed by Year 2 which includes a lot of new interesting topics such as Ocular Diseases, Contact lenses, and everyone gets a hospital placement which is a great clinical experience”

Kamile Sadauskaite

Careers

Optometry is rewarding work, involving meeting a variety of people and helping them to lead a fuller life by correcting their vision with spectacles or contact lenses, establishing the eyes are healthy and advising on eye-care matters.

Most BSc Optometry students go straight on to do their pre-registration year and take the Scheme for Registration examinations, which, when successfully completed, allow entry to the General Optical Council register. After registration with the General Optical Council, a career is open to you in practice, either privately or within the National Health Service. Alternatively, it is possible to work in the Hospital Eye Service team alongside an ophthalmologist. Of our recent graduates, 95% are working in private practice and 5% in the NHS.

Optometry degrees are approved by the General Optical Council and the College of Optometrists.

Graduate profiles

Barbara Bent
Recent graduate

Jayshree Joshi
1+ years after graduation

Michelle Walton
5+ years after graduation

Yap Tiong Peng
10+ years after graduation

Facilities

Our optometry clinics and labs moved into a new facility at the heart of the biomedical section of the campus in summer 2011. Over £4 million was spent on refurbishing the Carys Bannister Building, where facilities incorporate: more than 30 custom-designed optometric examination rooms, specialist low vision, binocular vision and clinical investigative techniques, facilities for contact lens and pediatric optometry education and dedicated teaching laboratories for optics and vision science.

Carys Bannister Building

Teaching and Learning

Clinically focused teaching takes place in our brand new facilities, and in one of the leading eye hospitals in the country. The balance of academic researchers and practicing professionals on our teaching staff ensures we can provide both theoretical and practical expertise. Find out more: Optometry Teaching and Learning.

Course director

Ana Hernadez-Trillo

I decided to study optometry attracted by the idea of helping people.

As optometrists, our role is to assess the function of the eyes of our patients and attempt to make these as good as possible. The best-known example of this is the correction of refractive error: shortsightedness, longsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. Even in the young, a sizeable proportion of our population falls into one of these groups; with age, everyone requires some form of refractive correction. In some parts of the world, uncorrected refractive error is one of the causes of avoidable blindness and optometrists are in the front line of addressing this need.

Optometry is changing. Today's optometrists are trained to a high level, and coupled with the ever-improving sophistication of our clinical instrumentation and convenient access to optometric practices, governments and regulators are understanding that optometry can play an important role in a wider range of primary care situations. In recent years, optometrists have begun to play key roles in the screening and monitoring of eye problems such as diabetic eye disease, glaucoma and red eyes. Very recently, the first cohort of optometrists completed advanced training and are now recognised as 'independent prescribers', able to prescribe treatments for a wide range of eye disease.

As a profession, therefore, optometry is moving into more medical areas and this is of interest to many optometrists. Others choose to focus on different aspects of the discipline. Some enjoy becoming entrepreneurs, running a thriving business offering optometric services to their community. Others opt to develop the expertise in the area of low vision management, sports vision or contact lenses; some choose to work with patients who have undergone laser treatment for their refractive error, offer clinics to manage dry eyes or specialise in the dispensing of unusual or difficult spectacle lenses. The list is considerable.

Personally, I love low vision. As people age, in developing countries is more common to find people with visual impairment. These patients have specific and complex needs. It is fascinating to be able to improve people’s quality of life by offering optical solutions and advice.

Optometry offers much to our community and is a diverse and fascinating profession. I have the privilege of working as Programme Director for the optometry undergraduate degree at the University of Manchester, collaborating with dedicated teaching and research colleagues to offer a world-class course. We marry the expertise of our own academic staff with the experience and insight of visiting optometric colleagues from all types of optometric practices in order to provide comprehensive training in contemporary optometry to our students. If you are interested in optometry as a career, please look around this web site for further details about the courses we offer and information about future open days.

Graduate Profiles

Barbara Bent

Why did you choose Optometry at Manchester?

I chose Optometry at Manchester because they offer a MOptom program. The MOptom program is structured slightly differently to the three-year optometry program- students will conduct two clinical placements at both a hospital and a private practice. It provides a more rounded and interesting experience.

What was the highlight?

The two clinical placements were really interesting. It was exciting to see how theories that I had spent lots of time on were applied in real life situations.

What were your placements? Can you describe a typical day on placement?

My first placement was at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle. The days were varied. I spent time in shadowing consultant ophthalmologists, performing low vision exams, fitting Rigid Gas Permeable lenses to difficult contact lens patients, measuring vision in patients with age-related macular degeneration and more. My second placement was at BBR Optometry (private practice) in Hereford. A typical day included examining patients in all age groups and dispensing. Though the nature of work was more typical, it was still stimulating. It was an interesting experience because I was given more responsibility in terms of patient management.

During the course, have you developed any skills that help boosted your employability?

Learning the clinical skills of optometry.

Do you have any advice for potential applicants? Especially for international students?

The MOptom programme that Manchester offers is a great opportunity. Definitely it is worth looking into- the clinical placements were great. Students could also opt for extra modules such as glaucoma which are exclusive to MOptom.

Jayshree Joshi

What degree did you do?

BSc (Hons) Optometry, graduated in July 2012

How has your career progressed since graduation?

I completed my yearlong pre-registration period and am now a fully qualified Optometrist.

What attracted you to Optometry?

The job prospects, and personal interests.

How did the course prepare you for your career?

I obtained everything I needed to know in order to succeed in my career and in my training year from my degree, as without my degree I would not have had the confidence or motivation to progress further in the field.

What does a typical day entail?

Testing eyes and advising patients accordingly, dispensing glasses, supervising dispensing and optometry students both internally within the company, and externally through local optometry universities.

What do you enjoy the most about the job?

The freedom to apply my knowledge to every patient, and the great feeling when I know I have helped someone to see.

Do you have any tips for students or applicants?

Get lots of experience both before and during your degree, as this will help you to build good relationships with potential future employers, as well as giving you the opportunity to apply your knowledge to a real situation from an early age. It also helps you to understand why you learn what you do during your degree.

Questions? Get in touch...

We are always pleased to talk to prospective students and we have dedicated people to answer any questions you may have - so don't hesitate to get in touch.

The Undergraduate Recruitment & Admissions Office
Faculty of Life Sciences
The University of Manchester
G.683 Stopford Building
Oxford Road
Manchester
M13 9PT UK
Tel: +44 (0)161 275 5032
Fax: +44 (0)161 275 5456
Email: ug.lifesciences@manchester.ac.uk