Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


The two core components of this unit are ocular anatomy and physiology and an introduction to scientific literature. Optometry is introduced through the use of scientific literature and publications, both formal and informal, to inform students on the evidence-based nature of the practice of optometry. Students will learn to correlate blinding conditions such as glaucoma, with the anatomical and physiological aspects of the eye, and the scientific basis of interventions to managing the condition, through problem-based learning classes. The unit will also provide an appreciation on the role of the optometrist within the broader health care system and describe the challenges faced by healthcare practitioners.

Specific topics to be addressed in this unit include:

- principles of literature review, evidence-based medicine and statistical analysis, as well as principles of presenting clinical and scientific information;

- anatomy of the eye, extending to measurement and structural assessment by a variety of clinical and experimental imaging modalities;

- physiology of the eye, extending to the functional assessment of the eye and visual pathways by a variety of clinical and experimental investigations;

- legal, ethical issues, professional, public and population health issues associated with common optometric conditions.

12 points

Students are able to (1) describe the anatomical structures and physiological functions that enable various visual processes; (2) Relate the gross anatomy and physiology of the eye, orbit and its adnexa, its network of vascular supplies and ophthalmic innervation with evidence-based nature of the practice of optometry; (3) develop a working knowledge of the systemic determinants of ocular health and disease, including haemodynamics, liver and kidney function; (4) describe various aspects of public and population health, epidemiology, migrant and refugee health in Australia; (5) describe the research process, including implementation of research, critical appraisal of research, and communication of research findings; and (6) discuss the methodologies to incorporate evidence into the practice of optometry.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) written assessments; (2) test; (3) final examination; (4) ongoing assessments; (5) literature review; and (6) oral assessment. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Samantha Lee
Unit rules
Enrolment in
the Doctor of Optometry 91590
OR 96 points including the completion of all level 2 units in the major in Vision Science (MJD – VISSC).
OPTM3101 Science of the Eye and Visual System 1
Contact hours
Practical, workshops and problem-based learning tutorials up to 75 hours.
Lectures and seminars up to 75 hours.

Snell RS and Lemp MA 2013. Clinical Anatomy of the Eye. Blackwell Scientific. 2nd Edition.

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.