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


In this unit, students will advance their knowledge of the physical and biomedical sciences that underpin visual processes and ocular function by way of problem-based learning cases of common optometric conditions. Extending from OPTM3102 Principles of Optometry 1, students will learn about governance and ethics of research, the skills to conduct comprehensive literature searches, understanding the types of study designs and their applications, and managing data collection, protection and analyses.

Specific topics to be addressed in this unit include:

- fundamental research findings contributing to our current understanding of the receptive fields, visual attention, critical developmental period, orientation specificity and edge detection, ocular dominance, structure-function relationships in the visual cortex, motion detection;

- advanced principles of optical physics with respect to the study of the human eye;

- simple and common optometric conditions particularly those associated with developmental and refractive disorders of vision;

- the concepts of scientific research methodologies implemented in formal contexts and publications

12 points

Students are able to (1) apply knowledge of optical science to a variety of uses in optometry, medicine and science; (2) describe the scientific principles and concepts that underlie visual processes to a variety of optometric clinical conditions; (3) apply advanced principles of optical physics with respect to the study of the human eye, extending to biometry of the eye and basic ophthalmic optics; (4) apply, within a team, attained knowledge in the solution of advanced problems of the visual system; and (5) demonstrate the ability to critically assess and analyse scientific literatures.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) test; (2) ongoing assessments; (3) final examinations; (4) written assessments; and (5) oral assessments. 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)
Jason Charng
Unit rules
OPTM3101 Science of the Eye and Visual System 1
AND OPTM3102 Principles of Optometry 1
OPTM3104 Principles of Optometry 2
Contact hours
Practical workshops and problem-based learning tutorials up to 75 hours.
Lectures and seminars up to 75 hours

Nicholls J, et al. From neuron to brain. Oxford University Press. 5th edition.

Kandel E, et al. Principles of neural science. McGraw-Hill. 5th edition.

Forrester J, et al. The eye: basic sciences in practice. Saunders. 4th edition.

Atchison D, Smith D. Optics of the human eye. Elsevier Health Science. 2000.

  • 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.