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Unit Overview


In this unit, students will build on the knowledge of optics gained in OPTM4101 in order to understand key principles of ophthalmic optics required in clinical practice. The unit aims to describe the nature of light and the way in which light can interact with matter, perform ray traces through single and multiple element lens systems, describe the effect of aberrations on optical systems (including the human eye), and explain the interactions between the optics of visual aids and the human eye. Students will learn by observing the behaviour of light used in different optical devices that are integral to the practice of optometry.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) describe the different ways natural light can interact with the environment we live in; (2) apply the principles of geometric optics (including the Gauss system) in ray tracing to determine the positions of the image and key elements (e.g. entry and exit pupils) of thin and thick lenses optical systems; (3) explain how limitations of the optical system of the eye, such as factors inherent to lens design and the wave nature of light, degrade the image qualities of the visual system; (4) explain the optical principles underpinning the function of equipment commonly used in the consulting room, such as focimeters, slit-lamp biomicroscopes and keratometers; and (5) compare the photometric and radiometric parameters used to measure light based on the concepts of light as both a wave and a particle.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tests; (2) written assessments; and (3) final examination. 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)
Mark Lucey
Unit rules
OPTM4101 Principles of Optics 1 (ID 7936).
or equivalent
OPTM4106 Physiological Optics and Visual Perception.
OPTM4107 Research Fundamentals and Methodology 2.
OPTM4108 Foundations of Clinical Optometry
Approved quota: 64—quota places are allocated based on admission requirements contained within CAIDi 91590 Doctor of Optometry (coursework) (extended).
Contact hours
Practical, workshops and problem-based learning tutorials up to 20 hours.
Lectures and seminars up to 60 hours.

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.

Keating, M, Geometric, physical and visual optics. New Boston: Butterworth-Heinemann, current 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.