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 develop an understanding of how our visual system processes information from the world around us. The unit extends the breadth of knowledge gained in OPTM4102 to provide an emphasis on the physiological and biochemical processes that underpin the perception of light within the visual system. The unit will further provide the knowledge to understand the processes that underlie our perception of brightness, colour, movements and stereopsis. Throughout the unit, students are introduced to the clinical and research based techniques that can be used to measure our ability to see the world.

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

Students are able to (1) examine the organisation of the visual system from the eye to the brain; (2) compare key psychophysical parameters used to quantify visual function and contrast the methods used to measure visual function; (3) relate the physiology and neural processes that underlie visual perceptions to colour, shape and lighting environment; (4) differentiate structural and functional changes in a diseased eye from a normal eye; and (5) appraise scientific principles and concepts that underlie visual processes to optometric clinical conditions.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tests; (2) written assessments; (3) oral assessment; and (4) final examinations. 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)
Dr Jason Charng
Unit rules
OPTM4102 Structure and Function of the Eye (ID 7937).
or equivalent
OPTM4105 Principles of Optics 2 (ID 7940).
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.

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.