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.

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Unit Overview


In this unit, students will gain foundational knowledge in the physical and biomedical sciences underpinning optometric practice. Students will engage in problem-based learning cases drawn from common optometric presentations, particularly those associated with developmental and refractive disorders of vision and basic pathophysiology. Team-based learning seminars will support the teaching of PBL cases. Alongside this, students will gain knowledge and skills in simple history-taking and patient examination, in fulfilment of the OCANZ list of clinical competencies. The clinical skills practice sessions will assist students to form constructive relationships between vision science and clinical practice.

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

Students are able to (1) describe the different refractive conditions associated with the human eye, and demonstrate the skills to measure these refractive errors and the dispensing of associated optical appliances; (2) collect, communicate and safeguard data relating to the structure and function of the eye using appropriate clinical techniques and tools; (3) discuss the basics of pharmacology and microbiology, as relevant to the eye, and their uses in ocular diagnoses and therapeutics; (4) correlate the basic optical principles that are relevant to light transmission and image formation by lens systems to the correction of refractive errors; and (5) develop and apply skills necessary for working within a team, and for communicating and collaborating effectively with peers and colleagues.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tests; (2) ongoing assessments; (3) clinical assessments; and (4) professional behaviour assessment. Further information is available in the unit outline.

To pass this unit, a student must: (a) achieve an overall mark of 50 per cent or higher for the unit; and (b) achieve the requisite requirements(s) or a mark of 50 per cent or greater, whichever is higher and specified in the unit outline, for the clinical assessments and professional behaviour assessment components.

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

Unit Coordinator(s)
Elisse Higginbotham
Unit rules
OPTM4104 Foundations of Optometry (ID 7939).
or equivalent
OPTM4105 Principles of Optics 2 (ID 7940).
OPTM4106 Physiological Optics and Visual Perception.
OPTM4107 Research Fundamentals and Methodology 2
Approved quota: 64—quota places are allocated based on admission requirements contained within CAIDi 91590 Doctor of Optometry (coursework) (extended).
Incidental fees
Incidental student fees and charges are costs incurred by students as part of their studies at UWA that are in addition to their tuition fees (further information is available here).
Participation in this unit will incur the following incidental fee(s):
Ophthalmoscopes and Retinoscopes, Auxiliary Equipment (estimated cost - 2500-3000).
Contact hours
Workshops and problem-based learning tutorials up to 50 hours.
Lectures and seminars up to 50 hours.

Elliot D. 2013. Clinical Procedures in Primary Eye Care. 4th Ed. Butterworth Heinemann

Benjamin W. 2006. Borish's Clinical Refraction. 2nd Ed. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann.

  • 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.