1 x 2.5-hour seminar weekly
3 x 3-hour laboratories per semester
2 x 3-hour practicals per semester
3 x 3-hour computer labs per semester
1 x 3-hour independent study weekly
1 x 1-hour on-line exercises weekly
3 x 1-hour on-line lectures weekly
1 Admission into BMSVMOPT-Bachelor of Medical Science (Vision Science), Master of Optometry
2 PHYS1702 - Physics for Health Sciences
Must Satisfy: (1 and 2)
1 OPTO2001 - Skills for Optometry Practice
2 OPTO2003 - Communication for the Consulting Room
Must Satisfy: (1 and 2)
Examination(s), Practical, Presentation
Topic description

This topic discusses the optical system of the eye, retinal image quality and its relation to visual acuity, the optics of different forms of vision correction, the optics of instruments used to examine the eye, and some aspects of the optics of the world around us that impact on vision.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Provide an introduction to basic areas of optometry which are underpinned by optics
  • Provide optics knowledge in a contextual, interdisciplinary and clinical structure
  • Provide a foundation in optics and vision for later topics in the optometry course
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Understand and apply the optical properties of reflection, refraction, vergence and power to different optical components of the eye, including the cornea, lens, pupil, and retina
  2. Develop understanding of a range of ray and wave optics criteria for image quality (including diffraction, point spread function, contrast and resolution and wavefront aberrations) and their relationship with refractive errors, retinal image quality and visual acuity, including visual acuity measurement
  3. Develop knowledge and understanding of ophthalmic lenses and optics, contact lens optics, lens material, and optical principles underlying the modern optical design of lenses
  4. Develop detailed understanding of the optical concepts of diffraction, interference, polarization and prismatic effect and how these properties are applied in ophthalmic lenses and optical instruments used for examining the anterior and posterior segments of the eye
  5. Examine the optical concepts of reflection and refraction, optical power, image formation and magnification, effectivity, accommodation, prismatic effect, diffraction, contrast sensitivity, chromatic aberration and visual acuity measurement through a series of optical experiments
  6. Analyse basic scientific literature on optics and present it to peers through formal presentation

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.


If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.