OPT006: Paediatric Optometry

This module aims to provide postgraduate students with the knowledge and skills to provide a high standard of eye care to children.

It considers the normal development of children and the impact of poor vision on that development.

It has a particular emphasis on the need for eye examinations for children and how the practitioner can ensure child-friendly testing procedures and hence a successful examination. The course also considers binocular vision anomalies and specific learning difficulties, as well as the role of the optometrist in managing children with these conditions.

This module complements OPT007 and OPT013.

Along with OPT033: Pediatric Eye Care 2 - Practical, this module is accredited by the College of Optometrists to provide the Professional Certificate in Paediatric Eye Care.

Start date Duration Credits Prerequisites Module tutors Module code
September 2018 26 contact hours over one academic term 10 credits

CET points available
None Maggie Woodhouse (Leader)

Andy Millington
Stephanie Campbell
Mike George 

Learning objectives

On completion of the module a student should be able to demonstrate:

  • an understanding of typical visual development and common abnormal visual outcomes
  • a detailed knowledge of the national and local protocols for vision screening pathways
  • an understanding of how to effectively communicate with children and their parents or carers
  • an understanding of how to obtain and interpret children’s full symptoms and personal and familial history
  • a detailed knowledge of the strengths and limitations of tests and techniques
  • a detailed knowledge of how to assess children’s visual function using robust and evidence-based tests, appropriate for age
  • a detailed knowledge of how to examine ocular health in children
  • an awareness of the visual problems in children with developmental disabilities
  • a detailed knowledge of appropriate dispensing for children
  • an understanding of how to formulate, communicate and deliver an evidence-based management plan for children
  • an awareness of safeguarding children - equivalent to level two.

How the module will be delivered

This module is taught via 13 lectures (PowerPoint with audio) delivered via Learning Central, the University’s e-learning system, with supporting resources and references supplied. There is also an online introductory webinar.

How the module will be assessed

Online examination (60%): This is an MCQ test that will assess comprehension and application across the entire syllabus which students take at the end of the lecture series.

Written coursework (20%): Students will submit a written piece of coursework describing the vision screening programme local to their practice (guideline 1500-2000 words). If there is no screening in place, students should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of setting up a service in their locality, and describe how this might be achieved.

Case records (20%): Students will submit TWO full case records. (Note that for the College Professional Certificate, students are required to submit five case records from their clinical practice over the two modules, including one case of strabismus, one of anisometropic amblyopia and one of involvement of another (non-eye care) professional. At least ONE record must include details of a dispensing that the student has carried out. The case records in OPT006 form two of the required five). The records should include reflection and appropriate references. In the current module, cases should emphasise the choice of tests and their validity.

Syllabus content

  • General and ocular development in infancy
  • Refractive development, and distribution of refractive errors throughout childhood
  • Assessment of refractive error and prescribing for children
  • Development of normal and abnormal binocular vision
  • Assessment of binocular vision in infants and children and management of abnormalities
  • Tests and techniques for assessing vision in children and expected values
  • The role of the optometrist in specific learning difficulties
  • Language development in children and communicating with children, parents and professionals
  • Vision screening in childhood
  • Assessment of ocular health and common defects in childhood
  • Dispensing for children
  • Safeguarding children (level two)
  • Introduction to research techniques

Skills that will be practised and developed

Academic Skills:

  • The interpretation of data
  • Collate information from a number of resources to improve learning

Subject-Specific Skills:

  • Awareness of recent research in childhood visual development and the evidence base for accepted clinical practice in paediatric eye care
  • Understanding common visual problems in childhood and appropriate management/referral decisions
  • Understanding of the role of other professionals involved with children and the importance of reporting pathways

Generic Skills:

  • Time management
  • Working independently
  • Problem solving
  • Communication skills