OPT007: Eye Care for People with Learning Disabilities

This module aims to provide postgraduate eye care professionals with the knowledge and practical skills to provide a high standard of eye care to adults and children with learning disability.

The module has a particular emphasis on the challenges for the patient with learning disability undergoing an eye examination, and the ways that the practitioner can modify their approach, communication and testing procedures to ensure a successful examination. The course also considers the importance of communicating with other professionals, to the benefit of the patient.

Start DateDurationCreditsPrerequisitesModule TutorsModule Code
September 201725 contact hours over one academic term10 credits

CET points available
NoneMaggie Woodhouse (Leader)

Stephanie Campbell
Andy Millington
Mike George 

Additional Information: This module complements OPT001, OPT002, OPT003, OPT006 and OPT013.

To acquire knowledge and understanding at an advanced level about:

  • The neuro-anatomy as it relates to the eye, eye movements and integration of vision
  • The most common visual / ocular disorders associated with learning disability, and the evidence base for prevalence compared to the general population
  • The issues of consent for a patient with limited communication or understanding

To apply this knowledge to given clinical situations and demonstrate how you would:

  • Improve communication with a patient with learning disability
  • Use modified testing techniques in an eye examination and interpret the results

To critically evaluate a clinical situation and suggest appropriate management of a patient with respect to:

  • The challenges for both patient and practitioner of an eye examination
  • The challenges and solutions in dispensing spectacles for patients with special needs, the frame modifications possible and the importance of adaptation programmes
  • The role of carers and other professionals and the importance of communicating optometric findings

This module is taught via 7 lectures (PowerPoint with audio), delivered via Learning Central, the University's e-learning system, with supporting resources and references supplied.

Students will also attend Cardiff University for two consecutive days, for tutorials and complementary workshops. The workshops enable students to hone their clinical assessment techniques with patients, and the tutorials enable guided discussion of typical case presentations from optometric practice. A third visit will allow students to take part in a Special Assessment clinic at Cardiff.

Online Examination (40%)

There is a MCQ test that will assess comprehension and application across the entire syllabus which students take at the end of the lecture series for final assessment.

Written Coursework (40%)

Students will be required to submit two pieces of written coursework.

Practical (20%)

Students will be required to take part in a practical assessment.

  • The definition of the term learning / intellectual disability and its prevalence.
  • The characteristics, including causes and prevalence, of the most common types of disability: Down's syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, Fragile X.
  • The education and care system for people with learning disability, and the role of professionals involved.
  • The ocular / visual deficits associated with learning disability.
  • Communication with patients.
  • Modification of optometric test procedures & Dispensing for patients with special needs.
  • Consent in patients with limited understanding and/or communication, and issues around protection of children and vulnerable adults.
  • Management of visual deficits in learning disability.

Academic skills

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

Subject specific skills

  • The enhancement of clinical examination techniques for adults and children with learning disability.
  • To be aware of recent research in this field.
  • To develop practical skills to assess vision in patients with limited communication.

Generic skills

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