Skip to main content

OPT001: Low Vision 1 - Theory

This module is aimed at providing eye care practitioners with the comprehensive theoretical knowledge to prepare them to provide a high standard of low vision service. It includes the role of the multi-disciplinary team.

There is no practical component to this module.

Start dateSeptember
Duration20 contact hours over one academic term
Credits10 credits - CET points available
Module tutorsMarek Karas  (Leader)
Rebecca John (Leader)
Barbara Ryan
Module codeOPT001

This module, along with OPT002, is accredited by The College of Optometrists for the Professional Certificate in Low Vision.

Exemptions: Practitioners in the UK may be eligible to apply for an exemption from this module and begin at OPT002 if they have completed LOCSU Low Vision theory within the last three years. However, they would have to complete the coursework from OPT001 as part of OPT002.

There are CET points available on completion of applicable elements of the module.

Learning objectives

On completion of the module a student should be able to acquire knowledge and understanding at an advanced level about:

  • The epidemiology of low vision in the UK for different ages, and its effects on daily living
  • The certification and registration process in the UK, and the benefits of registration
  • The optical components of simple magnifiers and telescopic systems
  • How to take a visual and general health history as part of a low vision assessment
  • How to measure visual function and refract a person with a visual impairment
  • The impact of eye conditions on visual functioning and how this affects individuals from different populations both practically and emotionally

To apply this knowledge to given scenarios and demonstrate how you would determine:

  • The most appropriate magnification for a patient with low vision their visual function and reported difficulties
  • The most appropriate low vision device for individuals for different tasks

To analyse a theoretical situation and suggest appropriate management of a patient with respect to:

  • How the effect of magnification; lighting and contrast can help people with low vision
  • The roles of other professionals and services in the wider low vision team
  • How non-optical devices and strategies can assist people with a visual impairment

Syllabus content

  • Definitions of visual impairment and epidemiology of low vision
  • Certification and Registration
  • Affects of visual impairment on visual function, activities of everyday life and psychological well being.
  • Measuring visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and functional visual fields in low vision patients
  • Measuring contrast sensitivity, refraction and visual fields in people with low vision
  • Definition of magnification
  • How to prescribe magnification
  • Basic optics of the different types of magnifiers
  • Consideration of uses, ergonomics, dexterity, field of view, magnification ranges and spectacle requirements when prescribing magnifiers
  • Reducing glare in low vision patients
  • Aids for peripheral visual field loss
  • Making things bigger and improving contrast
  • Lighting: general lighting, task lighting
  • Sight substitution using sound and touch
  • Braille and moon
  • Computers and visual impairment, and non-optical aids
  • Liaison with other professionals and services

How the module will be delivered

This module is taught via 10 Xerte tutorials, delivered via learning central, the University's e-learning system, with supporting resources and references supplied. There is an introductory webinar, and a webinar on establishing magnification part way through the term. In addition, there formative assessment episodes. This is a distance learning only learning module.

Skills that will be practised and developed

Academic skills

  • Collate information from a number of resources to improve learning

Subject-specific skills

  • To be aware of recent research in visual impairment and accepted clinical practice in the discipline
  • Advancing own knowledge and understanding to higher level
  • Develop empathy with people who have visual impairment
  • To develop the holistic approach to supporting people with visual impairment

Generic skills

  • Time management
  • Working independently
  • Develop IT skills
  • Improve problem solving skills

How the module will be assessed:

Formative assessments will enable you to assess your progress:

  • MCQ questions at the end of each Xerte tutorial. These will be able to be completed more than once and feedback regarding the correct answer will be provided on completion.
  • Key feature scenarios: There are 3 key feature scenarios. The student must work through each case by answering 4 sets of questions.
  • Patient management case: Students will have the opportunity submit a written case (2500 words) regarding a patient management scenario. The case will be reviewed and detailed feedback provided.