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BSc Optometry / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course unit details:
Geometrical Optics

Unit code OPTO10151
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Optometry
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit will provide students with a basic understanding of Geometrical Optics which will act as a foundation for future units, such as Dispensing, Visual Optics and Low Vision. Students will gain knowledge of the properties of mirrors, prisms and lenses.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Mathematics for Optometry OPTO10911 Co-Requisite Compulsory


To provide an introduction of the basic concepts relating to the refraction and/or reflection of light occurring at plane and spherical surfaces.

To consider the appropriate ‘sign convention’ (Cartesian) in relation to the location of objects, images and the direction(s) in which light travels.

To appreciate how both refraction and reflection are utilised within instruments related clinical optometric practice.

To develop problem-solving skills, using both mathematical and graphical approaches.

   To act as a solid foundation for future units, such as Dispensing A (Y1), Dispensing B (Y2), Visual Optics (Y2) and Low        Vision (Y3).


Learning outcomes

To demonstrate an understanding of the basic properties relating to lenses, mirrors, aperture stops and prisms and how these all play a part in the function of clinical Optometric equipment (e.g. telescopes, achromatic systems and cameras) and how they relate to clinical Optometry.
To demonstrate an ability to solve problems using ‘paraxial’ optics-based formulae, numerical calculations and graphical drawings.
To demonstrate an ability to carry out experimental techniques (which will be used to reinforce the theoretical concepts considered within the unit).
To demonstrate an ability to work in small groups to complete various experiments and electronic exercises and to utilise this opportunity to offer personal input(s) into both theoretical and practical situations.



A course of 22 lectures and 12 weeks of associated practical lab experiments. Designed to give a common understanding and transferable skills in, the terminology, theory and practical techniques associated with Geometrical Optics.


Practical sessions aim to illustrate features discussed within the lectures and include: angle of deviation; total internal reflection; properties of thin lenses; refraction at plane surfaces; determination of  the power  of ‘thick’ lenses, and the optical properties of sphero-cylindrical lenses (for example the generation of focal lines).

Employability skills

Analytical skills
As measurement and numerical skills will be constantly evaluated (against recognised benchmarks), students will regularly evaluate the solutions to `optical¿ problems in both the lecture and lab sessions.
Group/team working
Most labs have the opportunity to work in a small group. Peer and demonstrator review will be thoroughly encouraged in all lab sessions (for experimental work).
The development of the practical skills necessary to succeed on this unit often highlight alternative methods of approach and/or problem-solving.
For the lab-based experimental work, the group leader assumes responsibility for time management, in making sure that all deadlines are adhered to.
Oral communication
Students contribute to formal and informal questions and discussion(s) during both the lecture and practical lab sessions.
Problem solving
Theoretical, numerical and practical-based approaches are utilised throughout this unit, each of which will develop the students¿ problem-solving capacities.
Both for formal lectures and practical work, students are encouraged to ensure that they understand and have researched the history of the relevant optical principles (guidance is given in the lectures).
Written communication
The practical labs have numerous tables and/or graphs to complete. There are also 5 e-learning components to the unit, with submission deadlines where appropriate.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 5%
Written exam 95%

Summative assessments:

  • 1.5-hour written examination - 95% of the total unit mark
  • MANDATORY ATTENDANCE and FULL PARTICIPATION in ALL of the practical labs, as well as completion of the FIVE lab reports (as confirmed and signed off by the Lab Supervisors and the Unit Co-ordinator) - 5% of the total unit mark

Formative assessments:

  • FIVE e-learning quizzes (i.e. MCQ-based coursework) to check student knowledge and level of engagement with the unit 



Feedback methods

Individual/small group feedback is an integral part of the practical labs.

The on-line MCQ coursework will generate automatic feedback.


Recommended reading

Either of the texts listed below may be used:

1.     Freeman, M., H. and Hull C., C. Optics (11th Edition), Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd, 2003

2.     Tunnacliffe, A.H & Hirst, A.G, Optics (2nd Edition), ABDO College of Education, 1996


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1.5
Lectures 22
Practical classes & workshops 12
Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Amit Jinabhai Unit coordinator

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