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BSc Optometry / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course unit details:
Physical Optics

Unit code OPTO10312
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Optometry
Available as a free choice unit? No


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Mathematics for Optometry OPTO10911 Pre-Requisite Recommended

Individual and small group feedback routinely provided; exercises corrected during the lectures and solutions posted to Blackboard. Feedback for online exercises is provided directly in Blackboard.


Provide an elementary introduction to wave optics including interference and diffraction effects as relevant to optometry.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the physical principles behind wave optics
  • Know the limitations of optical instruments and the eye
  • Basic interferometry methods including OCT
  • Principles of diffraction and diffractive devices
  • Understand polarisation and birefringence
  • Be able to perform quantitative calculations of wave optics
  • Identify the optical technology in commonly used ophthalmological equipment.
  • Ability to perform optical calculations, including further mathematical and trigonometry skills.


The unit expands upon geometric optics to provide an understanding of wave optics, including the mathematics required for understanding an electro-magnetic wave and its propagation. This can be expanded upon to learn how to calculate interference and diffractive patterns, and how these can be used in optometric devices. Furthermore, the theory of polarisation and birefringence is taught along with its application to optometry.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Many of the exercises and questions in the course will require the use of analytic skills. These will involve the confident use of the mathematical formulation of physical concepts and their applicability to the solution of exercises and problems in Physical Optics.
Physical Optics involves the learning of basic concepts and the skills to apply them on practical problems. The exposure to exercises and questions will challenge the students to develop innovative and creativity skills.
Project management
The students will develop project management skills from their training and practice in the course, and the organisation of their studies.
Problem solving
During the course the students will solve a series of problems involving basic concepts in Optics and their application to Optometry
While there will not be any specific research training, the skills learned in the course will be essential components of further research training.

Assessment methods

1.5 hour written paper (100% of the unit mark) taken at the end of the second semester. The exam paper consists of a series of short questions, calculation exercises, and two short essay questions.

Feedback methods

Individual and small group feedback routinely provided; exercises corrected during the lectures and solutions posted to Blackboard.

Recommended reading

  • Freeman, M.H. (1995) Optics. Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd
  • Hecht, E (0) Optics. Adison Wesley
  • Tunnacliffe, A.H & Hirst, A.G (1981) Optics. ABDO College of Education

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Marcelo Montemurro Unit coordinator

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