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BSc Optometry / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course unit details:
Visual Neurophysiology & Fundamentals of Visual Perception

Unit code OPTO10360
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Optometry
Available as a free choice unit? No


Visual Neurophysiology introduces the basic structure and function of the visual system. You will study structures including the retina in the eye and the Lateral Geniculate Nucleus and Visual Cortex in the brain. Fundamentals of Visual Perception provides a broad introduction to vision and the rules that govern perception. 


The unit aims to:

  1. Introduce the rudiments of neurophysiology of the visual system.
  2. To develop basic concepts of neural processing of information.
  3. Provide a broad introduction to rules that govern visual perception.


Learning outcomes

  • Appreciation of the main structures forming the visual pathway in higher primates, including the retina, Lateral Geniculate Nucleus (LGN) and Visual Cortex. The relationship of these to overall anatomy of the brain. A superficial appreciation of how visual information is analysed in the visual cortex.
  • Organisation of complex and largely unfamiliar material and concepts. Additional reading from scientific literature.
  • No practical element.


Course covers the following topics:


The structure and function of the eye:

Structure and function of the Lateral Geniculate Nucleus

Structure and function of the Primary Visual Cortex (V1)

The What and the Where Pathways

Fundamentals of Psychophysics

Why do we move our eyes?

How is Motion Processed in the Visual System

How is Form Processed in the Visual System

How is Depth information Processed in the Visual System

How is Colour generated in the Visual System

How do group visual features together

Vision and the other senses


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Kahoot quizzes (10 MCQs) will be given in each lecture to help formative learning. Quizes will be made available for revision purposes at the end of the semester


Recommended reading

       Snowden R, Thompson P, and Troscianko T(2012) Basic Vision: An introduction to Visual Perception. Oxford University Press



Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 24
Independent study hours
Independent study 74

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Niall Mcloughlin Unit coordinator

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