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BSc Optometry / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course unit details:
Binocular Vision A

Unit code OPTO20361
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Optometry
Available as a free choice unit? No


Binocular Vision is the ability to use both eyes simultaneously to focus on the same object and view it as a single three dimensional image. This unit will enable you to understand the physiological spectrum of binocular vision, plan and perform investigations of heterophoria, develop strategies for managing patients with simple binocular vision problems.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Functional Anatomy of the Eye OPTO10171 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Optometric Examination A OPTO10190 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Physical Optics OPTO10312 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


To enable students to:

  • Understand the physiological spectrum of Binocular vision (BV) and ocular movements
  • Plan and perform investigations of heterophoria
  • Develop strategies for managing patients with simple BV problems

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the theory behind binocular vision (BV)
  • Understand the physiological and neural mechanisms responsible for normal and abnormal BV
  • Understand the effects of heterophoria on BV
  • Recognise what constitutes normal and abnormal visual alignment and correlate patient signs and symptoms to these states
  • Develop self study skills by working through exercises and articles
  • Investigate, diagnose and treat decompensated heterophoria
  • Understand and interpret test results from BV examinations
  • Detect symptoms relevant to binocular anomalies
  • Develop observational skills. Record clinical data.
  • Communicate with patients effectively.


  • Introduction to the concepts of Binocular Vision (BV)
  • Stereopsis: theory and neurophysiology
  • Stereotests
  • Heterophoria: types and decompensation
  • Vergence and measurement of phoria, tropia and AC/A ratio
  • Fixation disparity: theory and measurement, relation to heterophoria
  • Consequences of strabismus: Ambylopia, suppression, ARC and eccentric fixation
  • Oculomotor movements : EOM actions, clinical testing
  • Eye movements: Characteristics, neurology and clinical testing

Techniques for the assessment of binocular vision are incorporated into the refraction routine and there are 3 separate binocular vision practical sessions. These sessions teach cover test, fusional reserves, AC/A ratio, motility, fixation disparity, NPC, accommodation and vergence.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Understanding results of different tests during practical sessions and relating these to lectures.
Group/team working
Working together during the practical sessions to understand the tests and complete them within the allocated time.
Oral communication
Explaining procedures/tests to each other during practical sessions.
Problem solving
Working independently on online exercises to answer questions.
Written communication
Writing test results during practical sessions. Writing succinct answers to short answer questions in exercises/practice exam questions.

Assessment methods

1.5 hour short answer written examination (100%)

The unit is non-compensatable

Feedback methods

Verbal feedback will be provided during lectures and practicals. Written feedback will be provided in response to email enquiries, via short answer and MCQ exercises on blackboard and general comments posted after exam. Students can also request personal meetings.

Recommended reading

  • Steinman, Steinman and Garzia.Foundations of binocular vision: A clinical perspective. Recommended
  • Pickwell, D & Evans, B.J.W (2002) Pickwell's Binocular Vision Anomalies (4th Edition). Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd.
  • Mein.J and Trimble.R Diagnosis and management of Ocular motility disorders. Further reading.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1.5
Lectures 24
Practical classes & workshops 3
Independent study hours
Independent study 70.2

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Emma Gowen Unit coordinator

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