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BSc Optometry / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course unit details:
Pharmacology A

Unit code OPTO20391
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Optometry
Available as a free choice unit? No


Pharmacology A will introduce you to principles underpinning the use of drugs in optometric practice. You will undertake detailed study of the major groups of drugs, including cycloplegics, mydriatics,local anaesthetics and staining agents, which are commonly used by optometrists. The legal constraints applying to these drugs, and in particular how this relates to Optometrists, will also be considered.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Functional Anatomy of the Eye OPTO10171 Pre-Requisite Recommended
Anatomy and Physiology for Health Care Professionals II OPTO10392 Pre-Requisite Recommended
Anatomy and Physiology for Health Care Professionals I OPTO10391 Pre-Requisite Recommended

Year 1 BSc Optometry


The unit aims to give the students an understanding of the fundamentals of pharmacology and the mechanisms of action and legal constraints surrounding the use of investigative drugs (cycloplegics, mydriatics, local anaesthetics & staining agents) in optometric practice.

Learning outcomes

Students will:

       Understand how the body handles drugs (ADME)

       Understand the basic principles of pharmacokinetics and how this influences the formulation and use of ophthalmic medicines.

       Understand the basic principles of pharmacodynamics and how drugs interact with targets and produce downstream effects.

       Understand how the ophthalmic medicines affect the physiological mechanisms of the eye.

       Use and understand pharmacological terminology and use in combination with physiological and anatomical  knowledge.

       Evaluate and further their knowledge using online and library resources.

            •       Develop an understanding of how to apply this knowledge to clinical situations.


20 lectures in total will be delivered describing the basic principles of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in relation to ophthalmic medicines. This will be followed by instruction on basic physiological systems related to drugs used and a breakdown of different classes of investigational drugs, including their mechanisms, side effects, contraindications and legal constraints in clinical practice. Lectures will be supplemented by 4 interactive sessions testing the students understanding and application of their knowledge in relation to use of the drugs on patients.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Analysing questions in revision sessions and information during lectures.
Group/team working
Discussion during revision sessions.
Oral communication
Students are encouraged to ask and answer questions during lectures and actively participate in scheduled revision sessions.
Problem solving
Online quizzes.
Researching background information for coursework essay.
Written communication
Coursework essay (mid-semester). Essay questions in exam.

Assessment methods

1.5 hour written exam (90%) comprising MCQs (60%) and essay (40%).  Essay submission (coursework; 10%). 

Feedback methods

Formative feedback given through e-learning quizzes and interactive sessions.  Feedback will be given on the essay submitted as coursework to aid in preparation for the exam.  Feedback on exam essay will be given in a dedicated feedback session.

Recommended reading

  • Forrester J, Dick A, McMenamin P and Lee W (2007) The Eye: Basic Science in Practice (3rd Edition).   Saunders (Chapter 6)
  • Rang HP, Dale MM, Ritter JM & Flower, R (2007) Rang & Dale’s Pharmacology (8th Edition). Churchill Livingstone (Chapters 1-3; 8-10; 12-14)
  • Bartlett, JD and Jaanus, SD (2007) Clinical Ocular Pharmacology (5th Edition). Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd (Chapters 1-4; 6,8,9, 16).


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 1.5
Lectures 24
Independent study hours
Independent study 74.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ayse Latif Unit coordinator
Susan Cochran Unit coordinator

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