University of Technology Sydney

96027 Eye and Visual Systems

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health (GEM)
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): 96028c Binocular Vision and Ocular Motility 1 AND 96029c Ocular Pathology 1 AND 96030c Introduction to Professional Practice
The lower case 'c' after the subject code indicates that the subject is a corequisite. See definitions for details.
There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


In this subject, students are provided with foundational anatomical and physiological knowledge relevant to orthoptic practice. The anatomical structures of the external and internal eye and surrounding orbit and their maintenance and nourishment systems and structures are studied. Students also learn how visual information is conducted through the visual pathway to the cortical areas involved in visual processing. Neuroanatomy and physiology relevant to the ocular system are introduced. A fundamental understanding of refractive errors, along with the principles of lenses and measurement of lens power is obtained. The learning in this subject provides the basis for all areas of learning in the course and is reinforced and built upon in both concurrent and subsequent subjects.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

27.3. Apply knowledge of optical principles to the identification and description of refractive lenses and demonstrate beginner level skill in the measurement of basic lenses.
27.5. Apply skills of inquiry individually and in groups to develop capacity for self-regulated learning in the context of anatomy and physiology relevant to orthoptic practice.
27.2. Employ knowledge of the principles of optics and the eye as an optical system and apply these to the basic correction of refractive errors of the eye.
27.4. Integrate knowledge of cellular anatomy and neural transmission to the investigation of ocular and visual functions and the consequences of any disruption to these structures and processes.
27.1. Integrate knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the eye, ocular adnexa and central nervous system including, the visual pathway in describing ocular and visual function.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

The learning outcomes for this subject are as follows:

  • Demonstrate professional behaviour and expertise in the delivery of safe, competent and responsible practice for the benefit and care of patients and the wider community. (.01)
  • Reflect on knowledge, attitudes and skills acquired for the evaluation and integration of emerging evidence into practice, promoting the growth of personal and professional learning and the education of others. (.02)
  • Analyse and synthesise knowledge of health sciences concepts and theory, and apply skills of scientific research and clinical reasoning to support decision-making in orthoptic practice. (.03)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

Eye and Visual Systems is the primary ocular anatomy and physiology subject in the Masters of Orthoptics course. This subject aims to provide students with a fundamental understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the eye and associated structures and neuroanatomy and physiology. This subject provides an essential foundation for learning in concurrent subjects; 96028 Binocular Vision and Ocular Motility 1, 96029 Ocular Pathology 1 and 96030 Introduction to Professional Practice and is further built upon in all subjects completed in the following semesters of the course.

This subject contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

  • Lifelong learning
  • Professional capacity

Teaching and learning strategies

Preparation for Learning: Students will be provided with the details of preparation activities each week through the subject’s Canvas site. Activities are designed to help students prepare for their learning in lectures and workshops by engaging them with textbook, journal and other readings materials. In addition, clinical practical classes have pre-practical reading attached, which are expected to be completed prior to attending these classes to ensure maximal time can be spent on hands-on practice.

Active Lectures: Lectures provide an introduction to topic content each week and guest lecturers are invited to share their professional expertise on particular topic areas at relevant times throughout the session. Lectures are active and require students to engage and participate in the analysis of case presentations, class discussion and debate and other active and collaborative learning methods.

Research-integrated Learning: Taking an evidence-based approach to the investigation and management of patient cases is essential for effective patient care and an important skill for Orthoptic students to develop. Current research is integrated into content provided in lectures and pre-work and students are provided opportunities in workshop classes and through assessment to read, discuss and utilise current research in clinical vision in the context of evidence-based patient care.

Collaborative Learning: As health professionals, teamwork is an essential skill to ensure patients are managed appropriately within interdisciplinary teams of health professionals. Teamwork skills are developed through collaboration with peers in active lectures and workshops, conducted in collaborative POD classrooms, as well as, when performing clinical skills in practical classes and through group assessment.

Reflective Learning: Students are encouraged to critically reflect on their learning throughout the subject to identify areas where they may improve their performance and to assist in the development of lifelong learning skills. Specific activity where reflective learning is encouraged especially when relating clinical data to the manifestation of the eye condition.

Practice-based Learning: Clinical practical classes are conducted in small groups (max. 12 students). These provide students with an opportunity to learn and develop competency in visual optics. These sessions are entirely practice-based and following a short demonstration of the skill, students are closely supervised and provided instruction and feedback, as they participate in hands-on practice of skills.

Self-directed Practice: Clinical practical classes provide students with supervised practice of clinical skills, however, to attain a sufficient level of competency in clinical skills, self-directed practice outside of class time is required. As a general guide, students are expected to spend approximately 1 hour of self-directed practice for every hour of clinical practical taught. This is important preparation for clinical placement and your OSCE exams.

Ongoing Feedback: In-class verbal feedback is an important teaching and learning strategy employed throughout the subject. Students are provided with feedback relating to the performance of clinical skills in clinical practical classes and relating to clinical reasoning and understanding of key concepts by staff facilitating workshops. Opportunities for verbal formative feedback on assignments are given prior to final submission and detailed summative feedback following final submission. Mock OSCE exams are held to provide students with formative feedback on clinical skills prior to the OSCE exams.

Content (topics)

Topics covered in this subject provide students with foundational anatomical and physiological knowledge relevant to orthoptic practice. Neuroanatomy and physiology of the eye and the visual pathway are introduced. The topics are listed the week-by-week program. Lecture and practical notes will be posted on Canvas.


Assessment task 1: Group assignment


This assignment is designed to encourage group communication and collaborative research through the group task of designing a Wiki page on an ocular anatomical structure. You are expected to expand your knowledge on the anatomy and physiology of the ocular structure you are assigned, as well as furthering your own knowledge on the other designated structures as you use the Wiki pages created by other groups as a resource for learning. This hopefully will encourage a high standard for the content and presentation of your Wiki page.


This task is aligned with the following subject learning objectives:

27.1, 27.4 and 27.5

This task is aligned with the following course learning outcomes:

.01, .02 and .03

Type: Project
Groupwork: Group, individually assessed
Weight: 40%

3000-4000 words


See criteria provided in class and on Canvas.

Assessment task 2: OSCE (must-pass component)


An OSCE is an assessment format that enables students to demonstrate components of understanding, clinical and equipment skill, clinical reasoning and communication that are not readily assessed in a written format. These exams will allow the student to demonstrate knowledge they have gained across the subject through lectures, clinical practicals and through self-directed practice.


This task is aligned with the following subject learning objectives:

27.2 and 27.3

This task is aligned with the following course learning outcomes:

.01 and .02

Type: Examination
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%

30 minutes


This exam aims to assess the student in a structure that best determines their competency for participation in a future clinical working environment, such as clinical placements. As such, the primary level of competency must relate to the patient’s safety for all examinable procedures. Students must also demonstrate that they are able to effectively complete the set tasks within the given timeframe. At this stage of the course, emphasis will be given to good levels of patient instruction and communication, demonstration that tests are conducted in a safe and effective manner so that conclusions can be drawn from findings and that results are accurately recorded. Students will additionally be assessed on their ability to interpret test results and demonstrate sound clinical reasoning to relate these results to patient scenarios. Prior to the exam students will be given the criteria for individual examinable skills.

Assessment task 3: End-Semester Online Examination


The online exam will aid determination of whether you have met the learning objectives of this subject and will give a summative assessment of your level of knowledge and understanding of the content.


This task is aligned with the following subject learning objectives:

27.1, 27.4 and 27.5

This task is aligned with the following course learning outcomes:

.01, .02 and .03

Type: Examination
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%

2 hours


Marks awarded for individual questions will be stated.

Minimum requirements

In order to pass this Subject, students are required to attend a minimum of 90% of lectures and workshops as well as 100% of clinical practicals. Students must submit all assessment tasks and achieve a minimum 50% of the subject’s total marks overall. The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) is a compulsory component of assessment and students must achieve a minimum of 50% and perform all skills safely to pass the subject.

Required texts

Coursework Assessments Policy

Coursework Assessments Procedures

Graduate School of Health Policy, Guidelines and Procedures (login required)

Recommended texts

Remington, LA. (2011) Clinical anatomy and physiology of the visual system. Butterworth Heinemann

Forrester, Dick, McMenamin, Roberts, Pearlman (2015) The Eye: Basic Sciences in Practice 4th ed. Saunders Ltd.

Kandel ER, Schwartz, JH, Jessell, TM, Siegelbaum, SA, Hudspeth, AJ. (2012) Principles of Neural Science 5th ed. McGraw-Hill

Rabbetts, R. (2007) Bennett and Rabbett's Clinical Visual Optics 4th ed. Butterworth Heinemann

Levin, LA, Nilsson, FE, Ver Hoeve, J, Wu, S, Kaufman,PL & Alm, A. (2011) Adler’s Physiology of the Eye 11th ed. Saunders, Philadelphia.

Snell, RS. & Lemp, MA. (1998) Clinical anatomy of the eye 2nd ed. Wiley