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Optometry / Optaiméadracht

DT224

What is... Optometry?

Optometrists (Ophthalmic Opticians) are health care professionals who provide primary eye care services. They carry out eye examinations to diagnosis vision defects including myopia (shortsight), hyperopia (longsight), astigmatism and presbyopia and prescribe spectacles. The optometrist’s eye examination will detect eye diseases such as cataract, glaucoma and age related macular degeneration. Optometrists are also able to detect ocular signs of systemic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure and diabetes. Patients are referred to doctors by optometrists if medical attention is required. Optometrists in Ireland do not treat eye disease - this is done by the medical profession.

What are my... Career Opportunities?

After graduation, you are required to pass clinical examinations run by the Association of Optometrists, Ireland. Success in these examinations earns you the qualification F.A.O.I. (Fellow of the Association of Optometrists, Ireland). Success in the BSc Optometry and AOI clinical examinations allows you to register with Optical Registration Board.  Registration with the Optical Registration Board entitles you to practise as an Optometrist. Most newly qualified Optometrists work in established practices in Ireland or the UK. 

What other options do I have after completion?

  • Some graduates chose to start their own optometric practices
  • Opportunities also exist to undertake industrial research and to work in hospitals (usually abroad)
  • Graduates have pursued higher research degrees (Masters and Doctoral degrees) through DIT

The U.S.A. and Canada do not accept Irish (or British) qualifications. North American Optometrists treat eye disease and further study is therefore required.

Learning Outcomes: What will I Study?

The first year of the Optometry course focuses on the relevant science subjects necessary for optometric training. Clinical teaching commences in year 1 with Vision Science, which aims to equip the student with some of the core clinical skills necessary for the routine eye examination. The clinical training increases throughout the course.

In the third and fourth year of the programme students are taught how to apply their scientific knowledge in a modern, purpose built clinic, the National Optometry Centre (N.O.C.), based at the DIT Kevin Street, with state of the art facilities and equipment.

Students learn to:

  • Perform an eye examination to determine if spectacles are required
  • Choose suitable spectacle frames and lenses based on a detailed knowledge of a wide-range of optical appliances
  • Fit contact lenses
  • Identify eye related  disease so that a patient may be appropriately managed and referred if necessary
  • Carry out specialised clinics in: Low Vision, Aged Vision, Paediatrics, Binocular Vision
  • Use specialised ophthalmic diagnostic and imaging instrumentation

Students at the end of the 4th year spend a period of 5 months (January - May) working in an Optometric practice under supervision (Students are responsible for their own upkeep during this period). This is designed to give the student workplace experience and skills and to provide them with future employment prospects.

Module Listing

Year One

  • Vision Science
  • Ophthalmic Optics & Dispensing
  • Geometrical Optics
  • Physical Optics
  • Physics for Health Science
  • Cell Biology
  • Histology, Anatomy & Physiology
  • Anatomy and Physiology of the eye
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics

Year Two

  • Clinical Optometry
  • Optical Dispensing
  • Binocular vision
  • Contact Lens Practice
  • Ocular Biochemistry
  • Medical Physiology
  • Physiology of Vision
  • Experimental Statistics
  • Introduction to Diseases of the Eye and Pharmacology

Year Three

  • Primary Eye Care Clinic
  • Advanced Clinical Techniques
  • Contact Lens Practice
  • Binocular Vision
  • Diseases of the Eye
  • Ocular & General Pharmacology
  • Physiology of Vision
  • Intercultural Communications for Eyecare practitioners and Professional studies

Year Four

  • Primary Eye Care Clinic
  • Contact Lens Clinic
  • Environmental Optometry
  • Paediatric Optometry
  • Vision Rehabilitation
  • Optometric Practice Management
  • Topics in Modern Optometry
  • Project
  • Supervised Practice

Are there study abroad options?

Graduates have been accepted in UK universities to pursue Postgraduate degrees. Further study in the USA and Canada can be undertaken to attain registration in those jurisdictions.

Further Information

School of Physics

T: 01 402 4751 (Eva Doyle, Head of Optometry)

T: 01 402 4785 (Dr Veronica O’Dwyer)

F: 01 402 4915

E: eva.doyle@dit.ie

E: veronica.odwyer@dit.ie

Wwww.dit.ie/physics

“I chose Optometry as I was interested in science, wanted to work with people and make a difference, in their lives. DIT was a great place to study; the class sizes are small so it was a friendly, close knit community. Lecturers are available to answer any questions, and the National Optometry Centre has amazing facilities for practical work. Through DIT I was introduced to working in sustainable development in vision care. I spent some time in Mozambique, and then lectured for a year with the Malawi School of Optometry. Both were amazing opportunities. Now I work in private practice in the family business while pursuing a Masters in Clinical Optometry.”

Graduate – Class of 2009