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Masters Degrees (Optometrist)

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A distance-learning course run by Aston University. Recent legislation has extended independent prescribing rights to optometrists, subject to the satisfactory completion of a General Optical Council (GOC) accredited training course. Read more
A distance-learning course run by Aston University.

Recent legislation has extended independent prescribing rights to optometrists, subject to the satisfactory completion of a General Optical Council (GOC) accredited training course. The restriction to the range of medicines that can be used and conditions that can be treated for IP optometrists is by reference to their competence:

‘Optometrist Independent Prescribers should be able to prescribe any licensed medicine for ocular conditions, affecting the eye and adnexa, within the recognised area of expertise and competence of the optometrist.’

Structure

Aston University is offering a distance learning course in Independent Prescribing for qualified optometrists. The course consists of two 20 credit modules delivered by distance learning using our e-learning environment, Blackboard. Each module is made up of online lectures assessed by unseen online tests and coursework.

The first module is entitled ‘Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics’ and covers topics including ocular immunology, pharmacology and ocular therapeutic drugs, frameworks of prescribing, prescribing safely and professionally.

The second module, taken after completion of the first module, is entitled ‘Prescribing for disorders of the eye’ and covers topics including evidence based practice and glaucoma in relation to independent prescribing.

A period of Learning in Practice

After successful completion of the two theory based modules and a practical assessment, optometrists are required to undertake practical training in the form of a clinical placement in conjunction with an Independent Prescriber (e.g. an ophthalmologist in a hospital eye department). To achieve Independent Prescriber status the optometrist must gain at least 12 days of clinical training.
For those who are already registered as Additional Supply or Supplementary Prescribers, the placement period required is 7 days.

Teaching methods

Each module consists of around ten ‘lectures’ delivered by distance learning via the Blackboard platform. Most topics are delivered by Powerpoint lectures with speech. Other lectures are delivered in a text-based format.

The first module covers aspects of ocular therapeutics, including the pharmacology and use of ocular therapeutic drugs.

The syllabus for the second module encompasses prescribing for ocular disease. Upon successful completion of the second module’s exam, optometrists will be required to undertake a clinical skills practical assessment at Aston University. The practical element will involve demonstration of slit lamp skills, contact tonometry and slit lamp binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy along with some objective structured clinical exam type questions.

Practice-based learning

Following completion of the two theoretical modules, trainees undertake a period of practice-based training. The aim of this component of the training is to develop competency in the practice of prescribing and to facilitate the integration of prescribing theory and practice with the conditions that the trainee will subsequently manage. This training will typically take place in the Hospital Eye Service under the supervision of a designated ‘mentor’ ophthalmologist. It is the responsibility of the trainee to arrange the clinical practice placement.

For IP the Clinical Placement comprises a minimum of 12 days (24 sessions of not less than 3 hours).

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The MSc Clinical Optometry (Advanced Practice in Health and Social Care) provides optometrists working in specialist practice with evidence-based knowledge and practice of advanced level primary eye care. Read more
The MSc Clinical Optometry (Advanced Practice in Health and Social Care) provides optometrists working in specialist practice with evidence-based knowledge and practice of advanced level primary eye care.

Who is it for?

The course is for optometrists working in specialist practice (in the hospital or community setting) who wish to build up a portfolio of training in evidence-based knowledge and practice of advanced level primary eye care.

Students are usually UK-registered optometrists who must satisfy all legal requirements to be eligible to practise as optometrists in the UK, and should be registered with the General Optical Council. Overseas candidates will be accepted on an ad hoc basis providing the individual's undergraduate syllabus and clinical responsibilities are similar to those of a UK Optometrist.

All entrants to the Programme must be in possession of a relevant first degree.

Objectives

The MSc in Advanced Practice in Health and Social Care (Clinical Optometry) has an international reputation for quality and is at the forefront of continuing education in clinical optometry - you will acquire cutting-edge skills and knowledge from leading UK experts in a dynamic learning environment.

The key purpose of the programme is the management of patients (with other medical disciplines if appropriate) and the expansion of the optometrist's role in ocular therapeutics within the hospital and community specialist practice setting.

The programme integrates clinical and theoretical knowledge, making extensive use of expert practitioners. It enables optometrists to continue development and accumulation of knowledge and expertise relating to ocular health care and vision science during their professional career. For some modules, you will learn alongside other health care practitioners enriching the learning experience.

By completing the MSc in APHSC (Clinical Optometry) optometrists will have demonstrated original application of knowledge to the field of clinical optometry and clinical decision-making in relation to practice. There is a choice of exit routes at PG Certificate and PG Diploma level and modules can also be taken as stand-alone Continuing Professional Development courses.

Academic facilities

The Division of Optometry opened brand-new, purpose-built clinic, City Sight in 2015. These state-of-the-art facilities provide a comprehensive range of services and educational resources in vision sciences for our students, researchers and patients.

There will be extensive use of City’s Virtual Learning Platform – Moodle – for a more interactive learning experience.

Teaching and learning

Postgraduate taught and distance learning modules offered by the School are designed to satisfy the rapidly changing academic, clinical and professional development needs of hospital and community optometrists working in specialist practice. Teaching and assessment methods are tailored to the learning objectives of each module component. The range of teaching methods is wide and includes lectures (face-to-face and online), tutorials, advanced clinical training, clinical demonstrations, videos and discussion of clinical scenarios. Discussion forums, interactive seminars, peer reviewing work-based examples and clinically focussed critical reflections via a case review process are also included.

Purely didactic modules are examined by means of multiple-choice question papers, whereas modules with a significant practical element may also have an objective structured clinical examination or a test of visual recognition of clinical signs and/or patient case scenarios. A professional practice portfolio / assignment may also be part of the assessment criteria.

Modules

Modules within the programme will include decision-making, resolving conflict, resource allocation and ethical issues. You will also be able to develop your theoretical, methodological and research skills to enhance your ability to critically evaluate research and the clinical evidence base.

The programme provides a range of modules which include 15, 30 and 60-credit modules at Master’s level. The programme provides you with a choice of exit routes and most modules can also be taken as stand-alone courses.

Each 15 PG credit module includes 150 hours (15 PG credits) in duration with approximately 30% of the study requires attendance at City for face-to-face learning in either lectures/tutorials or workshops.

You will study two core modules, and can choose a further five modules from a choice of five discipline-specific modules and two elective modules. If you are part-time, you should aim to take two modules per term over two years. If you are full-time, you take four modules per term over one year.

Depending on the module, you should be aiming to study approximately:
-20 hours perweek if full-time
-Four hours per week if part-time

Core modules
-Research Methods and Applied Data Analysis (online) (30 credits)
-Critical approaches to advanced practice (15 credits)
-Dissertation (60 credits)

Elective modules - you will choose a further five elective modules. Elective modules available include:
-Principles of Therapeutics (15 credits)
-Principles of Prescribing (15 credits)
-Independent Prescribing (15 credits)
-Professional Certificate in Glaucoma (15 credits)
-Professional Certificate in Low Vision (15 credits)
-Leadership for practice and service delivery (15 credits)
-Management and leadership in Health care (15 credits)
-Contact Lens Practice (15 credits)

Career prospects

The course is for hospital optometrists or community optometrists working in specialist practice. It provides an opportunity to enhance career prospects in the context of hospital or specialist community optometry through gaining both an academic qualification and a professional qualification with the College of Optometrists and the General Optical Council.

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The MSc in Clinical Optometry is designed to satisfy the rapidly changing academic, clinical and professional development needs of optometrists working in practice. Read more
The MSc in Clinical Optometry is designed to satisfy the rapidly changing academic, clinical and professional development needs of optometrists working in practice.

Who is it for?

The MSc in Clinical Optometry has an international reputation for quality and is at the forefront of continuing education in clinical optometry - you will acquire cutting-edge skills and knowledge form leading UK experts in a dynamic learning environment.

The programme will provide you with an opportunity to enhance your career prospects in this field through gaining both an academic qualification and a professional qualification with either the General Optical Council or the College of Optometrists (where appropriate).

Objectives

The MSc in Clinical Optometry has been designed to provide optometrists with up-to-date research-based and theoretical knowledge of a wide range of fields, particularly in primary care optometry. It is a flexible, taught postgraduate modular based programme, delivered on an intensive three-day modular programme design.

Emphasis is placed on 'shared-care' or 'co-management' of patients with other medical disciplines and the expansion of the optometrist's role in ocular therapeutics. The programme integrates clinical and theoretical knowledge, making extensive use of expert practitioners. It enables optometrists to continue development and accumulation of knowledge and expertise relating to ocular health care and vision science during their professional careers.

The programme provides a range of modules including 15 and 60 credit modules at Master’s level. There is a choice of exit routes a PG Cert and PG Dip level, modules can also be taken as stand-alone Continuing Professional Development courses.

Academic facilities

The Division of Optometry opened a brand-new, purpose-built ophthalmic clinic City Sight in 2015. These state-of-the-art facilities provide a comprehensive range of services and educational resources in vision sciences for our students, researchers and patients.

There will be extensive use of City's Virtual Learning Platform – Moodle for a more interactive learning experience.

Teaching and learning

A blended approach to learning and teaching is adopted including institution-based taught modules; e-learning and work-based learning. Modules are led by experienced practitioners and leading researchers, using a variety of direct and interactive teaching methods. You will learn in large and small multi-disciplinary groups and will be supported and encouraged to participate in independent learning.

The range of teaching methods is wide and includes lectures (face-to-face; on-line), tutorials, advanced clinical training, clinical demonstrations, videos and discussion of clinical scenarios and action learning sets. Discussion forums, interactive seminars, peer reviewing work-based examples and clinically focussed critical reflections via a case review process are also included.

Practical classes and clinical skills laboratories provide opportunities to develop practical skills and demonstrate techniques covered in lectures. Many lectures are delivered by external specialists, giving access to current issues, research and methods in the field.

A three-hour examination is taken 8-10 weeks after the module. Methods of assessment vary between modules, reflecting their differences in structure and content. The modular examinations include any combination of the following:
-A multiple choice question paper (normally including questions from each lecturer on the module)
-Visual recognition and interpretation of clinical signs tests (VRICS) (involving analysis of a series of slides/photographs)
-Patient management case scenarios
-An objective structured clinical examination (OSCE)
-Professional practice portfolio
-Minilabs
-Peer-reviewed publication

Some modules have more than one assessment component and the weighting for each assessment component is outlined clearly within the module specification.

Modules

The programme provides a range of modules which include 15, 30 and 60 credit modules at Master’s level. The programme provides you with a choice of exit routes but modules can also be taken as stand-alone courses.

Each 15 PG credit module includes 150 hours (15 PG credits) in duration with approximately 30% of the study requires attendance at City for face-to-face learning in either lectures/tutorials or workshops.

Depending on the module, you should be aiming to study approximately:20 hours/week if full-time. 4 hours/week if part-time.

Core modules
-Research Methods and Applied Data Analysis (30 credits)
-Dissertation (60 credits) - You may begin carrying out your dissertation during the year but you are only able to submit it once you have completed all the taught modules successfully.

Elective modules - alternatively students can take modules from this Masters degree as standalone CPPD (Continuing Personal and Professional Development) courses. In this case, course costs might vary.
-Binocular Vision (15 credits)
-Professional Certificate in Glaucoma (15 credits)
-Professional Higher Certificate in Contact Lenses (30 credits)
-Professional Certificate in Medical Retina
-Critical Thinking in Ophthalmic Practice (15 credits)
-Paediatric Optometry (15 credits)
-Professional Certificate in Low Vision (15 credits)
-Principles of therapeutics (15 credits)
-Principles of prescribing (15 credits)
-Independent prescribing (15 credits)
-Refractive Surgery (15 credits)

Career prospects

Optometrists are equipped to provide enhanced clinical care to patients, particularly in the field of ocular therapeutics – they can choose to become an additional supply optometrist or an independent prescribing as part of your MSc training. Students opt to complete the College of Optometrists' Professional Certificate in Glaucoma, Medical Retina and Low Vision or the College of Optometrists’ Higher Professional Certificate in Contact Lenses all of which enhance career opportunities whether within the HES or in practice.

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This fully online programme consists of two 30 credit modules; 'Principles of Pharmacology and Prescribing' and 'Assessment, management and treatment of ocular conditions' and will prepare GOC registered Optometrists to undertake the Clinical Placement and proceed to The College of Optometrists Common Final Assessment in Therapeutics. Read more
This fully online programme consists of two 30 credit modules; 'Principles of Pharmacology and Prescribing' and 'Assessment, management and treatment of ocular conditions' and will prepare GOC registered Optometrists to undertake the Clinical Placement and proceed to The College of Optometrists Common Final Assessment in Therapeutics. This programme has been designed in collaboration with Ophthalmologists, Pharmacists and Independent Prescribing Optometrists. Our course team have many years experience in teaching optometry and vision science to undergraduate and post-graduate students at Ulster. This programme compliments and extends our current General Optical Council approved BSc (Hons) Optometry course which has been producing high quality graduates for over 16 years.

Visit the website: https://www.ulster.ac.uk/courses/course-finder/201617/theory-of-independent-prescribing-for-optometrists-12763

Course detail

This is a Distance Learning course and students access learning material via a virtual learning environment. 'elearning' is an excellent route for postgraduate learning as it gives unique flexibility and ownership of how and when you learn. It is a different experience from traditional face to face learning and is especially suited to adults who like to learn independently and are self-motivated. This course has been specifically designed with the elearner in mind, so learning material is appropriately displayed and students are encouraged to participate in discussion boards, and to contribute to online chats and are given regular small tasks to complete so learning is broken down into manageable segments.

- Purpose -

This online course will allow registered Optometrists to increase their knowledge and skills in the area of Ocular Prescribing and Therapeutics.

- Teaching and learning assessment -

The programme will comprise a variety of teaching and learning methods. Primarily delivered on-line with regular interactive discussion boards and one optional face-to-face session in the second module. Each module will comprise 12 fully online lectures supplemented with additional reading, structured discussion boards and assessment, appropriately directed to meet each learning outcome.

Assessment will comprise a variety of methods including examination of knowledge, skills and reflection on the material using written assignments, multiple choice questions (MCQS), Visual Identification and Management of Ophthalmic Conditions (VIMOCs), contribution to structured discussion boards and case studies with reflection on practice.

Work placement / study abroad

Ulster University will provide the theoretical element of the Independent Prescribing programme. It will not be involved with the Clinical Placement element of the course. Ulster will not be responsible for arranging a mentor/supervisor for the student, arranging the clinical placements or examining hospital placement logbooks.

Career options

This qualification will allow the Optometrist to increase their scope of practice and manage and treat a wider range of ocular conditions.

How to apply: https://www.ulster.ac.uk/apply/how-to-apply#pg

Why study at Ulster?

1. Over 92% of our graduates are in work or further study six months after graduation.
2. We are a top UK university for providing courses with a period of work placement.
3. Our teaching and the learning experience we deliver are rated at the highest level by the Quality Assurance Agency.
4. We are an international university with more than 2,000 international students from over 80 countries and Alumni from 121 countries.
5. More than 4,000 students from over 50 countries have successfully completed eLearning courses at Ulster University.

Flexible payment

To help spread the cost of your studies, tuition fees can be paid back in monthly instalments while you learn. If you study for a one-year, full-time master’s, you can pay your fees up-front, in one lump sum, or in either five or ten equal monthly payments. If you study for a master’s on a part-time basis (e.g. over three years), you can pay each year’s fees up-front or in five or ten equal monthly payments each year. This flexibility allows you to spread the payment of your fees over each academic year. Find out more by visiting http://www.ulster.ac.uk/learnyourway

Scholarships

A comprehensive range of financial scholarships, awards and prizes are available to undergraduate, postgraduate and research students. Scholarships recognise the many ways in which our students are outstanding in their subject. Individuals may be able to apply directly or may automatically be nominated for awards. Visit the website: https://www.ulster.ac.uk/apply/fees-and-finance/scholarships

English Language Tuition

CELT offers courses and consultations in English language and study skills to Ulster University students of all subjects, levels and nationalities. Students and researchers for whom English is an additional language can access free CELT support throughout the academic year: https://www.ulster.ac.uk/international/english-language-support

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The programme is based in the School of Optometry and Vision Science, which has continued to pioneer high-quality new developments in optometric education, and it is recognised both nationally and internationally for the excellence of its courses, graduates and research. Read more
The programme is based in the School of Optometry and Vision Science, which has continued to pioneer high-quality new developments in optometric education, and it is recognised both nationally and internationally for the excellence of its courses, graduates and research.

Professional Accreditation

This module carries 20 credits at level 7, and is accredited for the Professional Certificate in Glaucoma for the College of Optometrists.

Modules

Distance learning lectures:
-Classification, terminology and clinical features
-Epidemiology and risk factors
-Examination of the anterior segment
-Pachymetry
-Tonometry
-Visual fields
-Examination of the optic nerve head and retinal nerve fibre layer
-Differential diagnosis
-Detecting changes in clinical status
-Patient information and support
-Guidelines and landmark studies
-Clinical governance

Practical workshops:
-Binocular indirect biomicroscopy and optic nerve head assessment
-Contact tonometry
-Pachymetry
-Van Herick and introduction to gonioscopy

Learning activities and assessment

The course is delivered by distance learning lectures, and a practical workshop at the university. Assessment is via written examination and a practical station-type examination.

Career support and prospects

The University is committed to helping students develop and enhance employability and this is an integral part of many programmes. Specialist support is available throughout the course from Career and Employability Services including help to find part-time work while studying, placements, vacation work and graduate vacancies. Students are encouraged to access this support at an early stage and to use the extensive resources on the Careers website.

Discussing options with specialist advisers helps to clarify plans through exploring options and refining skills of job-hunting. In most of our programmes there is direct input by Career Development Advisers into the curriculum or through specially arranged workshops.

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