BOptom (Hons)

In the 2013 National Student Survey 98% of our BOptom (Hons) Optometry students said they were satisfied with their course, and 100% found our course stimulating.

Course overview

Optometry is concerned with the examination, diagnosis and treatment of eyes. With current changes in the NHS creating more career opportunities than ever, there has never been a better time to train to become a professional in an industry which will not only offer you a challenging and rewarding career, but also the chance to use your skills to help people.

Our professionally recognised degree has two main aims: to provide you with extensive theoretical and practical knowledge of optometry, including social and ethical aspects, and to enable you to devise original ideas and theories and to scientifically test them.

With just 34% of time spent in lectures, our course uses a variety of teaching methods, including practical demonstrations, laboratory time and clinical sessions. Making extensive use of our brand new purpose built Eye Clinic, you'll gain the clinical skills to support your learning in our dedicated optometry and dispensing teaching spaces, using some of the newest equipment available. You'll also have the opportunity to gain practical experience through visits to local hospital clinics.

Combining biology, physics, chemistry and maths into a health based professional career, you should already have the ability to understand and apply scientific principles and methods, possess a high degree of accuracy, have strong interpersonal and communication skills and an interest in keeping up to date with scientific and technological developments.

As well as being taught by our own staff who are all trained or registered as optometrists or dispensing opticians, you'll receive lectures from ophthalmologists, orthoptists, and optometrists working in laser eye clinics and those who own their own practices.

Our industry and professional links mean that you'll be kept up to date with the latest developments within the optical industry and have the chance to collaborate with industry partners on research and development projects. You will also benefit from our ongoing relationships with local charities, such as Cam Sight and Guide Dogs, giving you further opportunities to interact with different sectors of the local community.

By the time you graduate you'll be able to demonstrate a knowledge of practical competencies, particularly in the use and application of laboratory and clinical apparatus, demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical principles that underpin current practice and display skills in the recording and interpretation of patient data, including the ability to make decisions based on clinical rationale.

With 98% of our students telling us that they are satisfied with our teaching and our course overall and 100% of our graduates entering employment or further study within six months of graduating, Anglia Ruskin is the perfect place to begin your future career in Optometry.

Katie Barnes

BOptom (Hons) Optometry, Graduated 2013
Katie Barnes

As soon as I arrived at Anglia Ruskin at the undergraduate Open Day I knew it was the right university and course for me. It is a compact and friendly campus within easy reach of a beautiful city. And I was immediately convinced that I would receive remarkable tuition and support. So I started Anglia Ruskin University as an excited and passionate individual, eager at enrolling onto an Optometry degree, but nervous about being away from home, meeting new people and facing the challenges of a tough course. I am now leaving Anglia Ruskin not only with a high quality degree, but also with a wealth of technical skills and experiences to give me a solid foundation for my future career in Optometry and life in general. And just as important, I have made some very close lifelong friends!

I believe that I am leaving Anglia Ruskin as a professional, confident in my choice of career, skilled to move on to the practical aspects of my career in Optometry and ready for the challenges ahead. The course has been taught in a very effective way, providing a good balance between lecture based learning and practical experience in clinics from a very early stage. The learning time each week was intensive but not overwhelming. Each module is strategically planned to complement others and to gradually build skill, knowledge and practical awareness throughout each area of the discipline. Accompanying hospital placements add to the practical experience and strengthen theoretical learning. The lecturers and tutors have been extremely supportive, accessible and inspirational - treating me as an individual. I enjoyed being part of a close-knit year group who helped each other in both team and individual learning. I also really enjoyed the opportunity to become a teaching assistant within the department as this developed my interpersonal skills and knowledge further, whilst also benefitting other students.

Module guide

Year one core modules
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology 1

    This module introduces concepts that have a strong medical bias, such as the maintenance of health and genesis of disease states. It introduces the student to a systematic approach to the study of functional anatomy and physiology, providing a knowledge base and appropriate terminology to study human anatomy and physiology at a macroscopic, microscopic and biochemical level. It examines the essentials of human physiology, including the concepts of homeostasis, dysfunction and disease. Assessment within this module includes laboratory and physiology based practical reports, which using standard techniques, e.g. heart dissection develop both practical group-based skills in class, together with autonomy and self evaluation on the basis of analytic problem solving, which is a built in feature of the write-ups. An anatomy portfolio and an in class (timed) multiple choice exercise include elements of assessment of ethical issues.

  • Ocular Anatomy and Biochemistry

    This module describes the detailed functional anatomy of the eye and neuro-optometry, to provide an understanding of the integration of ocular structure and function. It includes preliminary studies of the effects of disruption of the normal system by intrinsic and extrinsic factors and anatomical changes occurring in ocular pathology. These topics will be built on throughout the course in the study of ocular disease and abnormality. The module also introduces the basic principles of biochemistry, with specific references to structural and functional relationships of molecules and macromolecules to include carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, proteins, nucleic acid, the control of gene expression and metabolism. Assessments will take the form of two multiple choice assessments in week 10 of each semester and one final exam at the end of second semester.

  • Geometrical, Physical and Visual Optics

    This module focuses on the principles of optical systems, lenses and the eye and forms the basis of many aspects of clinical optometry and vision science. After a study of the wave theory of light, optical techniques such as ray-tracing methods are introduced. General optical principles, such as refraction, are extended to the elementary areas of ophthalmic optics such the nature of ametropia and its correction. This is followed by the study of more advanced subjects including the theory of chromatic and monochromatic aberrations and their impact on retinal image quality. The module is delivered over two semesters and combines lectures and laboratory sessions in which students are able to investigate various optical phenomena and observe the effects of ametropia on visual performance. Assessment comprises a mid-year class-based multiple-choice test, an end-of-module examination and an assessment of students' laboratory work.

  • Theoretical and Practical Ophthalmic Lenses

    This module provides the student with an understanding of the principles of spectacle lenses and frames, so as to be able to dispense appropriate spectacles to their patients. The principles of refraction are introduced with respect to single vision lenses, and developed to include lens thickness, astigmatism, prisms and measurement of lens power, followed by more detailed analysis of lens aberrations and lens design, treated and tinted lenses, and multifocal lenses (bifocal and progressive power lenses). Frame materials and measurements, as well as legal aspects and standards for dispensing spectacles are also covered. The module is delivered over two semesters by a combination of lectures, practicals and tutorials. Assessment comprises a mid-year classroom based test, a practical assessment, and an end of year examination.

  • Clinical Optometry 1- Introduction to Practice

    This is the first of a series of clinical modules, in which, students will learn the applications of basic clinical optometric techniques in the assessment of the patient's visual status. The module is also the key to understanding the development of effective communication between practitioner and patient as well as helping to develop skills to encourage effective team building. As well as attending lectures, students will attend workshops and clinical sessions where they will put into practice what they learned during the lectures. Supervision by optometrists will ensure expert advice on how best to master certain clinical techniques and communication skills. This module will be assessed using a coursework component and an assessment of clinical skills where students will be asked to perform the skills they have learned during the module.

Year two core modules
  • Clinical Optometry 2 -Skills for Optometric Practice

    This module covers the theory and practice of optometric instrumentation and investigative techniques whilst continuing to develop refraction skills. Students will learn the techniques and demonstrate effective ability in the use of optometric instrumentation, as well as how to conduct an eye examination and how to interpret clinical findings. More advanced optometric investigative techniques are introduced later in the module. Students will learn how to communicate their findings to patients and other eye care or medical professionals. Students will be assessed using end of year written examinations and clinical assessments comprising a practical assessment of clinical competence, a viva assessing their clinical knowledge and through patient examinations in second semester.

  • Monocular, Binocular and Paediatric Vision

    This module provides students with i) a basic scientific foundation to the study of human vision and perception and ii) a basic clinical foundation to the study of paediatric optometry and binocular vision. The progression is from studying the scientific foundations of monocular and binocular vision to the study of the basic clinical principles of paediatric optometry and binocular vision, including normal and abnormal binocular vision conditions, their diagnosis and correction, and the optometric examination of children. The module covers aspects of visual psychophysics, neurophysiology and neuro-imaging as tools used in the study of Vision Science. Topics covered will include spatial vision, temporal vision, binocular vision and stereopsis, colour vision, eye movements, motion perception, perceptual constancies and illusions. Then, the student will study the basic principles of paediatric optometry and binocular vision, based on a thorough understanding of the principles of functional anatomy and optics of the visual system. It develops the theme of abnormalities of binocular vision, their diagnosis and correction. It covers the optometric examination of children. The laboratory and/or seminar sessions will provide time for students to participate actively in learning particular skills, or in carrying out particular tasks, which will support their learning of theoretical or clinical concepts.

  • Clinical Optometry 3 - Introduction to Professional Practice

    This module introduces the student to the various types of contact lenses and to the procedures used to assess their suitability. The use of solutions used in conjunction with contact lenses. The module teaches students how to conduct an eye examination, how to interpret clinical finding and how to dispense appropriate optical aids by carrying out eye examinations on volunteer patients. The learning experience is based on formal lectures, practical classes and patient examinations. Students will be assessed using end of year written examination and clinical assessments comprising of practical assessment through patient examinations throughout the semester.

  • Pharmacology & Pathology

    This module builds on the knowledge gained in year one in functional anatomy and physiology and ocular anatomy to give students an understanding of pathological processes relevant to optometrists. The module introduces the student to the principles of pharmacology, based on an understanding of the functional anatomy and physiology of the body, in general, and the eye, in particular. Students are also introduced to important ocular manifestations of systemic disease. The principles of therapeutic drug use in the treatment of ocular emergencies and disorders of the eye provide a key focus to the programme. The learning experience is based on formal lectures, student-led presentations, tutorials and practical sessions Students will be assessed with course work assessments throughout the module and an end of module examination.

  • Introduction to Ocular Disease

    This module builds on the knowledge gained in year one in functional anatomy and physiology and ocular anatomy. It adds to the knowledge gained commensurately in year two of pathological processes relevant to optometrists and of the principles of pharmacology, to introduce the concept of diseases and abnormalities of the eye. An introduction to clinical presentation and the optometric and medical management of such diseases and abnormalities will be given. Students will be assessed with course work assessment during the module and an end of module examination.

Year three core modules
  • Undergraduate Major Project

    The individual Final Project module allows students to engage in a substantial piece of individual research and / or experimental work, focussed on a topic relevant to their specific discipline.

  • Clinical Optometry 4 - Advanced Optometric Practice

    The aim of this module is to build on the foundations of optometric practice covered in Years 1 & 2 of the course in order to develop the knowledge and application of knowledge in the detection and management of ocular disease. This module will extend the knowledge of ocular disease acquired in Clinical Optometry 3. Students will learn how to interpret the presenting symptoms and signs of patients attending with ocular disease and how to manage such patients. Management of patients with ocular disease will be considered further with the study of low vision. The module will cover causes of visual impairment, procedures for testing and assessment of patients, evaluation of remaining visual function and consideration of the full range of optical and non-optical visual aids and services available. Students will learn the basic principles of epidemiology and the application of acquired knowledge to the process of decision-making. The module will also address the sources of and strategies for dealing with errors and uncertainties in clinical decision-making. Students will be assessed using end of semester examination and during semester coursework assessments.

  • Clinical Optometry 5 - Professional Practice

    This module develops the concept of contact lens design and application in a more complex context than in level 5 of the course and examines their use in a variety of optical situations, as well as the consequences of long term wear. Third year Optometry students will spend up to 6 hours per week in the Optometry Clinic performing eye examinations and contact lens appointments on patients. The students will dispense the patients with appropriate spectacles where required. The module will be assessed by a combination of formal examination, continuous assessment of eye examinations and contact lens appointments, a one to one eye examination and by 2 viva voce eye examinations.

  • Optometry, Society and Environment

    This module considers the place of the optometric profession in society. This is achieved by examining the laws and ethical codes pertaining to optometry, and considering their effects on optometric services and patients. Students will study the relationship between Acts of Parliament, Statutory Instruments and professional guidelines, and examine the influence of Parliament, the General Optical Council and the College of Optometrists on optometric practice. The module includes a study of basic ethical theory which will enable students to resolve ethical dilemmas and evaluate existing professional guidance. Students will also examine the importance of vision in society by considering the impact of vision on common social and workplace activities such as driving and computer usage. This will include the effects on vision of lighting and radiation along with other environmental factors and hazards.


Assessment is via a mix of examination, practical examination (OSCEs), assessment of clinical competence, essays, problem-solving exercises, presentations and data analysis.

Special features

Our University Eye Clinic includes:
  • 15 fully equipped testing rooms with slitlamps, keratometers, refraction units phoropter heads and a range of test charts including computerised, projector and light boxes.
  • A room dedicated to low vision including many aids for the assessment and support of visually impaired patients.
  • A room dedicated to Visual stress and colorimetry.
  • 2 special equipment rooms including:
- Gold standard screening machines such as the Zeiss Humphreys field analyser
- Digital 3D OCT (Optical Coherence Tomographer) which can take very detailed images of the back of the eye along with scanning the retina and producing an 3D image.
- Digital slitlamp used to take detailed images of the front of the eye used mainly for the fitting and assessing of contact lenses.

Samnika Kalsi

BOptom Optometry
Samnika Kalsi

During the first year of the course, through modules such as Human Anatomy and Physiology and Clinical Optometry 1 you learn the basic theories and skills of Optometry and Ophthalmic Dispensing practice. You then move into the second year where you refine your skills and knowledge. In the third year you get to work in the on-campus eye clinic putting what you've learnt into practice on members of the public under expert supervision. The course has helped me to discover a passion for the medicine side of Optometry, and I really enjoyed modules such as Introduction to Ocular Disease and Pharmacology and Pathology.

One of the best things about studying at Anglia Ruskin is the size of the department and staff to student ratio. The department has a really personal feel, with students and lecturers knowing each other on first name terms - which certainly makes it easier to knock on a lecturers' door and ask them a question when you need to. The equipment and teaching facilities in the University Clinic are also top class, and lectures, seminars and practical sessions are always well organised.

Ali Subratty

BOptom (Hons) Optometry

Optometry is challenging as well as interesting. You will have the opportunity to explore the various aspects of the science of light with respect to vision and in addition, develop mathematical skills which will help you in practice. Furthermore, if you like the thought of helping people, this course offers the human touch which means you will have to deal with patients while delivering the best standards as a healthcare professional.

Links with industry and professional recognition

Our accredited course meets all the requirements set by the GOC. Industry and professional links mean that our students are kept up to date with the latest developments within the optical industry. It also gives out students a chance to collaborate with industry partners on research and development projects.

To be eligible to register with the General Optical Council, you will need to complete the pre-registration period (approximately one year) as a pre-registration optometrist under the supervision of a registered optometrist, then successfully complete the professional qualifying examinations.

Associated careers

As an optometrist, you can work as an employed optometrist or a self-employed optometrist. You could have your own practice, work in an hospital, work in the armed forces, become an academic or a researcher and work in international optical companies.

International Students

For international students studying optometry in the UK, our College (of Optometrists, UK) offers sponsorship following completion of their degree, to enable students to remain in the UK to complete their pre-registration period and professional qualifying examinations. The process for this is outlined on the College of Optometrists website.

Note that Anglia Ruskin University does not provide sponsorship for the pre-registration period.

Canadian Students

Registration as an optometrist in Canada requires students to obtain an appropriate degree from an accredited university in Canada or the US (which are all postgraduate qualifications) OR an overseas qualification from the UK which includes our optometry degree plus registration with the General Optical Council. However, in order to register with the Canadian authority, students obtaining qualifications in optometry from an overseas institution must also have successfully completed either:

1.Three complete academic years of full-time undergraduate university study prior to entering an optometry school and a four year optometry degree.


2.Four year optometry degree followed by three years of optometric work experience outside Canada.

Note that overseas qualified optometrists must complete, in addition to the above, further bridging courses in Canada.
Main requirements:
  • Grades AAB at A level with grades AA to come from 2 Subjects from: Maths, Physics, Biology, Chemistry at first sitting or first resit
  • 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, including English and Mathematics at grade C and either Physics at grade B or Double Award Science at grades BB
  • If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificated level of proficiency of at least IELTS 6.5 ( Academic level) or equivalent English Language qualification, as recognised by Anglia Ruskin University
  • An Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Disclosure and registration with the General Optical Council (GOC) will also be required
  • This course does not accept applications for deferred entry.
  • This course is available for entry to year 1 only
Alternative qualifications accepted:
  • A First degree with Honours in a relevant Science subject. (Ophthalmic Dispensing, Optical Management, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biomedical Science, Pharmacology, Mathematics, Physics) at a minimum final classification of 2:1 and with a minimum overall percentage of 65%
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum of 33 points is accepted. This must include three from the following: Maths 6 points at Higher Level, Chemistry 6 points at Higher Level, Physics 6 points at Higher Level, Biology 6 points at Higher Level. In addition, three further subjects are required at Higher or Standard Level at a minimum of 5 points each
  • Grades AAB from Scottish Advanced Highers, with grades AA to come from 2 Subjects from: Maths, Physics, Biology, Chemistry at first sitting or first resit
  • Grades AAAAB from Irish Leaving Certificate at Higher level , at least 3 must come from: Maths, Physics, Biology, Chemistry at first sitting or first resit
  • International Baccalaureate Certificates are accepted, this must include a minimum of 3 subjects at Higher level from: Maths, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, at a minimum of 6 points each
  • A level General Studies is not accepted for entry to this course
  • BTEC Qualifications are not accepted for entry to this course
  • Access to HE Diplomas are not accepted for entry to this course
  • Scottish Highers are not accepted for entry to this course. We can only accept Scottish Advanced Highers
  • Foundation degrees are not accepted for entry to this course
Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email admissions@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

Entry requirements listed are for September 2015/January 2016 entry. Entry requirements for other intakes may differ.

Please note all tariff points must come from A levels. Points from AS levels cannot be counted towards the total tariff points required for entry to this course.

International and EU applicants

We welcome applications from International and EU students. Please select one of the links below for English language and country-specific entry requirement information.
If you do not meet the above requirements, then there is an alternative. Consider entry to the course via an integrated foundation year at Cambridge Ruskin International College, an associate college of Anglia Ruskin, which is located on our Cambridge campus.

How to apply

UK & EU applicants

Apply via UCAS

International applicants
Apply online

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