The School of Optometry and Vision Science offers the Bachelor of Vision Science and the Vision Science major within the Bachelor of Science (Science and Advanced Science programs). They also offer the Bachelor of Vision Science in conjunction with the Master of Clinical Optometry.
Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Clinical Optometry
In New South Wales, the only program for optometrists is conducted by the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of New South Wales.
Graduates of the program, which extends for five years, are admitted to the Bachelor of Vision Science/Master of Clinical Optometry. The first three years will comprise of the Bachelor of Vision Science followed by the two year Master of Clinical Optometry. They are eligible for registration as optometrists under the various Acts of Parliament which control the profession in the Australian States and Territories and New Zealand.
Optometrists' advice is sought by people with vision and eye-care problems and by public and industrial organisations seeking to improve the community's ocular health and visual welfare.
Career Paths and Prospects
Optometrist's advice is sought by people with vision and eye-care problems and by public and industrial organisations seeking to improve the community's ocular health and visual welfare.
Many graduates obtain full-time employment in the Sydney metropolitan area, although this cannot be guaranteed for all new graduates. There are excellent employment opportunities in country areas and interstate. The UNSW degree is recognised throughout Australia, New Zealand, and most parts of Asia.
Academic Teaching and Research
A career in academic teaching is available, particularly to those with higher degrees in Optometry and/or Vision Science.
On graduation, optometrists may enter private practice on their own behalf, in partnership with a colleague, or as an employee in an established practice
As employees, graduates may expect a starting salary greater than that of most other university graduates. In private practice the upper limit of income is determined primarily by an individual's ability and energy.
One of the great rewards of the profession is the independence that it offers, the prospect of running your own business, and the satisfaction of contributing to the welfare of the community.
With each patient, optometrists carry out a full eye examination using a variety of tests and procedures. They; prescribe and provide spectacles, contact lenses, visual training, optical aids and advice necessary for the patient's well-being; detect, diagnose and manage eye disease and conditions related to general health; advise on the conditions under which patients use their vision for their occupation and recreation.
Specialities of clinical optometry include paediatrics, contact lenses, occupational optometry, public health optometry, co-management (shared care), low vision, sports vision, behavioural optometry and binocular vision.
Industry and Government
In industry, optometrists are called upon to advise on the protection of vision. They also analyse the visual demands of a task and advise on vision standards in order that the comfort and efficiency of employees can be improved.
Optometrists participate in industrial safety programs, and advise on the visual capabilities needed for particular tasks.
In addition, optometrists work closely with road safety organisations, applying visual science to problems such as visual standards for motorists, vehicle design and highway lighting.
Bachelor of Vision Science
If the Bachelor of Vision Science is taken as a standalone degree, the duration is 3 years.
Bachelor of Science BSc (Science and Advanced Science programs)- major in Vision Science
Graduates of the program, which extends for three or four years, are admitted to the degree of Bachelor of Science.
What is Vision Science?
Vision Science is the science of how we see and includes the applied technology we use to help us see better. This major is designed to develop scientists who can work in ophthalmic industries to create better instruments and technologies for vision and vision based aspects of other industries. You can select minors from a wide range of topic areas to help you build innovative and marketable skills.
Why Choose the Vision Science major?
The Vision Science major within the Bachelor of Science provides students with a strong ability to understand how the visual system works and how technology can be used to maintain or improve its function. This major, when combined with selected electives from other schools, allows the student to build a unique and marketable skills portfolio.
Career Paths and Prospects
Vision Science is a new field with a wide variety of career options. Career opportunities are available in commercial businesses that focus on vision research and the application of vision science to industry. Particularly, graduates with a Vision Science major will be able to pursue careers that focus on:
The development and application of vision correction devices - such as those that correct refractive errors (eg. contact lenses and spectacles), drug development, medical devices (e.g. ocular implants) and imaging. For example, optical lens and contact lens manufacturers will require employees with a Vision Science graduate’s particular mix of skills and abilities when designing and developing new products.
The entertainment industry – developing visual simulators, visual design and graphics, and video games. This area is currently undergoing rapid growth given the demand from the entertainment industry for more visually realistic and immersive graphics.
Government sectors – particularly in teaching, defence technology (e.g. lasers and optical equipment), and contributing to the development of health and occupational policies regarding the importance of vision to quality-of-life and in the workplace.
A career in academic teaching and research is available, particularly to those with higher degrees in Vision Science.
Application to enrol in an honours year in Vision Science is available to students who have completed a Vision Science major or any other study program related to any aspect of eyes and vision (including psychology, optics, microbiology and biological sciences). Contact the School of Optometry and Vision Science for further information.
Research and Postgraduate Study
For those interested in furthering their career by obtaining a research degree, honours graduates in Vision Science or related areas may proceed to a Master of Science or a Doctor of Philosophy degree by research. Scholarships may be available for higher degrees.
Vision related research groups located in UNSW include:
- the Optics and Radiometry Laboratory, which conducts research, development and testing of sunglasses, protective eye wear, transport signals and signs. It also operates a workplace assessment scheme, and it provides a photometric and colorimetric calibration facility.
- the Australian Vision Prosthesis Group, a UNSW research group exploring retinal implants to eliminate blindness.
- the Robotic Vision Group at the School of Computer Science and Engineering.
- The Cognition and Perception Research Group at the School of Psychology
Located in the same building as the School is the Vision Co-operative Research Centre, a trans-national research centre devoted to addressing the issues of visual defects and preventable blindness. It has research programs in the treatment and elimination of myopia and presbyopia, material and surface development for ocular devices and the elimination of preventable blindness.