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Ophthalmic Dispensing

Glasgow Caledonian University is the only university in Scotland to offer a full-time Ophthalmic Dispensing programme in a recognised Centre of Excellence for Vision Sciences.

The programme offers excellent integrated professional education. A modern, purpose-built dispensing clinic on campus provides the ideal environment for training towards commercial practice.

UK & EU Students

Course Details

UCAS Code:B502

Classification:BSc

Course Duration:3 Years

Course Start Date:15 September 2014

Course Mode:Full Time

Subject Area:Vision Science

Location:GCU

Course Fees

Students from England, Wales or Northern Ireland

Year Fee Description/Notes
2014/15 Contact us Fees at GCU include all tuition, library, examination & administrative costs. A guide to fees at GCU.

Information about Scholarships and Bursaries for RUK students

Students from Scotland and the rest of the EU

Year Fee Description/Notes
2014/15 Contact us Fees at GCU include all tuition, library, examination & administrative costs. A guide to fees at GCU.

Information about Scholarships and Bursaries

Minimum Entry Requirements

HigherBBC
A-LevelCC
ILCBBCC
BTECRelevant subject plus GCSEs
Essential SubjectsAt least one science (Higher/A Level/ILC-H/S Grade 2) Mathematics, English and Physics (S Grade 2/Int 2 B/GCSE C/ILC-O)
Recommended SubjectsEnglish, Mathematics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry (Higher/A Level/ILC-H)
Additional requirementsPersonal statement stating intent of studying ophthalmic dispensing. Some work experience always useful.
Summer SchoolPhysics, Biology, Maths or English, if required.
Disclosure RequirementAll students are required by the General Optical Council to have been cleared by Disclosure Scotland at the advanced level to work in a clinical situation. Disclosure is sought for the Clinic here at Glasgow Caledonian University and applications will be made during enrolment in the first week of the first year of the course. This Disclosure certificate once obtained will last for the duration of the course for the GCU clinic premises only.
IB Diploma24 points including Physics

Non UK/EU Students

Course Details

UCAS Code:B502

Classification:BSc

Course Duration:3 Years

Course Start Date:15 September 2014

Course Mode:Full Time

Subject Area:Vision Science

Location:GCU

Course Fees

Year Fee Description/Notes
2014/15 Contact us Fees at GCU include all tuition, library, examination & administrative costs. A guide to fees at GCU.

Information about Scholarships and Bursaries

Minimum Entry Requirements

IB Diploma24 points including Physics

Further Education Students

Course Details

UCAS Code:B502

Classification:BSc

Course Duration:3 Years

Course Start Date:15 September 2014

Course Mode:Full Time

Subject Area:Vision Science

Location:GCU

Course Fees

Year Fee Description/Notes
2014/15 Contact us Fees at GCU include all tuition, library, examination & administrative costs. A guide to fees at GCU.

Information about Scholarships and Bursaries

Minimum Entry Requirements

For entry requirementsContact us for a copy of our FE Supplement.

Programme Description

This three-year programme is based within the Department of Vision Sciences, which is the only department of its kind in Scotland. Students benefit from studying in a recognised centre of excellence in Vision Sciences which has developed strong links with its related professions.

The first two years of the programme are designed to give you the knowledge and understanding of optical principles and how they relate to effective correction of refractive errors in the human eye. In your third year you will develop the advanced skills required to allow you to apply your knowledge in an optical practice.

Strong emphasis is placed on the integration of theoretical and practical aspects throughout the programme. In the University's well-equipped, purpose-built dispensing clinic, you will gain experience in practical dispensing skills while developing your interpersonal skills through dealing with patients. To practice as a Dispensing Optician you must pass the additional exams of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians and then complete a year of supervised professional practice before applying to the General Optical Council for professional registration.

Why Choose This Programme?

A dispensing optician has a role in eye care within the community. During your career as a dispensing optician, you will not only fit and supply spectacles, but you can also develop your career to include eye screening, contact lens fitting and supplying specialist optical appliances.

Glasgow Caledonian is the only university in Scotland to offer a degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing. At our modern, purpose-built Dispensing Clinic on campus, a strong emphasis is placed upon the integration of theory and practice. Students benefit from studying in a recognised Centre of Excellence in Vision Sciences which has developed strong links with its related professions.

The first two years of the programme are designed to give you the knowledge and understanding of optical principles and how they relate to effective correction of refractive errors in the human eye. Having completed the first two years, you will understand the fundamental scientific principles upon which ophthalmic dispensing is based. In your third year, you will develop more advanced skills, which are designed to enhance the role of a dispensing optician in today’s optical practice. You will be able to carry out certain clinical tasks, some of which may be under the supervision or direction of an optometrist.

A sound knowledge of both management and retailing issues will also enhance the career of a dispensing optician. A high standard of performance in second or third year (75% overall for second year and 70% overall for third year dispensing) will allow entry to the Optometry degree with direct entry to Year 2, provided there are places available.

What You'll Learn

Year 1

Optics, Anatomy and Physiology, Optical Appliances and Materials, Refraction and Binocular Vision

Year 2

Low Vision, Diagnostic Techniques, Pathology and Pharmacology, Clinical Practice and Communication, Refraction and Binocular Vision, Lighting, Colour, Optical Devices, Law, Management

Year 3

Ophthalmic Dispensing Practice, Research in Health and Social Care Practice, Investigating Effective Practice, Investigating Business Practice (elective options are also available in specialist areas of practice)

Work Placement

The University has its own Eye Clinic, providing practical training facilities at first and second year. Students are expected to undertake two 12 week work placements in commercial practice in their third year.

A BSc in Ophthalmic Dispensing from GCU opens doors to professional placements, providing links to future employers throughout the UK. Some collaborative programmes also exist with international partners.

Career Opportunities

Ophthalmic Dispensing offers an interesting and worthwhile career with good employment prospects in large organisations, partnerships, private practices or in running your own business. This programme has an excellent record of graduate employment in dispensing optics.

To practise as a dispensing optician, you must also pass the exams of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians. You must complete a period of supervised professional practice before applying to the General Optical Council for professional registration, much of which can be concurrent with university training or students with a part-time job in optical practice.

Professional Accreditation

The BSc Ophthalmic Dispensing is accredited by the General Optical Council.

Assessment Methods

A variety of assessment methods are used including formal exams, Objective Structured Clinical Assessments, oral presentations, written, individual and group project work, essays and assessment of clinical practice.

HM Forces

In partnership with HM Forces, GCU has identified this programme is being particularly suited to military and ex-military men and women. Visit the HM Forces Careers Zone for more information on the services we provide.

Assessment Methods

Our assessment methods are designed to ensure that graduates have a balanced knowledge and understanding of all aspects required of Dispensing Opticians. This experience gained will help our students to become independent learners with a high level of professionalism and allow graduates to remain competent over their career in a continuously evolving and multi-disciplinary field.

The practical training will initially involve fellow students, moving on to volunteers and eventually patients attending the University Eye Clinic for eye examinations, under supervision, giving students experience in working as part of a multi-disciplinary team alongside optometrists and orthoptists. We cover a range of specialist training including exposure to patients with special needs, as well as those with low vision. Parallel to practical education, the course also includes a range of business relevant topics, which will equip students with the required knowledge of running a business. Some dispensing graduates may become practice managers or run their own businesses.

Teaching Methods

This programme is the only one of its kind in Scotland. We place a strong emphasis on developing the professional values and clinical knowledge, as well as enhancing the communication and team -building skills of our students throughout the programme. To do this we use a range of teaching methods and utilise modern technology in our award-winning on-site eye clinic, which is also unique in Scotland.

Our aim is to foster in the students an awareness of the dispensing problems and requirements of patients, and teach skills such as the ability to conduct appropriate investigations, and the development of patient and customer interactions based on solid communication skills.

We have strong links with the UK’s largest employers in the optical sector, which not only enhances our teaching, but also makes our graduates well placed for employment opportunities.

Our students have the opportunity to study abroad, either on an international exchange programme at a partner university or on a work placement.

Employment Details

Our programme has evolved and been designed in such a way that almost all of our students enter eye-care occupations, usually as a registered Dispensing Optician after passing the Association of British Dispensing Opticians examinations. Those students who do not choose this route have found a wide range of employment. Dispensers can continue their career development through various postgraduate schemes including specialist training in contact lens fitting.

The professional knowledge and skills possessed by graduates will enable them to contribute to a modern and changing eye-care and dispensing environment, and to work successfully within multi-disciplinary teams.

Fee Information

Glasgow Caledonian University is one of the UK’s most dynamic and diverse higher education institutions, with a tradition of welcoming students from all walks of life. As such, the University offers a range of scholarships and bursaries to ensure all students have an equal chance of success. The fees and funding that are relevant to you also depend on where you lived before coming to university.

To make things as simple as possible we have information on all of this, including links to our award-winning student support team, available at www.gcu.ac.uk/money.

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