SHE Level 2
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M2B525442
Module Leader Lorraine Cameron
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Vision Sciences
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

SCQF Level 7 Module in Ophthalmic Anatomy & Physiology A; SCQF Level 7 Module in Ophthalmic Anatomy & Physiology B

Summary of Content

The module will introduce basic principles of pharmacology and medicines (drug) action necessary for clinical practice by Optometrists and Orthoptists. It will provide an introduction to the mechanism of action of medicines (drugs) on the human body, especially as pertaining to the eye and vision. The overall impact of the autonomic nervous system will be considered as a basis to understanding neurotransmitter and drug actions on the body and eye, as well as understanding systemic disease conditions where the eye is affected. Detailed coverage of pharmaceutical agents designated for topical ocular administration, the chemicals/drugs in these agents, the products available, their selection and diagnostic and therapeutic use.


The first element of the module will cover basic principles of pharmacodynamics, to include definition of sites of medicines (drug) action (receptor/targets) and how these are characterised in humans especially when the eye and vision is involved. The basic principles of pharmacokinetics will be covered (to include the understanding of the time-dependence of the action of medicines/drug action on the human body, especially as relevant to the eye and vision), the routes of medicines/drug administration to the human body (including considerations of dosage, absorption and penetration of drugs into tissues, volume of distribution, the biotransformation (metabolism) and bioeliminaton (excretion) of drugs from the body. The actions of medicines/drugs at synapses (nerve-nerve and nerve-end plate will be considered) alongside the overall characteristics and neurotransmitter actions for systems mediated by different neurotransmitters (acetylcholine, epinephrine, serotonin, dopamine, GABA, glutamate, histamine). Emphasis will be placed on those aspects of synaptic transmission and autonomic functions that are relevant to the eye and vision. The second element of the module will emphasise the practical use of ocular pharmaceutical drugs. Medicines use by humans, including the naming of medicines and the details required for a medicines history. Ocular pharmaceuticals, their types and ingredients (vehicle, buffers, preservatives, stabilisers, excipients, active ingredients) and properties (pH, osmolality, viscosity) Ophthalmic wash (eyewash) solutions- Ophthalmic dyes (fluorescein, fuexon, rose Bengal, methylene blue, brilliant blue, lissamine green) and their uses. Topical ocular anaesthetics (proxymetacaine, oxybuprocaine, tetracaine, lidocaine) and their uses by optometrists and orthoptics and medical use of anaesthetics and analgesics. Mydriatric (tropicamide, phenylephrine) and their uses by optometrists and orthoptists. Cycloplegics (cyclopentolate, tropicamide) Anti infective agents (such as chloramphenicol and fusidic acid) Artifical tears and lubricants (hypromellose, carbomers, polyvinyl alcohol, liquid paraffin) Anti allergy medications (sodium chromoglycate, lodoxamide, azelastine hydrochloride). Effects of systemic medicines on the eye and vision, especially on the pupil, accommodation and IOP

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the module, students should be able to:-1. Understand what happens to the ingredients of topical ocular products after administration to the eye2. Select and use different types of topical ocular pharmaceutical agents (eyewashes, dyes, stains, anaesthetics, mydriatics, cycloplegics, miotics, artificial tears, lubricants, anti infectives and anti allergy medications) in a safe and effective manner3. Understand the expected effects that results from use of topical ocular diagnostic agents versus adverse reaction (ADR's) associated with their use4. Understand the expected effects that results from use of topical ocular therapeutic agents versus adverse reaction (ADR's) associated with their use in treatment of common eye conditions5. Generate and systematically pursuing lines of investigative enquiry independently and applying it to clinical decision making in the use of ocular diagnostic and therapeutic pharmaceutical agents6. nderstand the legal context relevant to the use of exemptions in legislation for the sale, supply and administration of medicines, as well as current local and national policy and guidance concerning medicines use7. Understand the differences between the sale, supply and administration of medicines using exemptions, other supply / administration mechanisms and prescribing mechanisms8. Understand the various pharmacological and non- pharmacological approaches to disease management, relevant to their practice and the risks and benefits of each option

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module will be presented in lecture and tutorial formats. This module will provide the basis for pharmacological knowledge necessary for diagnostic clinical practice by Optometrists and Orthoptists. It will develop knowledge of drugs used in eye care and provide the student with knowledge required to use ophthalmic drugs in the practical and clinical setting.

Indicative Reading

Hopkins & Pearson, 5th Edition (2006) Ophthalmic Drugs, Diagnostic & Therapeutic Uses, eBook ISBN 9870702034978 Elliot, D.B. (2014). Clinical procedures in primary eye care. Butterworth-Heinemann, 4 th Edition, ISBN 978-0-7020-5194-4 Doshi, S., Harvey, W. Investigative Techniques and Ocular Examination (2003). Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 0-7506-5404X Bartlet JD, Jaamus (1989) Clinical Ocular Pharmacology Butterworth-Heinemann ISBN 978-0-4099-0058-3 Zimmerman TJ (1997) Textbook Ocular Pharmacology. Lippincot-Raven ISBN 978-0-7817-0306-2

Transferrable Skills

Patient interviewing on medicines use/ case history taking Recognising ocular pharmaceutical agents agent products Selection and use of topical ocular diagnostic and therapeutic agents

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Tutorials (FT) 3.00
Lectures (FT) 30.00
Assessment (FT) 4.00
Independent Learning (FT) 163.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 60.00 35% unseen written paper
Coursework 1 n/a 40.00 35% Class Tests