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Optometry courses

Are you interested in studying the science of the eye and learning how to examine eyes and correct sight problems? If so, optometry could be for you. If the idea of helping people choose glasses - advising on lenses and frames and finding the right fit - appeals, then an ophthalmic dispensing degree would be worth exploring. For both types of courses, you will need an interest in science and good communication skills.

Studying optometry at university

Example course modules

  • Foundation mathematics for science
  • Foundation biology
  • Optics of the eye
  • Introduction to ophthalmic lenses
  • Communication skills in the optical sector
  • Practice management
  • Low vision management and assessment
  • Practical methods in dispensing
  • Vocational and recreational dispensing
  • Ocular anatomy and contact lenses

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

More on studying and contact hours at uni

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 70%
    Male : 30%
  • Mature : 27%
    School leaver : 73%
  • Full-time : 86%
    Part-time : 14%

What students say about optometry

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • Chemistry
  • Biology

Useful to have

  • Physics

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
Most students in this category study optometry degrees. Don't get too worried by the salaries you see here. On graduation, the most recent ophthalmics graduates go on to pre-registration training for a year, before taking final assessments and being able to register as an optometrist. At this point, salaries jump to much healthier rates depending on whether you go into private practice with, for example, a high street opticians, or enter the NHS. This is also one of those degrees that can get you a skilled job in most parts of the country – so if you've got good grades but want to work in a particular part of the UK, this can be a good bet. Unemployment rates are low.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Health professionals

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Opthalmic optician
  • Dispensing optician
  • Optometrics

Other real-life job examples

  • Orthoptist

What employers like about this subject

Students taking a degree in optometry and/ or opthalmics can develop subject-related skills including an understanding of the scientific principles of eye care and the detection, recognition, diagnosis, prevention and management of conditions affecting the eye. Transferable skills you can develop include communication, IT, numeracy, problem-solving and critical evaluation. Optometry graduates tend to work for hospitals, specialist opticians or larger retail stores with optician departments - although some work in universities as researchers.