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    Physiology of the human eye and visual systems and related neuro-physiology, including the scientific application of psychophysical testing as a basis for current and future ophthalmic clinical practice.

    The Department of Medicine offers the Postgraduate Diploma in Ophthalmic Basic Sciences (PGDipOphthBS), taught in conjunction with the University of Sydney. This consists of four 30-point papers, which can be taken full time over a year or part time up to five years. This diploma is intended for medical graduates with at least two years' experience who are either wishing to embark on a career in ophthalmology or in a recognised training programme and wish to enhance their understanding of the ophthalmic basic sciences. The diploma is based on the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists' curriculum, which has been extended to include clinical correlations where appropriate.

    About this paper

    Paper title Ophthalmic Physiology
    Subject Ophthalmology
    EFTS 0.25
    Points 30 points
    Teaching period(s) 1st Non standard period (19 February 2024 - 15 June 2024) (Distance learning)
    2nd Non standard period (29 July 2024 - 23 November 2024) (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $3,103.25
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    OPHX 802
    Limited to
    Must be admitted to the PGDipOphthBS or a Certificate of Proficiency.
    Application enquiries to:
    Postgraduate Administrator
    Teaching staff

    Course Co-ordinator: Dr Logan Mitchell

    Other practising ophthalmologists with a particular interest in basic sciences have been selected from throughout Australasia to teach on this course.

    Paper Structure

    This paper will be assessed by way of:

    • Essay 1 15%
    • Presentation 15%
    • Essay 2 15%
    • Journal Club 10%
    • Examination: 45%

    The examination will be held at the end of the semester in which the paper has been taught. All examinations are conducted under the regulations of the University of Otago.

    Teaching Arrangements

    This Distance Learning paper is taught remotely.

    This paper is offered through Distance Learning using web-based teaching and interactive online tutorials. The lectures are available via the University of Sydney Canvas website, in which you will be enrolled.


    Suggested Textbooks:
    Some are reference texts and are expensive. It is suggested that the student should consult local hospital and medical school libraries to see if any of the following texts are available. It is also suggested that online bookstores may be able to provide the texts at a cheaper price than local bookstores (beware of security issues). Have a look in local second-hand university bookstores or ask local previous candidates (or ophthalmology registrars) if they wish to part with their pre-loved texts (if they allow it, we may be able to provide you contact details).The lectures will reference relevant texts and will provide additional relevant material (copyright allowing). The Medical Society Bookshop and Coop Bookshop (Sydney) have both been informed of the prescribed texts.

    Prescribed texts:

    • Adler's Physiology of the Eye (11th Ed) Kaufman ed, Saunders Elsevier 2011
    • Review of Medical Physiology (21st Ed) WF Ganong, McGraw Hill 2003

    Additional texts:

    • Biochemistry of the Eye RE Anderson (ed), American Academy of Ophthalmology Manuals Program, 1983
    • Physics for Ophthalmologists DJ Coster (ed) Churchill Livingstone, Sydney 1997
    • The Eye: Basic Sciences and Practice. Forrester JV, Dick AD, McMenamin P, Lee WR. WB Saunders 2003. ISBN: 0702025410
    • Duane's Foundations of Clinical Ophthalmology. JB Lippincott Co, Philadelphia
    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to:

    • Describe the normal physiological functioning of the human eye and nervous system
    • Describe the principal physiological laws and phenomena that apply to these systems
    • Describe how these physiological processes are measured and the limitations of such tests


    1st Non standard period (19 February 2024 - 15 June 2024)

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught through Distance Learning
    Learning management system

    2nd Non standard period (29 July 2024 - 23 November 2024)

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught through Distance Learning
    Learning management system
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