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Optometry, Ophthalmology & Orthoptics guide

Optometry, Ophthalmology & Orthoptics is a branch of medicine that draws together the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases in and around the eye.

Woman sat on chair with optician doing eye test in ophthalmology clinic


  1. What's Optometry, Ophthalmology & Orthoptics?

  2. Why study Optometry, Ophthalmology & Orthoptics?

  3. What jobs can you get with an Optometry, Ophthalmology & Orthoptics degree?

  4. What qualifications do you need?

  5. What degrees can you study?

  6. How will you be assessed?

  7. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Optometry, Ophthalmology & Orthoptics?

Optometry, Ophthalmology & Orthoptics deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases that affect the eyes, including performing operations on them.

Many diseases can be diagnosed from looking at the eyes. There are several maladies that can affect the eyes only, such as blindness, cataracts and glaucoma.

Courses similar to Optometry, Ophthalmology & Orthoptics include:

  • Ophthalmics

Why study Optometry, Ophthalmology & Orthoptics?

This course is for those who would like to train as an optician, while also gaining a degree with a strong focus on practical working experience.

Optometry, Ophthalmology & Orthoptics is good to study at master's level, but it also has plenty of links into further study of other health sciences. 

The list of specialisation routes within this subject area is substantial. Take, for example, oculoplastic surgery, where you work with plastic surgery around the eye area. Other options include glaucoma, medical retina or diseases in children.

Optometry, Ophthalmology & Orthoptics courses may appear to help develop a very specific set of skills, but many of these are widely transferable. You learn how to problem-solve, work under pressure, work well in a multidisciplinary team and many more skills which can be used in a variety of professions across different sectors.

It's an occupational degree, meaning the chances of getting into professional employment soon after graduating are highly likely. This is reflected on the Optometry, Ophthalmology & Orthoptics subject league table; the lowest score for Graduate Prospects is 91%, meaning a large number of students are professionally successful in the industry soon after finishing uni.

Job opportunities around the world are plentiful. A career in Optometry, Ophthalmology & Orthoptics sets you up with transportable skills that can be taken across the globe.

Starting salaries for newly qualified optometrists are typically around £25,000. For consultants, salaries can reach six figures.

Doctor and patient in ophthalmology clinic

What jobs can you get?

Optometry, Ophthalmology & Orthoptics degrees teach students transferable skills such as presentation, research and communication, as well as rare medical knowledge combined with discipline and skills in working with people.

Job roles include ophthalmologist, radiographer, dietician, optician, GP or hospital doctor, optometrist or orthoptist.

Numerous companies offer graduate schemes in this subject, including the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

Professional job: Usually needs a degree
Non-professional job: Doesn't usually need a degree

What qualifications do you need?

You'll usually need at least two A Levels (or equivalent) in Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry or Physics.

Grade requirements depend on the university. Always confirm the entry requirements for the particular university/course you are interested in.

What degrees can you study?

  • BSc Ophthalmic Dispensing
  • BSc Orthoptics
  • BSc Professional Practice
  • BSc Health and Veterinary Studies (Orthoptics)

How will you be assessed?

Courses are assessed in a variety of ways. Some are done by coursework and presentations, but the majority of courses focus on examinations at the end of semesters.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level include straight MAs in Ophthalmics, as well as master's courses in Clinical Ophthalmology, Vision Research, Diabetes and the Eye, Glaucoma Studies, and Vision and Strabismus.

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