OPTOMETRY AND VISUAL SCIENCE

Introduction

This programme is only offered in Danish.

The Master's degree programme in optometry and visual science educates opticians in the specialist area of ophthalmology and provides an additional specialisation in the optometric field. As a candidate in optometry and visual science, you will thus encompass both the aid and remedy, and treatment provider, perspectives of the optician. You are trained to diagnose and carry out assessments of treatment needs and results. This provides a unique opportunity to provide people with a complete assessment and guidance on any further treatment upon the first point of contact with a graduate in optometry and visual science.

The degree programme has a clinical strategy with the aim of preparing the graduate to take on complex clinical tasks in a more qualified way. As a graduate in optometry and visual science, you will develop increased, specialised knowledge in relation to related subject areas. In relation to the Bachelor’s degree level and in relation to the ophthalmologist, this means e.g. that you are able to view the citizen/patient's problems in a wider perspective, one which crosses the traditional specialist and sectorial boundaries.

“With a patient who wants to be operated on for short-sightedness an ophthalmologist will typically focus on the pros and cons of laser treatment, while an optician will look at vision aids in the form of contact lenses or glasses as an alternative. But the graduate in optometry and visual science can, on the other hand, both provide guidance on various types of operation and advise on vision aids. In this way the patient or the customer can receive an overall assessment from the start and will not need to run back and forth between ophthalmologist and optician. This is true both in the optician stores and at the ophthalmologists.”
(Toke Bek, Clinical Professor at Aarhus University and Senior Consultant at Aarhus University Hospital’s Department of Ophthalmology)

New areas of work for opticians

The Master’s degree programme in optometry and visual science has been launched in order to accommodate developments within the optician’s area of work. The optician’s perspective has typically been focused on vision aids in the form of glasses or contact lenses, while the ophthalmologist has focused on treatment. But this distinction is changing. Opticians are increasingly employed in hospital ophthalmology departments and in private ophthalmology clinics. One of the reasons is the entry of technology, which now means that part of the ophthalmologist’s examination is carried out via specialist equipment.

The new Master’s degree programme can prepare opticians to take over some of these preliminary examinations and monitoring from the ophthalmologists, so they can instead focus on treatment and reducing the long waiting lists.

Admission requirements

The Master's degree programme is organised as advanced studies for students with a Bachelor's degree in optometry from the two optometry degree programmes in Denmark.[1]

The following courses of study qualify students for admission to the full degree programme:

1. Students with a Bachelor's degree in Optometry or with a comparable basis for admission from abroad.

2. Optician programmes in accordance with previous ministerial orders.

The latter must be followed by both

a) course in contact lens adjustment

b) a minimum of 15 ECTS credits from a diploma degree programme in health science or a Bachelor's degree programme in health science.

Following an individual academic assessment, dispensation may be granted for the admission of applicants with comparable academic qualifications. For example opticians trained in accordance with previous ministerial orders, where it can be documented that they have acquired competences comparable to a Bachelor's degree in optometry or a Bachelor's degree in nursing with two years of documented clinical experience with eye patients. In all cases, the applicant must have completed a course in contact lens adjustment.

Statement of previous convictions in respect of children 

In connection with an application for admission to the Master's Degree Programme in Optometry, the applicant must consent to a statement of previous convictions in respect of children being obtained. If you are not a Danish citizen, you must also submit an authorised translation (in Danish or English) of your criminal record from your home country.

Read more about statements of previous convictions in respect of children and criminal records.

Restricted admission and priority criteria

Twenty-five students can be admitted to the degree programme annually. This figure is guiding only and subject to change by the university.
If the number of qualified applicants exceeds the number of places offered, the applicants will be prioritised in descending order based on the average marks for their qualifying course of study. This means that applicants with the highest average marks are admitted until the places are filled. The average mark of the last applicant to be admitted is the grade point average (GPA) cut-off. This is not known until the entire admission procedure is completed in mid-July. Specifically, this means:

1. For applicants who have completed their qualifying course of study as of 1 April in the year of application and who have a certificate stating the average mark calculated, this average mark will be used. If an average mark has not been calculated, Aarhus University will calculate a simple average.

2. In the case of applicants who have not completed the entire basis for admission as of 1 April in the year of application, Aarhus University will calculate a simple average for the disciplines which have been completed as of 1 April and which are included in the basis for admission, taking into account all graded assessments from the Bachelor's degree programme.

For applicants who do not have a Bachelor's degree in optometry, the mark from the optician programme is used and not the mark from the subsequent supplementary courses from a diploma degree programme. As the selection criterion is the average mark from the optician programme, you must attach your complete certificate with your application, i.e. all the pages of your certificate and not only the front page. The average mark is calculated on the basis of all the marks on your certificate regardless of whether they are internal or external. All marks according to the Danish 13-point marking scale are first converted into the 7-point marking scale, and the average mark is then calculated.


[ 1] Optikerhøjskolen (Danish College of Optometry and Visual Science) in Randers and KEA (Copenhagen School of Design and Technology), Campus Empire, Copenhagen N.

Programme structure

About the degree programme:

  • 2 year (120 ECTS credits)
  • A full-time study taking place at e.g. the Department of Ophthalmology in Aarhus (it is not possible to take the degree programme as distance learning)
  •  Provides access to the Danish Students’ Grants and Loans Scheme (SU) and any SU student loan.

The academic content

The content of the degree programme is structured around three areas of focus:

  • Research methods
  • Interdisciplinary subjects that provide perspective with a view to developing practice
  • Mono-academic clinical content - optometry and visual science

The degree programme consists of a clinical mono-academic section within the academic and scientific area of optometry and a methodology section. Finally, there is an optional element with the purpose of introducing an interdisciplinary perspective to the academic area of optometry and the optician’s activities. 

Academic regulations


 

Student life

An example of a potential student's profile

Interview with: Henrik Sejersen (Optician, graduated 2007)

Henrik Sejersen graduated as an optician in 2007 and has spent four years working at the Department of Ophthalmology at Aarhus University Hospital. He is employed in the refractive team where his primary task is to carry out preliminary examinations and checks following laser operations, as well as regular controls of patients with diseases in the cornea of the eye.

If you ask Henrik why he is an optician at a hospital, the answer is simple.

"I’m a bit of a bookish nerd in my subject. I worked in an optician store for three years but I found the professional aspects of the eye to be much more interesting than the business aspect. As an optician at a hospital, my job is to help and advise patients on the best optical solution. That could be an operation, contact lenses or glasses. This is where my skills lie and this also gives the doctors time for in-depth work on their own work tasks where they are best, so that’s how we make a good team."

At he Department of Ophthalmology at Aarhus University Hospital there is close collaboration between opticians and doctors. Through sparring and knowledge sharing, they have created an environment where there is a constant focus on development. The Master's degree programme in optometry and visual science must contribute to this development and strengthen bridge building between the respective fields of work of the optician and the ophthalmologist for the benefit of the patients.

Henrik expects his further education and training to strengthen his academic and scientific basis.

"Which will probably mean that I will be even more involved in independent research projects, as well as participating in the department's production of scientific articles."

Up until now, opticians have had to travel abroad if they wished to further their education and training at university level. The Master's degree programme in optometry and visual science means that it is now possible to take further education and training in Denmark.

Study environment

In the mono-academic, clinical section the teaching is both theoretical and practical and will take place at the Department of Ophthalmology at Aarhus University Hospital. Later in the degree programme you will attend to your own patients while under the supervision of experienced ophthalmologists, opticians, specialist eye nurses, orthoptists and laboratory technicians.

As a student at optometry and visual science your everyday life primarily takes place at he Department of Ophthalmology at Aarhus University Hospital. The department covers the whole ocular surgical and medicinal area in the Central Denmark Region and provides services to all hospitals in the eastern part of the region.

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Career

Qualification profile

A graduate of optometry and visual science will acquire competences that enable the graduate to:

  • Initiate and carry out patient diagnosis with refraction anomalies and other optometric issues.
  • Conduct, analyse, interpret and communicate the results of advanced diagnostic methods within the optometric and visual scientific fields of study.
  • Be able to provide an indication of the appropriate treatment after critical assessment of a broad spectrum of treatments. 
  • Monitor and follow up on patients in treatment for ocular pathology and/or visual pathway.
  • Alleviate and comfort where there is no possibility of treatment, as well as manage conditions relating to visual impairment and blindness.
  • Involve and educate patients while taking their needs and resources into account.
  • Initiate and implement measures so that the workplace learns from its practice and the existing evidence.

Job and career

The graduates are expected to find employment within:

  • Advice and consultancy on correction of refraction anomalies in hospital ophthalmology departments in Denmark and in private ophthalmology clinics.
  • Completion and evaluation of diagnostic studies at hospital ophthalmology departments and in private ophthalmology clinics.
  • Patient examinations and adaptation of optical aids in public optometric aid centres.
  • Specialist positions in larger optician chain stores as well as at suppliers and manufacturers of optometric equipment.
  • Training and education in clinical practice and on the professional Bachelor's degree programme.
  • Organisation and completion of clinical development projects/research.

The Master's degree programme also provides access to the PhD programme.