Glaucoma - Standalone module

This course is for you if you are a clinician in the field of optometry and are looking to develop your knowledge in glaucoma detection, investigation and monitoring methodologies used in both optometry and ophthalmology service.

Course type

Online / distance learning

Course format

No placements


16 weeks

UCAS code(s)


Start date

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Key information, entry requirement and fees

  • Credit value: 20 Masters-level credits
  • Mode of delivery: Distance Learning
  • Course type: Standalone Module
  • Module code: OP4GL1
  • Number of places available: Up to 30
  • Start date:

         1st March 2022. Application deadline 25th January 2022

         1st October 2022. Application deadline 23rd August 2022

  • Duration: 16 weeks
  • Time commitment: Although this will depend upon the individual, a typical student can expect to spend up to 200 hours of study in total
  • Fees (2021/22): £1,150
  • Entry requirement: You must be a clinician in the field of optometry.

Course outline and what you will study

This course will enable you to take an active part in referral refinement and co-management schemes between Optometrists and Ophthalmologists. Following successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Describe the types of glaucoma
  • Understand your management and be able to select the appropriate diagnostic tests to efficiently diagnose glaucoma whilst understanding their limitations.

In some instances, education beyond current optometric practice is introduced in an effort to prepare you for advanced clinical challenges that this group of disorders might show.

Principles of screening for glaucoma will be covered and their significance discussed in terms of standard diagnostic techniques; perimetry, intraocular pressure measurement and optic nerve head appearance. The limitations of these techniques will be discussed in the context of emerging technologies for the detection and monitoring of glaucoma.

This module aims to cover the best practice for glaucoma detection, investigation and monitoring methodologies used in both Optometry and Ophthalmology services.

Specific areas covered are:

  • Introduction to glaucoma: primary glaucomas; definition, diagnosis, risk factors, intraocular pressure measurement and fluctuations, optic disc examination, other examination techniques
  • Primary open angle glaucoma (POAG): risk factors and disease mechanism, POAG suspects and evaluation of potential glaucoma
  • Normal tension glaucoma characteristics, confirmation and differential diagnosis
  • Primary angle closure glaucoma: definition, risk factors, classification, manifestation and differential diagnoses.
  • Screening methodologies: the principles of screening methodologies for the detection of glaucoma and how effective diagnostic tests are in terms of sensitivity, specificity and predictive power.
  • Anterior eye assessment: anatomical features of the anterior segment will be evaluated in terms of their clinical assessment in relation to glaucoma; specifically, slit lamp bio-microscopic examination and gonioscopy
  • Measurement of intraocular pressure: the measurement of intraocular pressure and its role in the diagnosis and management of glaucoma
  • The assumptions and limitations of measurement techniques will be covered in conjunction with the relationship of intraocular pressure to central corneal thickness.
  • Visual field examination: theoretical principles of perimetry in relation to the selection of the optimal testing strategy for the detection and monitoring of glaucoma
  • Examination of the optic nerve head: anatomical features of normal and glaucomatous optic nerve head appearances.
  • Differential diagnosis between glaucomatous and non-glaucomatous disc appearances
  • Clinical recording of data
  • Patient examination and clinical guidelines: clinical optometric procedures and best practice for recording examination of glaucoma patients and suspects in relation to NICE guidelines for optometric referral of glaucoma patients and glaucoma suspects
  • Lifestyle and social aspects of glaucoma: how glaucoma affects patients in terms of vision and everyday tasks
  • Inter-professional aspects relating to social care, the implications of blind and partial sight registration
  • New developments in investigative techniques: the limitations of standard visual field assessment will be related to emerging technologies for examination of the visual field such as frequency doubling technology
  • The emergence of imaging technologies for evaluating the structure of the optic nerve head and retinal nerve fibre layer will be evaluated in terms of glaucoma diagnosis and monitoring
  • Pharmacological principles for the treatment of glaucoma: methodologies for reducing intraocular pressure using pharmacological agents, their mode of action, effectiveness, combination therapies
  • Surgical treatments for glaucoma: methodologies for reducing intraocular pressure using surgical procedures and their outcomes
  • Clinical case scenarios
  • Examples of glaucoma cases will be illustrated for discussion

Learning, teaching, assessment and staff

This course is delivered via distance learning. You will access learning materials for general study, revision and assessment via our virtual learning environment, Blackboard. This platform allows you to access a comprehensive range of study materials, scientific journals, e-journals, databases and much more.

Assessment is by coursework submitted throughout the course. Coursework will take the form of formative assessments (MCQs) and individual assignments.

Our courses are written and delivered by staff at the forefront of life and health sciences teaching and research. In the recent Teaching Excellence Framework assessment, Aston University was awarded Gold, the highest award possible. In addition, our courses are regularly reviewed by relevant professional experts.

Course lead: Dr Rebekka Heitmar 

This course is part of the School of Optometry which sits within the College of Health and Life Sciences.

Your future career prospects

Our courses offer you the opportunity to enhance your knowledge and skills in order to develop your career. In addition, our ethos is to equip you to make a real difference in your field.

The Optometry CPD courses allow you to develop specialist knowledge in advanced optometric topics. Clinical application and content may allow eye care professionals to widen and specialise their mode of practice.

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