City and Islington College offer courses on Optics including Ophthalmic Dispensing which provides a great foundation to progression to Optometry at University or the Contact Lenses course.

These courses utilise GCSE science and maths skills including prisms, light travelling through low and high mediums, as well as equations. Furthermore, the course provides the opportunity for practical application. There is a large amount of problem solving plus advising and communicating with patients. After the course there are many opportunities for work, both in the UK and abroad, with students enjoying using the knowledge they gained from college to help patients.

In this clip Adanna, Bhini and Shaydia talk about fitting appropriate spectable lenses and contact lenses.

With thanks to: City and Islington College

Curriculum topics:

  • Light travelling in straight lines
  • Refraction of light
  • Converging and diverging lenses
  • The eye and defects of vision

Also in this film:

  • Practical work in a college-based course
  • Advising members of the public on eye-care

Suggested practicals:

Image formation with a lens
Make a rough estimate of the focal length of a converging lens by casting an image on a screen. Useful for a technician who wants to compare two lenses.

Model eye demonstration with flask
See how an ‘eye’ whose lens has the wrong focal length can be corrected using an additional lens – but the wrong lens can make things worse. A dispensing ophthalmist must know how lenses cure a range of visual defects.

The lens formula
Test the lens formula (linking focal length to object and image distances), the basis of some practical methods of determining focal length.

Investigation how we see colour
Some people have difficulties with distinguishing different colours – many men are red-green colour blind, for example. Opticians use charts to test colour vision.