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Program Details

The Master's in Clinical Vision Science Program consists of two program years of 7 and 1/2 class credits, two extended clinical practica plus a thesis in an area of vision research. Graduates earn MSc in Clinical Vision Science. MSc in Clinical Vision Science includes a concurrent Graduate Diploma in Orthoptics and Ophthalmic Medical Technology. 

Graduate Diploma option: All candidates must apply to the Master’s Program. They, however, may opt to graduate with Graduate Diploma upon completion of all course work and practical training, without the thesis research component (VISC 9000.00).

Educational material is delivered in class format regading theoretical foundations, as well as through laboratory and supervised practical clinical training. Teaching follows a sequence that reflects increasing complexity and effective integration of the acquired knowledge and skills.  

Course list

For course descriptions please click the name of the course that you want to view.  

Year 1

Semester 1 - Fall Term

VISC 5010.03 - Fundamentals of Vision Science: Afferent System

This class is designed to acquaint the student with the anatomy/physiology of the human central nervous system as it relates to the sensation of vision. Testing parameters used in the afferent visual system examination will be discussed. Recent developments in perimetry, clinical psychophysics, and electrophysiology will be explored.

FORMAT: Lecture

VISC 5020.03 - Physical and Visual Optics

This class will analyze physical, optical and ophthalmic principles, with an emphasis on the measurement of light and on its behaviour in image formation. Visual optics in physical, schematic and human modalities will be investigated critically in experiment and clinical venues.

FORMAT: Lecture and lab
PREREQUISITE: This class is a prerequisite for the Therapeutic and Psychosocial Aspects of Low Vision, Treatment of Visual Disorders, and Treatment of Ocular Motility disorders.

VISC 5210.03 - Clinical Foundations of Ophthalmic Medical Technology

This class will introduce the student to the complexities of analysis of the visual system. This will be achieved through clinical scenarios in which the student will be required to engage in direct patient care, including sensory visual evaluation, physical ocular assessment, and biomedical application of ophthalmic instrumentation.

FORMAT: Lecture and lab
PREREQUISITE: VISC 5010.03 to be taken concurrent with this class

VISC 5230.03 - Extraocular Motility Disorders

Extraocular motility disorders and their treatment form the foundation for the understanding of ocular misalignment. In this class, anomalies of eye movement will be analyzed and the etiology will be reviewed. Emphasis, though, will be placed on the clinical presentation, formulation of diagnosis, and patient prognosis of anomalous extraocular motility.

FORMAT: Lecture
PREREQUISITE: VISC 5010.03 to be taken concurrent with this class


Semester 2 - Winter Term

VISC 5011.03 - Fundamentals of Vision Science: Efferent System

This class is designed to provide the student with knowledge of eye movements and the neurological control of ocular motility. Through lecture, discussion, and assigned readings, the student will analyze and determine how abnormalities of ocular motility can be indicators of a disease process and its area of localization.

FORMAT: Lecture
PREREQUISITE: VISC 5010.03

VISC 5211.03 - Clinical Foundations of Orthoptics

This class will introduce the student to the wonders of binocular vision in its normal presentation and also the intricacies of its abnormalities. Integral to the class material will be the analysis of responses of the binocular system to various clinical challenges.

FORMAT: Lecture and lab
PREREQUISITE: This class is a prerequisite for Practicum I

VISC 5222.06 - Advanced Ophthalmic Technology
(Winter and Summer)

This course provides knowledge on advanced ophthalmic diagnostic techniques and preliminary data analysis used to detect ophthalmic disorders. It furthers a systematic approach to instrumentation selection and performance, and will equip students with the ability to recognize and solve inconsistencies in results occurring due to instrumentation, examiner or patient errors.

FORMAT: Lecture and lab
PREREQUISITE: VISC 5210.03

VISC 5240.03 - Therapeutic and Psychosocial Aspects of Low Vision

This class encompasses a broad spectrum of visual impairments. The pathphysiological basis, clinical manifestations, and treatment modalities of visual loss will be addressed.

FORMAT: Lecture and lab
PREREQUISITE: VISC 5020.03  

VISC 5330.03 - Treatment of Ocular Motility Disorders

This class will examine and discuss the management of ocular motility anomalies. An overview of historical and current treatment modalities both surgical and non-surgical will be discussed. Emphasis will be given to the determination and application of appropriate management plans in case scenarios.

FORMAT: Lecture
PREREQUISITE: VISC 5020.03, VISC 5230.03
This class is a prerequisite for Practicum II


Semester 3 - Summer Term  

VISC 5200.06 - Clinical Practicum I

This practicum period of 14 weeks following the first two semesters of study provides the student with the opportunity to participate in direct ophthalmic patient care. The student will consolidate the concepts, theories and skills previously learned while providing supervised vision care for clients in a clinic setting.

FORMAT: Clinical Practicum
PREREQUISITE: VISC 5210.03, 5211.03 and 5230.03

VISC 5031.03 - Introduction to Research Theory and Practice for Vision Science

Students will acquire theoretical and practical skills to conduct a research undertaking in vision science. Scope of human inquiry, methodologies of interpretative and critical investigation, sampling and data analysis will be discussed in the clinical visual health sciences environment. Basic skills in the application of computer-based tools (SPSS) will be developed.

FORMAT: Online lectures and interactive student participation

VISC 5222.06 - Advanced Ophthalmic Technology
(Winter and Summer)

This course provides knowledge on advanced ophthalmic diagnostic techniques and preliminary data analysis used to detect ophthalmic disorders. It furthers a systematic approach to instrumentation selection and performance, and will equip students with the ability to recognize and solve inconsistencies in results occurring due to instrumentation, examiner or patient errors.

FORMAT: Lecture and lab
PREREQUISITE: VISC 5210.03


Year 2

Semester 1 - Fall Term

VISC 5040.03 - Neuropharmacology for Vision Science: Basic Concepts and Therapeutics

This class will consider the general principles of pharmacology before exploring the interaction pharmacology agents with the central nervous system and ocular structures. Medications used in the evaluation and treatment of ophthalmic disorders, along with medications used to treat systemic disorders that may produce ocular side effects, will be emphasized.

FORMAT: Lecture

VISC 5310.03 - Ocular Manifestations of Systemic Disease

The eye is a window through which manifestations of neurological, vascular infectious, inflammatory, and general systemic disease can be evaluated. This class will explore the signs and symptoms of ocular dysfunction as precursors, indicators and consequences of systemic disease that must be evaluated for optimal healthcare.

FORMAT: Lecture
PREREQUISITE: VISC 5011.03  

VISC 5340.03 - Treatment of Visual Disorders

This class introduces a variety of therapeutic approaches to visual disorders with an in depth examination of historical and current methods of treating amblyopia and other developmental anomalies of the visual system. The treatment of acquired anomalies as well as routine spectacle and surgical treatment of refractive disorder will be covered.

FORMAT: Lecture and lab
PREREQUISITE: VISC 5020.03, VISC 5240.03

VISC 5350.03 - Topics of Vision Care

This class will provide students with an opportunity to explore in depth topics of interest in the ophthalmic field. The students will then have a sound knowledge base of potential areas of research and detailed knowledge of the field in which his/her thesis work will likely be undertaken.

FORMAT: Seminar format
PREREQUISITE: VISC 5210.03 and 5222.06


Semester 2 - Winter Term

VISC 5300.06 - Clinical Practicum II

This intensive practicum period of 22 weeks follows the completion of all class work. During this practicum students will have the opportunity to fully synthesize their academic and clinic knowledge. Upon completion students will be prepared to sit the orthoptic and ophthalmic medical technologist certification exams.

FORMAT: Clinical Practicum
PREREQUISITE:
VISC 5200.06 and 5330.03

VISC 9000.00 - MSc Thesis

Registration is required for Master's students until defence of thesis


Semester 3 - Summer Term

VISC 9000.00 - MSc Thesis

Registration is required for Master's students until defence of thesis


Year 3

VISC 9000.00 - MSc Thesis

Registration is required for Master's students in every term until defence of thesis


Interprofessional Health Education

Students are required to maintain enrolment in IPHE 5900.00 in the fall and winter terms of both the first and second years of their academic studies. Successful completion of this class is a requirement for graduation, and will be recognized with the awarding of a special Certificate in Interprofessional Collaboration to be presented by the Faculty of Health Professions. Specific guidelines and expectations regarding the portfolio required for compltion of IPHE 5900.00 are directed by every School/Program. 

IPHE 5900.00 - Interprofessional Health Education Portfolio

This course is intended to prepare students to work in collaborative and patient/ client/community/family-centered work environments. Students in entry-to- practice graduate programs are required to maintain registration in this course for the duration of their studies. The student will be required to have completed, by the end of their program of study, a total number of different meaningful and relevant interprofessional collaborative learning experiences (as determined and approved by the School/College) equal to two times the number of years or part years of study in the program. At least one of these experiences will be in a practice setting (in the event there are no students from other professions in any of the student's practice settings, credit may be granted for interactions with non- student professionals which follow an approved structured format). The experiences will include interactions with undergraduate and/or graduate students from a total of at least 4 different related professions with which there are natural affinities or linkages in the professional environment, some professions of which are outside the student's home School/College. In accordance with the guidelines/ requirements of the home School/College, students will prepare a portfolio (or comparable document/process) which maps their interprofessional collaborative learning experiences on to the specific requirements of the School/College. The portfolio will be graded by the School/College on a Pass/Fail basis. Successful completion of this course is a requirement for graduation in all programs, and will be recognized further with the awarding of a special Certificate in Interprofessional Collaboration to be presented by the Faculty of Health Professions.

FORMAT: Portfolio overseen by individual FHP School/College
RESTRICTION: Health Professions students only


Practicum/Fieldwork Placements  

Students enrolled in entry-to-practice graduate programs of study in the Faculty of Health Professions may do some of their required clinical fieldwork at sites outside Halifax. It is the clinical sites' responsibility to provide access to adequate supply of ophthalmic equipment as required by the Program and to make a study/office place available for them. Students are advised that they may have to incur additional personal expenses for travel and temporary accommodation.