Ulster University accredited for two new higher qualifications

Ulster University has been accredited to provide two of the College of Optometrists’ higher qualifications: the Professional Certificate in Low Vision and the Professional Certificate in Paediatric Eye Care.

The Professional Certificate in Low Vision has been developed to provide optometrists with up-to-date knowledge in holistic low vision care and provide a high standard of low vision care in either hospital or community optometry for non-complex cases. It will be delivered mainly through a virtual learning environment but students will need to attend the University for a practical clinical skills session for low vision assessment. The first Professional Certificate in Low Vision Ulster course will start in January 2017 and will last 16 weeks.

The Professional Certificate in Paediatric Eye Care provides optometrists with the knowledge to support evidence-based eye care for infants and children of all ages. The course has been specially designed so that it can be undertaken entirely through distance-learning, thus providing busy practitioners from all over the UK and beyond an opportunity to gain this higher qualification utilising modern web-based learning tools, including online tutorials. A face-to-face tutorial at the University is also available for those wishing to attend. The course will begin in January 2017 and will be 14 weeks long.

Both courses are designed as equivalent to a 20 credit level 7 QAA module, involving approximately 200 hours of learning.

Jackie Martin, director of education at the College said: “We’re pleased that Ulster University has been successful in gaining accreditation from the College to provide these courses to optometrists and to widen the availability of our higher qualifications, because we know that optometrists want to develop skills in these areas. These courses are an important undertaking as they are designed to enable optometrists to progress in their careers and ultimately to offer patients enhanced services.”

Prof. Kathryn Saunders, Professor of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Ulster said: I’m really excited that Ulster University is extending the range of higher qualifications offered in collaboration with the College. Both these new higher qualifications are strongly linked to Ulster University Optometry and Vision Science’s clinical and research expertise and build on the experience Ulster has in delivering high quality Masters level professional education through distance-learning.”

These courses are a part of a growing offer of higher qualifications developed by the College of Optometrists in order to enable optometrists to provide extended services in key areas such as children’s eye care, low vision, glaucoma, contact lens practice and medical retina. Courses are undertaken on a part-time basis and are designed to fit with life in a busy practice or hospital department.

Optometrists who have achieved a College-accredited higher qualification can use an affix, or letters, after their name. For the Professional Certificate in Low Vision, this will be; Prof Cert LV. For the Professional Certificate in Paediatric Eye Care, it will be; Prof Cert Paed Eye Care. These affixes will be displayed on the GOC register for all those qualified.

In addition to the new certificate, Ulster University also offers the Professional Certificate in Glaucoma and a Professional Certificate in Medical Retina.