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Key features

This module will enable students to extend their theoretical knowledge of medical retina and develop their clinical skills to an advanced level to support differential diagnosis, referral, management and treatment pathways. 
This module has been designed to allow applicants to gain recognition against the College of Optometrists Professional Higher Certificate in Medical Retina and to support progression through the Ophthalmic Practitioner Training (OPT) framework in Medical Retina.

Module code




FHEQ Level

7 – masters degree


Blended learning approach: distance learning delivery of theoretical content, with one face-to-face clinical teaching day at the start of the module, a live webinar opportunity and one face-to-face assessment day at the end of the module.

Module details

This module will equip students with advanced theoretical knowledge and clinical expertise in relation to medical retina conditions.
Units of study include:
  • Complex communication.
  • Advanced Clinical Investigative Techniques.
  • Advanced clinical decision making in medical retina disorders.
  • Inherited retinal disease.
  • Vascular disorders linked to systemic disease.
  • Inflammatory and infectious disorders.
  • Differential diagnoses of medical retina disorders.

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate a systematic knowledge and understanding of advanced medical retina, inherited retinal disorders and complex macular conditions including differential diagnosis, management, referral and treatment pathways. 
  • Demonstrate systematic knowledge and understanding of diabetic grading, referral, monitoring, management and treatment options.
  • Demonstrate the ability to systematically and critically analyse and interpret the clinical findings recorded during the investigation of a patient with a medical retina disorder, including inherited retinal disorder and produce complex clinical management recommendations to meet the differing needs of a variety of medical retina patients.
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform and interpret advanced clinical assessments to aid the diagnosis and monitoring of complex medical retina and inherited retinal conditions. 
  • Systematically organise and communicate with complex medical retina patients to elicit comprehensive clinical information and deliver relevant and accessible advice. 

Clinical placement

In order to obtain the College of Optometrists Professional Higher Certificate in Medical Retina, students are required to work within, or complete a clinical placement within, a medical retina clinic, under the mentorship of an ophthalmologist who specialises in medical retina. This placement must be arranged by the student prior to enrolment and must enable them to obtain experience of at least 200 patients of varying diagnosis and complexity. The placement is assessed through completion of a clinical logbook with viva. As a minimum guideline, one session per week (half day), over a 6–9 month period is recommended.
Recognition Prior Learning (RPL) can be considered towards the clinical placement for those practitioners with at least 2 years’ experience working in medical retina management on a regular basis (minimum of one session per week) within a hospital, clinic or appropriate setting. Please contact the module team for further information:
NB. It is possible to complete this Advanced Medical Retina module without the clinical placement element, however this will not lead to the award of the College of Optometrists Professional Higher Certificate.


The assessment for this module includes, written examination, clinical examination (OSCE) and a clinical portfolio with viva.

Admissions information 

Additional information and documentation required for the application process.
  • Application forms. 
  • Change of name forms.
  • Pre-course information.
  • Downloadable guides.
  • Student card.
Admissions information Additional information and documentation required for the application process.Access to application forms, download guides and confirmation information. Visit our admissions homepage.

Module dates

Module start date: 27 January 2025 
Clinical teaching day: 03 March 2025 (in person at University of Plymouth)
Webinar session: 26 March 2025 (4-6pm virtual)
OSCE and written examination day: 16 June 2025 (in person at University of Plymouth)
Viva examination: 09 June 2025 (virtual)
The dates provided are those on which student attendance is needed. There are other key dates for the module (e.g. portfolio submission) which will be provided once the student has been enrolled. 
Occasionally delivery dates might be subject to change – always check with the module lead or Professional Development Unit.
Please be aware that all modules run to minimum numbers.
In the event that there are low numbers, this module may be rescheduled to an alternative date. 
Some modules are also subject to maximum numbers.


Module Lead

Entry requirements

  • Registered ophthalmic professional working in a clinical area that will facilitate the successful completion of the module learning outcomes. 
  • It is a pre-requisite that students completing this module have successfully completed the Medical Retina (ACO702) module, or an equivalent Level 7 module in Medical Retina.
  • Students looking to obtain the College of Optometrists Higher Professional Certificate in Medical Retina, must already hold the College of Optometrists Professional Certificate in Medical Retina.
  • Students looking to obtain the College of Optometrists Professional Higher Certificate in Medical Retina are required to arrange a clinical placement in a medical retina clinic, as detailed above, and provide details of their placement location and mentor at the point of application.
  • Due to the blended learning delivery model of this module, it is an expectation that applicants will have access to wi-fi and relevant electronic devices that allow them to engage fully with all aspects of module delivery, teaching, learning and assessment. 
  • In some cases, an interview may be required to assess individual ability to meet the requirements of this module. 

MSc Advanced Clinical Practice in Ophthalmology

This module can be studied as a standalone 20 credit option or as part of the full MSc Advanced Clinical Practice in Ophthalmology.
An innovative and flexible MSc programme supporting the postgraduate development of registered ophthalmic professionals to an advanced level of practice in Clinical Ophthalmology.
Full programme details can be found on our MSc Advanced Clinical Practice in Ophthalmology page. 
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You can contact the Professional Development Unit with any queries

Prospective student enquiries:
Current student enquiries:
Professional Development Unit, Level 4 Rolle Building, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA, United Kingdom.
Monday – Thursday 8:30–17:00 and Friday 8:30–16:30.