Cataract & Refractive Surgery - Theory - Online

Ulster University - Coleraine

Cataract & Refractive Surgery - Theory - Online

This course is designed to be a complete introduction to the how, what and when of laser refractive surgery and refractive cataract surgery. You will develop the theoretical knowledge, qualities, and transferable skills necessary to effectively begin or improve your performance in both laser refractive surgery and refractive cataract surgery. This extensive course will cover key subjects in great detail:

- Basic theory of refractive surgery from how excimer lasers work, to ablation profiles and topography and aberrometry/ wavefront science.

- Therapeutic Refractive Surgery (corneal complication management) principles and approaches.

- Modern laser procedures are dealt with in extreme surgical detail, including surface ablation (PRK, LASEK, EpiLASIK, TransPRK), LASIK, SMILE. Phakic IOLs and Sizing of ICLs including the latest techniques.

- Clear lens extraction is approached from the refractive surgery standpoint: management of astigmatism and higher order aberrations.

After completion, further training and experience gained from shadowing individuals involved in the procedures or assisting those involved would continue to advance knowledge and understanding and develop new higher-level skills.

For further course details please see "Course Web Page" below.

Subjects taught

Year one
Introduction to Theoretical Aspects of Refractive Surgery
The purpose of this module is to critically review foundation requisites for refractive surgery: optics, anatomy, physiology, visual acuity and visual quality, manifest refraction, optical aberrations and presbyopia.

Pre-operative Assessment in Cataract and Refractive Surgery
This module provides the theoretical basis for pre-operative evaluation of patients to refractive and cataract surgery. The various diagnostic techniques are thoroughly reviewed, with the help of real cases.

The Theory of Laser Refractive Surgery
This module covers the history and theoretical aspects of corneal laser refractive surgery including LASIK, PRK, LASEK, Epi-LASIK, and SMILE. The technology of excimer lasers, microkeratomes, and femtosecond lasers, as well as the range of ablation profiles will be reviewed. Surgical technique, safety considerations and intraoperative complications will also be discussed for each procedure. Surgical options for treating keratoconus patients will be described, as well as future treatment modalities. This is reviewed with the help of real cases.

Lens Refractive Surgery
This module provides the theoretical basis for complications of surface ablation, LASIK and intraocular refractive surgery are discussed and their practical management addressed, with problem-solving aimed discussions.

Correction of Regular and Irregular Astigmatism
Classification, aetiology and treatment of irregular (post-surgical, traumatic, etc) and regular astigmatism with laser and incision techniques are addressed. Real cases are discussed to implement understanding.

Understanding Phakic Iols
This module provides in-depth knowledge of preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative aspects of phakic IOLs including combinations of various refractive techniques. Real cases are discussed to implement understanding.

Correction of Presbyopia and High Ametropia
This module provides in-depth knowledge of the controversial aspects of presbyopia surgery, focusing special attention on the drawbacks of each of the following techniques: thermokeratoplasty; excimer laser for presbyopia; clear lens extraction/MICS; aspheric and multifocal IOLs.

Post Operative Complications of Lens and Laser Refractive Surgery
This module reviews the most important and updated information about post-op complications of lens and laser refractive surgery.

Business Development, Clinical Governance And Medicolegal Issues
This module addresses the delicate aspects of patient satisfaction, result auditing, medico legal problems, and reliability of information received by professionals. It will introduce important strategies for successful establishment of a refractive surgery business

Entry requirements

To apply to our postgraduate taught programmes, you must meet the University's General Entrance Requirements and any course-specific requirements.

These vary depending on the course and are detailed online.

Applicants must (a) have gained an Honours or non-Honours degree in a cognate discipline from a University of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, or from a recognised national awarding body, or from an institution of another country which is recognised as being of an equivalent standard;

or an equivalent standard in a Postgraduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate or an approved alternative qualification;

and (b) provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grade C or equivalent) or, as an alternative to the above

(c) in exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.

If English is not your first language this course requires a minimum English level of IELTS (academic) 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5, or equivalent.

Visit for more details.

This course is open to international (non-EU) students.

For full entry requirements please see "Course Web Page" below.

Application dates

Your Application
Application is through the University's online application system (see "Application Weblink" below).


Part-time/Online. This course is taught online so you can study where you want, when you want.

Enrolment dates

Year of entry: 2020/21

Postgraduate Information Session 26 March 2020
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Career options
The majority of students undertaking this online programme will do so for their continued professional development within their individual areas of employment for career enhancement.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma at UK Level 7

  • Attendance type

    Part time

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