Skip to navigation Skip to content

Cataract and Refractive Surgery (Theory) - PgDip - Video

This programme has been designed in collaboration with The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) standards, curriculum and examination committees and is the only endorsed RCOphth refractive surgery programme completed fully online in the UK.

Take a look


This programme has been designed in collaboration with The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) standards, curriculum and examination committees and is the only endorsed RCOphth refractive surgery programme completed fully online in the UK.


Celebrating now the twenty-fifth anniversary of LASIK in 2015, Refractive Surgery commands far greater evidence-based clinical concordance amongst specialists performing preoperative surgical assessment, surgical technique and complication management, than ever before. This programme of study includes the best practice patterns based on the wealth of accumulated scientific knowledge of the last two decades and provides, for both the novice and experienced surgeon, a template for establishing safe and effective practice in the field. This programme has been designed in collaboration with The Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) standards, curriculum and examination committees and is the only endorsed RCOphth refractive surgery programme complete fully online in the UK.

Sign up for course updates

Sign up to receive regular updates, news and information on courses, events and developments at Ulster University.

We’ll not share your information and you can unsubscribe at any time.

About this course

In this section


Students of refractive or cataract surgery are often in full-time employment and have difficulty attending taught programmes. Hence, a novel approach has been used where internationally renowned refractive specialists have given talks which are presented in an e-learning format enabling greater innovation, flexibility and creativity in curriculum design and delivery. This also enables you to study in your own time and location with the support of e-tutors and programme discussion pages. The Postgraduate Diploma in Cataract and Refractive Surgery (Theory) is suitable for ophthalmologists, optometrists, orthopists, nurse practitioners and ophthalmic technicians. This programme is the endorsed by the RCOphth as the only preparatory course in the UK for their Certificate in Laser Refractive Surgery examination. The programme offers a platform to learn the latest complex and sophisticated methodologies in laser and other refractive corneal and lens (IOL) based surgery including preoperative keratoconus screening, toric-IOL diagnostics and calculations, as well as understanding ocular and systemic co-morbidity when considering elective refractive surgery. A critical approach to multifocal IOL surgery is included based on published safety and efficacy as well as neuro-psychoadaptation. There is much attention focused on the systematisation and optimisation of surgical techniques. Advances in published knowledge provide a more established understanding of therapeutic refractive surgery for complications management.


Fully online distance learning.

Start dates

  • October 2017
How to apply


Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Introduction to Theoretical Aspects of Refractive Surgery

Year: 1

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

Year: 1

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

Year: 1

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

Year: 1

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

Year: 1

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

Year: 1

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

Year: 1

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

Year: 1

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

Year: 1

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

Year two

Cataract Refractive Surgery Research Project

Year: 2

This module provides the opportunity, through research, to integrate knowledge of cataract or refractive surgery by the advanced study, research and elucidation of a chosen topic. It is conducted under supervision.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

Entry Requirements

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, from the Council for National Academic Awards, the National Council for Educational Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council or from an institution of another country which has been 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) and evidence of competence in mathematics (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.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores. (link to:

Careers & opportunities

In this section

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.


How to apply

Applications to our postgraduate courses are made through the University’s online application system.

Start dates

  • October 2017

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (total cost)

Important notice - fees information Please note fees displayed are for 2017/18 Academic Entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages to find out more

Northern Ireland & EU:
£4,590.00  Scholarships available

Additional mandatory costs

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.


Course Director: Professor Tara Moore

T: +44 (0)28 7012 4577


Mrs Sharon Shirley, Programme Co-ordinator

T: +44 (0)28 7012 4805