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How We See the World: Visual Function and Eye Health

Hong Kong Polytechnic University via edX


How do we see the world? How do we see details at different viewing distances? How do we see in three dimensions? How do we see colour? How can we avoid getting cataracts or prevent short-sightedness?

This course will help you develop your understanding of vision, how visual functions relate to your daily life, and how you can better take care of your eyes. Spanning six modules, the course begins with a detailed look at the structures and functions of the eye. It then moves on to explore critical issues such as the limits of the eye’s resolution, depth perception and colour vision, before examining the impact of common eye problems on daily life and outlining strategies for improving eye health.

Engage with content and fellow learners through videos, animations, hands-on experiments and forum discussions, and check your understanding through quizzes and a short assignment at the end of each module. Learners who pursue the verified track gain access to a complete 3D eye model , virtual labs , live online sessions and personalised instructor feedback on each assignment.

This course is designed for anyone in the general public with an interest in eye care or ocular health. It is a perfect introduction for aspiring eye care professionals, including optometrists, ophthalmologists, ophthalmic technicians and opticians.


Module 1: Structures and functions of the eye

Learn about the anatomy and physiology of the eye. Discover how the eye focuses and captures images of the world, and how it converts light into a signal that travels to the brain for processing. Explore the movements and shape of the eye, and the structures that help to protect it.

Module 2: The resolution of the eye

Learn about the resolution capability of the human eye and how you see fine detail. Discover the characteristics of the eye chart used to measure vision and what it means to see 20/20.

Module 3: Depth perception

Learn how the two eyes and brain work together to perceive depth and what happens when this system doesn't function properly. Discover how you perceive depth in two-dimensional photos or drawings.

Module 4: Colour vision

Learn how humans see colour by detecting different wavelengths of light. Discover what happens when you add different colours of light together. Find out how people with colour vision deficiency see the world differently.

Module 5: Common eye conditions

Explore the types of refractive error and how they can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or surgery. Learn about the signs, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of common eye diseases including cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Module 6: How to protect your eyes

Find out how to protect your eyes from preventable vision problems including sun damage and sports-related injuries. Learn about ways to prevent eye strain when using digital devices. Discover the methods being used to slow the progression of short-sightedness (near-sightedness) in children.

Taught by

Jessica Neuville and Patrick Ting

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