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Ophthalmic Sciences


The Department of Ophthalmic Sciences is the home to studies pertaining to dispensing opticians. The Department of Ophthalmic Sciences offers the Diploma in Opticianry (currently being phased out, having had its last intake in 2023) as well as the newly introduced 3-year Bachelor of Health Science (BHSc) in Opticianry.

What is Ophthalmic Sciences

Ophthalmic Sciences at CPUT focuses on training dispensing opticians in their role within the greater eye care team. Working as a dispensing optician is a varied and multi-faceted career, which offers a balance between working with people and using modern scientific technology to the benefit of the patient. A dispensing optician analyses a written prescription from an ophthalmologist or optometrist and also considers the lifestyle and working environment of the patient. By taking accurate facial measurements, using sophisticated equipment, applying knowledge of ophthalmic lens materials and interpreting the prescription, the dispensing optician can order, manufacture and process ophthalmic lenses and produce devices to correct defects of vision. The work also entails screening before visual examinations as well as adjustments, and repairs to spectacles and contact lens modifications. The good dispensing optician develops and maintains an enduring relationship with the patient, which makes the career a rewarding and fulfilling one.

Brief overview of qualifications offered

Our qualifications aim to educate and train competent, responsible and accountable dispensing opticians for the ophthalmic industry. The course addresses the needs of the industry for qualified dispensing opticians with relevant qualifications that are recognised both nationally and internationally. Dispensing opticians are required to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. Both our Diploma: Opticianry and BHSc: Opticianry are 3-year qualifications, comprised of a balance of theory and practical training. Although the theory offering is multimodal with some modules offered remotely, it is covered largely via face-to-face teaching and learning. Practical teaching and assessment blocks are scheduled for each year group.

Diploma: Opticianry

Industry placement for Work-integrated Learning is required in the third and final year of the course during which time students will compile a patient case portfolio.

BHSc: Opticianry

Various forms of Work-integrated learning take place throughout the course, during which time students will compile a-patient case portfolio.

Minimum Entrance Requirements


APS score

English(HL or FAL)


or Maths Lit

Life Science

Physical Science

Diploma: Opticianry







BHSc Opticianry







Additional admission requirements

All students who meet the minimum entrance requirements will be invited to a digital interview.

Career prospects

A dispensing optician registers with the HPCSA as an Independent Practitioner and may therefore set up their own ophthalmic dispensing practice. The optician may work in the private or public health care sector or else work in the wholesale industry in optical laboratories. The registered dispensing optician has several exciting opportunities available to them including:

  • Ophthalmic lens laboratories
  • Optical industry representatives
  • Private optometry/ opticianry or ophthalmology practice
  • Public sector hospitals
  • Dedicated private sector eye clinics
  • Educational institutions

International demand for trained dispensing opticians is increasing, with a number of graduates working abroad.

What kind of person will enjoy this field of study?

The dispensing optician should enjoy working with their hands as well as with people. A strong desire to help people, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a curiosity towards ever-changing optical technologies are drivers for success in this career. The job requires excellent communication skills, great accuracy and attention to detail and potential applicants should possess these qualities. A prospective student with interest in the medical sciences, optical technology and design would find this qualification most interesting and rewarding.A student who embraces a neat appearance, good personal hygiene and loves working and interacting with people is essential for the dental assistant student as a member of the oral health team who will work closely with patients in a clinical setting.


Details on the cost of fees can be obtained at the following website: http://www.cput.ac.za/study/fees


Name: Shaun Ketile
Tel: +27 21 450 3560
Email: ketiles@cput.ac.za

Physical address:
20 de Villiers Street
Cape Town

Postal address:
PO Box 652
Cape Town