Course code ORT6033
30 credits


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Key dates

This module runs twice a year.


Start date: 10 September 2022 with an introductory weekend

End date: 24 March 2023

Closing date for applications: 26 August 2022


Start date: 10 March 2023 (Commences with a virtual introductory day on Friday 10 March 2023 times TBC)

End date: 11 August 2023,

Closing date for applications: 18 February 2022

Mode of attendance

The September intake will commence with a virtual weekend which will be held online over two days at the start of the module. The March intake will commence with a virtual introductory day will be held online at the start of the module. Further details will be made available upon application.

MCQ Examination

Dates to be confirmed


To facilitate advanced practice in the area of prescription only and non-prescription exemption listed medicines for Orthoptists, by enhancing knowledge of the pharmacokinetics and actions of these specific medicines.


In 2016, changes to The Human Medicines Regulations 2012 were passed in government to allows the use of exemptions within the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 by Orthoptists. This change introduces exemptions for orthoptists to sell, supply and administer certain medicines. To use these exemptions, orthoptists must undertake a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) approved post-registration programme and obtain an annotation on the HCPC Register.

Medicines exempted for use by Orthoptists

These medicines can be categorised into:

Prescription only medicines

a) Anti-microbials; chloramphenicol, fusidic acid

b) Antimuscarinics; atropine, cyclopentolate, tropicamide

c) Local anaesthetics; Lidocaine with fluorescein, Oxybuprocaine, Proxymetacaine, Tetracaine

Non-prescription medicines either on the General Sales List or Pharmacy only list

For supply and administration in the course of professional practice, for example phenylephrine 2.5%, sodium cromoglicate, fluorescein and some ocular lubricants.

Overview of content

  1. Introduction
  2. Legal framework
  3. Pharmacology and Anatomy
  4. Communication
  5. Cycloplegia and Mydriasis
  6. Ocular lubricants
  7. Local anaesthetics
  8. Antimicrobials
  9. Administer and supply
  10. Record Keeping
  11. Continued Professional Development

Please note that successful completion of this Exemptions Module (ORT6033) would only lead to HCPC registered Orthoptists being eligible to apply for an annotation on the HCPC register to use Exemptions to supply medicines in clinical practice. No other eye care professionals other than Orthoptists would be eligible to apply to the HCPC for annotation.

Who can study this module

This module is available to anybody with a relevant qualification in the eye care profession. Currently we have Low Vision nurses, Optometrists and Ophthalmologists studying with us. We currently have a number of spaces open on this course to students who would like to take this one module as a standalone.

This module is also available to students undertaking the full MMedSci Vision and Strabismus degree and is an option for module three, the first module of the second year. For this reason, both standalone students and MMedSci Vision and Strabismus students will study alongside each other for the September intake at the introductory day. 


In order to undertake this course you will need to first gain the support of a 'primary exemptions tutor'. This is a person who is currently qualified to supply and administer the medicines listed above. Ideally this would be an ophthalmologist, optometrist, or annotated orthoptist who you work with in your trust and with whom you have a good working relationship. You will need this person to fill out a 'primary exemptions tutor support form' available to download here: Primary Exemptions Tutor (PET) support form.  Please send the completed and signed form by email to orthoptics@sheffield.ac.uk at the same time that you submit your application. Alternatively you can post it to us.

Your primary exemptions tutor will need to offer you mentorship and support throughout the course, for example having reflective discussions with you and signing off on any decisions to supply medicines not whilst you undertake the course, that are not already covered by an existing patient group or patient specific directive.

We have produced a primary exemptions tutor handbook which is available to download here: Primary Exemptions Tutor Handbook


The module is worth 30 credits and upon successful completion, you will receive a certificate which you can use, if registered as an Orthoptist with the HCPC, to apply to the HCPC to be annotated on the register as able to use Exemptions.

If you study any two standalone modules from the Division of Ophthalmology and Orthoptics, these may be combined to enable the award of a Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits). Any four standalone modules would enable the award of a Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) as long as the credits are gained within a five-year time span.

HCPC approval

This module has been approved by The Health and Care Professions Council.

How to apply for the module

Please visit our how to apply page.

Tuition fees for individual modules

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