Department of Eye Care

The prevalence of blindness and visual impairment throughout PNG is high. These conditions not only affect people’s quality of life, but have substantial economic implications for the community and government, through loss of productivity, and eye and health care costs.
An estimated 58,000 people over 50 in PNG are blind, with an additional 10,000 cases each year. Cataracts account for 70% of blindness, followed by refractive error, corneal diseases and trauma - all commonly treatable conditions. A further 550,000 are estimated to have low vision. The good news is that approximately three quarters of blindness and visual impairment is treatable. Eye care interventions are amongst the most straightforward and cost effective health care interventions, as long as eye health professionals have had appropriate training to provide the interventions. The bad news is that PNG is presently extremely under-resourced in eye health professionals. The one-year Advanced Diploma in Eye Care (ADEC) aims to address this gap by training eye care professionals. The graduates of ADEC are registered as Opthalmic Clinicians in the Medical Board of Papua New Guinea.

Program structure
The ADEC is suitable for a motivated nurse, or health extension officer (with a minimum of one year’s work experience) who wishes to provide specialised eye care services, and who has the support of their employer.

Its curriculum is based on World Health Organisation recommendations and is designed to ensure graduates have appropriate clinical skills and knowledge to provide high quality eye care services in PNG. It is based on the type of work PNG’s eye care personnel are required to perform, with the equipment they have available, and in the circumstances and health systems in which they are required to perform it.

The range of knowledge and skills developed by the students during this course will enable them to provide diagnosis and non-surgical treatment and management of eye conditions and vision problems as well as the refraction and prescription of spectacles.


The course consists of eight (8) units that teach the students to:

Diagnose and manage common eye conditions – Essential Eye Care (EC301)
•    Applied ocular anatomy and physiology, ophthalmic history taking, examination and performing diagnostic tests.

Provide basic refraction services – Refraction 1 (EC302)
•    Spherical and Presbyopic correction determination and appropriate prescribing and dispensing of spectacles.

Provide ophthalmic operating theatre assistance – Operating Theatre (EC303)
•    Handling, care and maintenance of surgical instruments and equipment, infection control, operating theatre protocol.

Provide basic clinical services – Clinical Experience (EC309)
•    Examining patients with simple eye conditions, under supervision, to consolidate the learning of the first two units.

Provide advanced clinical services – Clinical Rotations (EC311)
•    Examining patients, under supervision, in the Modilion Hospital Eye Clinic will provide extensive practical clinical experience of a wide range of eye conditions and eye diseases together with appropriate treatment and management. It also includes the operating theatre skills performed under supervision.

Community Eye Care EC304

This unit brings focus of the provision of eye care from the individual patient to the community and wider population. The unit will cover the impact of blindness and visual impairment on a global scale, including the quality of life, economic and social burdens on an individual and society. It will involve critical analysis of the barriers that people face to accessing eye care, with particular focus on gender and poverty in the PNG context. During the unit, students will be required to annalyse the most effective and appropriate ways providing sustainable eye care services at a community level, involving formation of community partnerships and integration of eye care into primary health care services.

Eye Health Promotion EC305

The unit will address the concept of eye health promotion by placing emphasis on the influence of beliefs, values, perceptions, attitudes and social structures within the community on health behaviors. The unit aims to provide the student with an understanding that effective health promotion requires community development and empowerment and a healthy setting in which the achievement of health is possible. The unit will  cover the essential skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to provide high quality, culturally sensitive information, education, communication and supportive services in order to promote individual and community eye health, the prevention fo eye problems and an increased awareness of eye care.

Quality Eye Care Management EC306

This unit develops the graduate eye care provider's ability to facilitate the management of the provision of high quality, comprehensive care. This includes the planning, development and management of eye care services, information and financial systems. The unit emphasizes the requirement for acceptable, efficient and equitable eye care service delivery. During this unit, strategies for the planning and implementation of sustainable services will be discussed.

The satisfactory completion all the eight (8) units are required for graduation.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements

• A nursing or health extension officer qualification permitting registration in Papua New Guinea

• Minimum of 1 year work experience in a health related field

• Matriculation up to grade 12 is also required

Special Entry may be considered, on a case-by-case basis, for those who do not satisfy the above requirements for admission to the Advance Diploma program.

Graduates must be committed to at least two years of eye care service delivery following graduation, and be prepared to undergo activity and outcome surveillance during that time. They are also encouraged to participate in continuing education, to maintain and improve their skills and knowledge.

An important condition of acceptance is that the employer of the applicant must provide an assurance in writing that the graduate will be facilitated to provide eye care in Papua New Guinea, preferably in the public sector, for a period equivalent to the length of training undertaken.

The program was designed by The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, which coordinates a large eye health program with its partners in PNG, focusing on training eye care workers and equipping eye clinics to prevent and treat blindness. FHFNZ and its local partner FHF-PNG manage the eye clinic at Modilon General Hospital where the clinical components of the course take place.  Some candidates may be considered for a scholarship from FHFNZ, which covers tuition and certain other DWU related expenses.

Contact Details

The Executive Officer to the Dean of FMHS
Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences
Phone: (+675) 422 2937 Ext: 770
Fax: (+675) 422 2812
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Papua New Guinea Education Manager- The Fred Hallows Foundation New Zealand
Phone (Direct): (+675) 422 2101  Phone extension: (+675) 422 2919
Fax: (+675) 422 0616
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The Registrar
Phone: (+675) 422 2937 Ext: 704
Fax: (+675) 422 2812
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Application Form & Newsletter

Application Forms

Click here to download a 2016 ADEC Application Form

Click here to download a FHFNZ Scholarship Application Form 2016



Click here to download PNG Newsletter (June 2015)



2015 Graduate of the Advance Diploma in Eye Care

IMG 3528