Orthoptists investigate, diagnose and treat defects of binocular vision and abnormalities of eye movement. For example, you may deal with:
- misalignment of the eyes (strabismus or squint)
- double vision (diplopia)
- reduced vision (amblyopia)
What you’ll do as an orthoptist
You’ll see a huge variety of patients and help them with many different issues as an orthoptist. Some examples of things you might work on include:
- assessing the vision of babies and small children including children with special needs
- ensuring speedy rehabilitation of patients who have suffered stroke or brain injuries
- diagnosing and monitoring long term eye conditions such as glaucoma
Variety is one of the most exciting things about being an orthoptist. As well as seeing different patients and conditions you’ll also have the opportunity to work independently as well as part of a multi-disciplinary team including consultant eye surgeons (ophthalmologists), optometrists and nurses.
Treatments can include eye patches, glasses or exercises. Some eye problems, such as double vision, may be indicators of other health problems including multiple sclerosis or tumour. You’ll play an important part in spotting these serious conditions.
Most orthoptists work in the NHS. You may work in an eye hospital, hospital eye department or a community health centre. You may also visit schools, including special schools. Outside the NHS, you may work in private clinics.
You’ll work independently or with other eye specialists such as consultant eye surgeons (ophthalmologists), optometrists and nurses. You may work in multidisciplinary teams dealing with, for example, children or stroke patients.
I have been working at CUH as an Orthoptist for over a year since graduating. My role involves a multi-disciplinary approach to the investigation of patients’ vision, eye movements and use of the eyes together e.g 3D vision.
As an Orthoptist, no two days are the same – one day you can be examining the vision and eye movements of a child only a few months of age and then next, you can be doing the same but with a person well into their 90s. The best thing about being an Orthoptist is being able to solve problems and utilise the skills and theoretical knowledge I learnt at university to best treat and manage patients.
Being at CUH has resulted in me progressing professionally. The variety of complex eye conditions I see encourages me to continue to learn and develop as a health professional. Working at CUH has allowed me to progress my skills into further ophthalmology sub-specialities including training to investigate patients in the Glaucoma service as an extended role.
I feel privileged to work at CUH knowing I am helping patients and providing them with the best possible care. The sense of achievement and reward you feel in improving a patient’s vision is profound!