Orthoptists assess, diagnose and treat visual defects and abnormal eye movements in children and adults. Orthoptists specialise in the assessment of visual function, particularly in children and those with communication difficulties.
Orthoptists work autonomously and as part of the eye care team in Hospitals or health centres with hospital Optometrists (who test for glasses) and Ophthalmologists (eye doctors). Orthoptists are Allied Health Professionals registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
They treat conditions such as Lazy eye (amblyopia). The aim of amblyopia treatment is to maximise visual potential in the affected eye(s) in young children when it falls below the age- related normal range, Children/adults with misalignment of the eyes (strabismus /squint) and other visual disturbances including double vision which can be the result of Stroke or other neurological conditions.
A treatment plan is discussed and agreed with you at your appointments. It may involve further appointments with other members of the eye care team which may be in a different location.
Orthoptic Clinics operate in:
- The Ulster Hospital (out-patients)
- The Downe Hospital (out-patients)
- Lisburn Health Centre
- Stewartstown Road Health Centre
- Bangor Health Centre
Children can get a referral through the GP, Health Visitor, School Health, GOS Optometrist, Paediatrician, Ophthalmologist and other medical specialties.
Adults can get referred through the GP, GOS Optometrist, Ophthalmologist and other medical specialties.
“Amblyopia” is a condition where the vision in one or both eyes doesn’t develop properly. In Northern Ireland an Orthoptist Led Vision Screening Programme for 4-5 year olds is in place. This takes place in school and is part of the P1 health appraisal.
British and Irish Orthoptic Society – www.orthoptics.org.uk
The Royal College of Othalmologists – www.rcophth.ac.uk
Squint Clinic – www.squintclinic.com