Summary

  • Orthoptists are university trained, registered eye health care professionals.
  • Early detection of eye disease and regular monitoring is the best protection against loss of vision.
An orthoptist is an eye care professional who specialises in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of vision and eye disorders. Early detection and monitoring of certain eye conditions through regular check-ups is the best protection against vision loss and sight problems. Orthoptic treatment aims to relieve symptoms and improve vision.

Orthoptists mostly work in specialist eye clinics and public hospitals, within an eye healthcare team and alongside ophthalmologists. Orthoptists monitor eye disease and provide non-surgical treatment, which includes prescribing glasses for children and adults. Orthoptists also provide low vision rehabilitation services to people with vision impairment.

Orthoptists in eye healthcare

Orthoptists are university trained health professionals. They are integral to the work of the eye healthcare team in providing quality care for patients. Some of the common eye conditions orthoptists investigate, monitor and assist in treating are:
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetic eye disease
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Refractive error (need for glasses)
  • Vision consequences of stroke and neurological diseases.
Orthoptists also play an important role in the care of patients before and after surgery, in particular those who undergo cataract, retinal or refractive surgery.

Eye movement problems and children’s vision

Orthoptists exclusively specialise in treating children and adults who have:
  • Strabismus (turned eye)
  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Diplopia (double vision)
  • Eye movement abnormalities that may be of neurologic origin or result from trauma.

Vision rehabilitation

Rehabilitation programs are designed to reverse vision loss in children with amblyopia (lazy eye), to assist people with eye conditions to achieve comfortable vision and to help people with vision impairment get the most out of their remaining (residual) sight.

Depending on the disorder, some of the treatments may include:
  • Patching
  • Orthoptic exercises
  • Glasses
  • Lighting.

The need for regular check-ups

Early detection and regular monitoring of eye disease is important as many conditions can be prevented from progressing and becoming a threat to the person’s sight.

Children need regular eye checks for:
  • Strabismus (turned eye)
  • Ambylopia (lazy eye)
  • Refractive error (need for glasses).
Adults need regular eye checks for:
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic eye disease
  • Cataract.

How to find an orthoptist

Orthoptists work in a range of settings, including:
  • Public hospitals working with children’s vision or other eye problems – for example, the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and the Royal Children’s Hospital
  • Specialist eye clinics
  • Vision rehabilitation facilities
  • Universities and affiliated research units.

Where to get help

Things to remember

  • Orthoptists are university trained, registered eye health care professionals.
  • Early detection of eye disease and regular monitoring is the best protection against loss of vision.

More information

Eyes

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Eye conditions

Content Partner

This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Orthoptics Australia

Last updated: June 2014

Page content currently being reviewed.

Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.