What is an Orthoptist?

Orthoptists are university-trained, allied health care practitioners who specialize in disorders of eye movements and diagnostic procedures related to disorders of the eye and visual system.

Orthoptic treatment of certain conditions can relieve visual symptoms and enhance visual performance.

Orthoptists work in many areas including neonatal care, paediatrics, rehabilitation, geriatrics, neurological impairment, community services and ophthalmic technology.

Orthoptists are registered with Australian Orthoptic Board.

What does the Orthoptist do in an ophthalmic setting?

  • Assess vision and the need for glasses;
  • Measure the power of the current glasses worn;
  • Measure the pressure within the eye(glaucoma check);
  • Measure the field of vision i.e. peripheral vision (which can be affected by strokes and glaucoma)
  • Measure the length and shape of the eye before cataract surgery;
  • Examine and assess the shape of the cornea;
  • Measure tear film production;
  • Perform colour vision assessments;
  • Assist in Fundus Fluorescein Angiography;
  • Assist with laser procedures (refractive surgery, glaucoma treatment, “after cataract” laser)
  • Assist in minor procedures such as tear duct probing, cysts removal from the eyelid;
  • Photography of the eye (retina,lens,cornea);
  • Discuss cataract surgery with the patient;
  • Education and fitting of contacts lenses;
  • Patient education regarding their eye condition and ways to cope.

Specialized surgeons may also have the orthoptist assisting with cataract surgery, organizing operations and assessing the retina using special laser.

Orthoptists perform technical tests to aid the Ophthalmologist in the diagnosis and best treatment of your eye condition.

Orthoptists can provide patient education regarding eye treatment as discussed with the eye doctor.

An orthoptist in an ophthalmic setting may be found working with an Ophthalmologist (a doctor who specialized in eye surgery and diseases), in Public Hospital Eye Clinic and Stroke/Head Injury Units, Agencies for Vision Impaired and Refractive Surgery Centres.

*Sources from Orthoptics Association of Australia Inc.