What is an Orthoptist?
Upon receiving an undergraduate degree, an orthoptist completes a two-year master's level training program and must pass a series of board examinations before receiving certification. Orthoptists are key members of pediatric ophthalmology and neuro-ophthalmology teams. They have been respected members of allied health care in ophthalmology for more than fifty years!
The Orthoptist sees patients of all ages, ranging from newborn's to grandparents. Depending on the age and the need of the patient, the Orthoptist will perform several specific tests to measure and assess visual acuity, focusing ability, binocular functions, eye movements and color vision, as well as retinoscopy and refraction (checking a child or adult for glasses).
The Orthoptist helps the ophthalmologist develop a treatment plan, which may involve treatment by the Orthoptist (such as patching, eye drops, eye exercises, special use of glasses and bifocals), surgical treatment by the ophthalmologist or a combination of both.
The word"Orthoptist" is of Greek origin, and is derived from:
"ortho" = Straight, right +"opsis" = vision
Orthoptists are uniquely skilled in detecting, assessing, diagnosing and performing non-surgical management of eye movement, eye alignment, and visual abnormalities such as:
- Lazy eye (amblyopia)
- Childhood strabismus (misaligned eyes)
- Eye problems associated with neurological delay (Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, etc.)
- Eye problems associated with systemic disease (Thyroid Disease, Myasthenia Gravis, etc.)
- Double vision
- Nystagmus (wiggly eyes)