Orthoptists are part of the Ophthalmology service. We work closely with Optometrists and support the Consultant Ophthalmologists in their work. We are a Countywide team consisting of 14 Orthoptists based at Cheltenham General Hospital and Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, but we also travel to peripheral hospitals and health centres within the county. We are registered Allied Health Professionals entering at degree level.
An Orthoptist works autonomously, diagnosing and managing disorders of binocular vision. Many of our patients do not need to see a doctor but are managed by us. Our patients cover a wide range of ages from a newborn baby to the elderly. We are experts in assessing babies and young children for visual defects, including children with special needs and specific learning difficulties including dyslexia.
A large proportion of our therapy involves treating low vision associated with squint and a lazy eye (amblyopia treatment). We diagnose and manage patients who present with double vision which may be associated with an underlying medical condition such as diabetes, high BP, thyroid disorders, myasthenic conditions, MS and other neurological conditions. We have contact with the Stroke Unit and contribute to the rehabilitation of these patients.
In our extended role, we are involved in other types of clinics such as cataract, glaucoma and juvenile idiopathic arthritis.