What is orthoptics?
What do orthoptists do?
An orthoptist is an eye therapist who measures visual acuity, our ability to see.
Orthoptists traditionally provided care and treatment for patients with eye movement disorders. More recently, orthoptists have expanded their role and are also involved in the care of patients with eye disease such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, age related macular degeneration, systemic or neurological vision disorders and low vision.
Orthoptists work in many areas including neonatal care, paediatrics, rehabilitation, geriatrics, neurological impairment, community services and ophthalmic technology. Orthoptists are registered with the Australian Orthoptic Board.
There is a current shortage of orthoptists in hospital, community and rehabilitation settings.
brochure: What is an orthoptist? (pdf, 205.6KB)
An ophthalmologist is a specialist medical doctor who is licensed to practice medicine and surgery. He or she diagnoses and treats all eye diseases, performs eye surgery, and prescribes ocular medications for the management of conditions such as glaucoma and age related macular degeneration. Orthoptists often work in medical teams with ophthalmologists.
An optometrist is a graduate in Bachelor of Optometry, licensed to practice optometry. Optometrists determine the need for glasses and contact lenses, prescribe optical correction, and screen for abnormalities of the eye. They primarily work in shopfront practices offering primary eye care.
Orthoptics is a profession for eye therapists, so we are the therapy side of eye care. We are the people who spend a lot of time communicating with patients, and improving their eye care, and listening to their problems.
As an orthoptist, we specialise in non-surgical or diagnostic, eye care. We do a variety of things from vision testing, testing how your eyes work together, whether they've got any diseases in the back of the eye.
Orthoptists work in a variety of settings. So we obviously work in hospitals, and private practise. In addition, we do a lot of work with young children. But the majority of orthoptists out there in practise, we work very closely with ophthalmologists, in some way or another.
The Master of Orthoptics at UTS, has the great advantage of being very up to date in its teaching technology. We have some very good links with industry. We're bringing in a lot of technology. We get a lot of equipment that our students can have access to. Then when they go out on clinical placement or even into the workforce on their own, they already know how to work at the patient care.
I'm loving the course at the moment, Orthoptics has been great. I've always wanted to be in a health profession, and it does fit with me. It's science-y, it's medical, and I get to help people.
Master of Orthoptics has been really good in offering a lot of clinical placement hours for us. I was given the opportunity to go internationally, as part of my placement experience. And I managed to secure a job before I even completed my studies here at UTS.
The job prospects for orthoptists are excellent. I can only see the demand for orthoptists continuing to increase into the future.