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Orthoptics literally means "straight eyes". It is the study of the development of vision, depth perception, eye movements, eye alignment and the ability to use the eyes as a pair. The client group ranges from babies to the elderly.

Orthoptists take referrals from Ophthalmologists, GPs, Optometrists, Paediatricians, Neurologists as well as many other professionals.

When visiting the Orthoptist the patient will have a detailed medical and eye history taken and an examination using various tests. This enables the Orthoptist to arrive at a diagnosis and make an individual treatment plan or arrange further investigations by other professionals if necessary.

Treatment may be in the form of spectacles given by the hospital optometrist, occlusion patches for amblyopia (lazy vision), prisms to correct double vision or exercises for eye strain. If surgery to realign the eyes is indicated the Orthoptist will liaise with the surgical team. Treatment may be short term or last several years depending on the diagnosis. Early diagnosis is paramount for the best possible outcome of treatment.

Orthoptic clinics are held at Colchester, Clacton, Harwich and Halstead Hospitals. The orthoptists participate in teaching pre registration optometrists and senior house officers (junior doctors) on the Colchester site.

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust produces the following Patient Information Leaflets which you may find useful:

pdf icon All about Squint
pdf icon My first eye test at Hospital
pdf icon My first eye test at Hospital checklist
pdf icon Double Vision

For further information please see the web sites below: (general information) (about careers in orthoptics) (a register of healthcare professionals)