To celebrate World Orthoptic Day, one of our Community Orthoptist Maggs Hancock has written a blog explaining the profession. Find out more about our Orthopaedic services here.
What is World Orthoptic Day?
This falls on the first Monday of each June and is a day when orthoptists globally promote their profession and celebrate the fantastic work they do.
The International Orthoptic Association (IOA) is the global voice of the Orthoptic profession which internationally is made up of 15 member national professional organisations and 6 associate member organisations. IOA World Orthoptic Day is the opportunity to heighten the ‘visibility’ of the Orthoptic profession and to promote the activities of Orthoptists locally, nationally, and internationally.
So what is an Orthoptist I hear you ask?
Orthoptists are the experts in diagnosing and treating defects in eye movement and problems with how the eyes work together, called binocular vision. These can be caused by issues with the muscles around the eyes or defects in the nerves enabling the brain to communicate with the eyes.
The word ‘ORTHOPTIC’ comes from the Greek words orthos, meaning ‘straight’, and optikos, meaning ‘relating to sight’. Orthoptists initially dealt with strabismus, which is a misalignment of the eyes.
However, as the Orthoptic profession has developed, and continues to develop, they have come to be recognised as the experts in a much wider variety of eye disorders.
Orthoptists see patients of all ages with a wide range of conditions affecting their vision. Patients may be directly experiencing symptoms such as blurred or double vision, misalignment of the eyes known as a squint.
They are trained to offer a range of treatments in the management or correction of these conditions. This may include eye patches, eye exercises, prisms or glasses.
They also commonly work with patients with Special Educational Needs, neurological conditions, such as stroke, brain tumours or multiple sclerosis, or as part of a wider multi professional team. They help patients to manage the visual symptoms of their condition and provide advice for the visual and general rehabilitation of these patients.
All Orthoptists are qualified with a substantial core body of knowledge and expertise. However, their role has grown and many continue to train and study to gain an even wider knowledge base. This enables them to perform much more specialist, advanced or extended roles.
Happy World Orthoptic Day!
And – look after your EYES!