No, it is not what you are thinking. It’s not feet, that one is orthopaedic.
In simple terms, it is the diagnosis and management of eye disorders, particularly those relating to eye movements controlled by eye muscles. When those muscles go weak one way or another an eye turn or squints develops. Strabismus is the fancy word they use for eye turns.
And before you even ask my friends, while we work hand-in-hand with ophthalmologists (eye doctors and surgeons) and optometrists (those who specialise in prescribing and dispensing glasses for those struggling with either their near or distant sight or even both); we are not them.
Orthoptists are allied health professionals whose main role involves correcting the eye back to straight position to achieve what they call binocular single vision (both eyes seeing the same thing and sending the same signal to the brain to artistically paint the image in 3D). Ortho meaning straight in Greek, and optics meaning relating to sight. Hence, orthoptists rely on specific exercises and treatments to correct strabismus, commonly lazy eyes and other paediatric eye turns.
Other responsibilities orthoptists do to help make the world a tad happier include:
- Vision screening (pre-tests required before you see the doctor, including vision tests and other fun examinations)
- Eye scans including fundus photography, retinal angiography, visual field mapping.
- Refraction of vision
- Double vision management
- First aid and trauma management
- Low vision assessment, management and rehabilitation
- Neurological disorders assessment and rehabilitation
- Glaucoma assessment and management
- Monitoring of eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, Aged Macular degeneration (AMD), and diabetic retinopathy to name a few
- Assisting in surgical procedures, sterilisation of equipment and preparing patients pre and post operations
- Patient education and student training
Okay, so what got me into orthoptics you ask?
To stop women from complaining that their partners are not seeing things the same way as they are. To bring back wandering eyes to the point of attention. To send the cool kids at school to conquer the back rows once again! And finally, to sweetly and kindly help the elderly live as independently as possible through visual aids.
Well, honestly, orthoptics was my plan B. At that time, I knew absolutely nothing about eyes, apart from having to wear glasses when your vision weakens. And my answer to that question during the enrolment interview was “I applied because I have nothing else better to do”. Next thing I know I passed the interview and was officially enrolled into the master course to graduate 2 years after in 2017. I am truly grateful destiny has brought me to orthoptics as I found my passion and sense of purpose. I would like to also express my thanking to Covid-19 for encouraging me to think outside the box, take advantage of lockdown and start my very own orthoptic blog!
My goal is to share my experiences, tips, knowledge and ambitions to those of curious minds, students, parents and patients in a simplistic fun way. I hope you enjoy reading my blogs and I officially welcome you to my growing family of Orthoptist Social. Remember, To always keep an eye on your eyes!
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