Last Updated:
April 27, 2023

Job Description Overview

An Orthoptist is a healthcare professional who specializes in diagnosing and treating eye disorders, particularly those affecting eye movements and coordination. If you're interested in the Orthoptist job description, then you need to know that these professionals play a vital role in the eye health care team. They work with ophthalmologists and optometrists to evaluate patients' vision, eye health, and eye muscle function. Orthoptists perform a range of diagnostic tests, including visual acuity and visual field testing, to identify and treat conditions like strabismus (crossed eyes), amblyopia (lazy eye), and double vision. They may also provide patients with exercises and vision therapy to improve eye coordination and strengthen weak eye muscles. If you're interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare industry and have a strong interest in eye care, then becoming an Orthoptist could be an exciting career path for you.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Works under the supervision of an ophthalmologist or optometrist to diagnose and treat vision disorders related to eye movement, alignment, and coordination
  • Administers tests and measurements to assess visual acuity, binocularity, stereopsis, and fusion, using instruments such as prism, lenses, filters, and charts
  • Prescribes and provides non-surgical treatments for amblyopia, strabismus, nystagmus, diplopia, and other eye conditions, such as patching, eye exercises, orthoptic devices, and prisms
  • Collaborates with other professionals, such as pediatricians, neurologists, and occupational therapists, to develop and implement care plans that address the needs and goals of individual patients
  • Educates patients and their families on the nature, causes, and consequences of vision problems, as well as on the benefits and limitations of different treatment options and the importance of compliance and follow-up
  • Maintains accurate and confidential records of patients' history, examination findings, treatment outcomes, and referrals, using electronic health records or other systems
  • Participates in quality assurance activities, such as audits, performance improvement projects, and patient satisfaction surveys, to monitor and enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the orthoptic services
  • Conducts research and contributes to the development of evidence-based guidelines, protocols, and innovations in the field of orthoptics, through publications, presentations, and conferences
  • Adheres to ethical and legal standards of practice and behavior, including informed consent, confidentiality, professionalism, and continuing education and licensure requirements
  • Promotes public awareness and advocacy for eye health and vision care, through community outreach, public speaking, and professional organizations.

Experience and Education Requirements

An Orthoptist is a healthcare professional who helps with the diagnosis and treatment of eye disorders in children and adults. To become an Orthoptist, you will need to have a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as Biology or Psychology, and a Master’s degree in Orthoptics. During your education, you will learn about the anatomy of the eye, how to diagnose eye disorders, and different treatment methods such as eye exercises and surgeries. Additionally, you will need to complete a clinical internship to gain practical experience working with patients. This combination of education and hands-on experience will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to work as an Orthoptist in the healthcare industry.

Salary Range

Orthoptist salary range varies based on experience, location and industry. According to a report on Payscale.com, the average salary for Orthoptists in the United States is $72,000 per year. However, the salary range can start from $43,000 to $108,000. For instance, an Orthoptist in San Francisco can earn up to $126,000 per year while one in New York City earns about $69,000 per year on average. The Orthoptist profession is also in high demand in the United Kingdom, with an average salary of £30,000. Other factors that can impact Orthoptist salary include the sector worked, for example, teaching hospitals or private hospitals. Sources: Payscale, Salary.com

Career Outlook

An Orthoptist is a healthcare professional who diagnoses and treats disorders related to eye movement and binocular vision. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for Orthoptists are expected to grow by 11% from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is mainly due to an aging population that requires more eye care services, including pediatric eye care. The increased demand for eye care services will result in Orthoptists playing a critical role in both clinical and research settings. Therefore, the career outlook for Orthoptists looks promising, and it is an excellent option for those who are considering entering the healthcare industry.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does an Orthoptist do?

A: An Orthoptist is a healthcare professional who diagnoses and treats eye disorders, specifically those related to eye movements and binocular vision. They work with patients of all ages, but often focus on children.

Q: What kind of training is required to become an Orthoptist?

A: An Orthoptist typically needs at least a bachelor's degree in a healthcare or science-related field, as well as specialized training in orthoptics. This can include specific coursework or on-the-job training.

Q: What are some common tasks an Orthoptist will perform?

A: Orthoptists perform a variety of tasks, including diagnostic exams to evaluate eye movements and vision, developing and implementing treatment plans, and monitoring progress over time.

Q: Where do Orthoptists typically work?

A: Orthoptists can work in a variety of settings, including medical clinics, hospitals, and private practices. Many work specifically in pediatric ophthalmology clinics or with eye surgeons.

Q: What kind of salary can I expect as an Orthoptist?

A: Orthoptist salaries can vary depending on location, years of experience, and other factors. However, According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for health diagnosing and treating practitioners was $81,330 as of May 2020.

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