Orthoptics is an Allied Health Profession (AHP) that investigates diagnoses and treats defects of binocular vision and abnormalities of eye movements. We see both children and adults of all ages.
We work closely with orthoptic technicians who perform visual field testing and optical imaging, ophthalmologists, opticians – both in the hospital and the community, as well as other departments as part of a multi-disciplinary team (MDT). We regularly have orthoptic and optometry students from universities who may be watching or helping with your assessment.
We mainly work in an outpatient environment, but we also do inpatient assessment. You may be referred via your GP, health visitor, optician, school screening service or from another department.
Your child may see an Orthoptist if there are concerns regarding:
- A turn in one or both of the eyes (squint/strabismus)
- Reduced vision in one eye or both eyes (Amblyopia/Lazy Eye)
- Wobble in the eyes (nystagmus)
- Droopy eye lid (Ptosis)
- Focusing problems
- An uneven or high glasses prescription
We also routinely assess babies who are premature and/or have low birth weight, as they are more susceptible to vision problems.
You may just see an Orthoptist for your child's appointment, or this may be a joint appointment with the Paediatric Ophthalmologist (Eye Doctor); this may be a longer appointment and can last up to a few hours. Your child may also need eye drops if they are seeing the doctor as well.
We also offer a School Screening Service, for reception children aged 4-5 who attend schools within the Stoke-on-Trent area. We screen for a number of vision defects including reduced vision, squints or eye movement defects. Your child will be seen by an Orthoptist in school and may be referred to local opticians to check for glasses before seeing an Orthoptist at the hospital or a local community clinic to monitor their eyes and potentially start treatment.
It is important that we catch eye problems early as vision stops developing around the age of 7-8 years. Spotting conditions early gives a better outcome for treatment.
We run a Special Schools Service where we routinely visit the special schools within the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire area to provide routine eye tests for children with known eye problems in their school environment.
We also routinely screen reception children in these schools to check for any vision or eye movement problems.
We hold clinics for children both at Royal Stoke Hospital and County Hospital, as well as community clinics. You may request to be seen at a community clinic if this is more convenient. These include:
Bentilee Neighbourhood Centre
Biddulph Primary Care Centre
Blurton Health Centre
Lucie Wedgwood Health Centre
Cheadle Health Centre
Loomer Road Health Centre
Fenton Health Centre
Hanley Health Centre
Kidsgrove Health Centre
Leek Health Centre
Longton Health Centre
Meir Primary Care Centre
Smallthorne Health Centre
Tunstall Primary Care Centre
Your child may be given various treatments depending on the nature of their eye problem, which is unique to every child. These may include:
- Eye patches or Eye drops – to improve reduced vision in one eye
- Exercises to improve focusing of the eyes
We may also refer to the Visual Impairment Team for help and support both at home and in Nursery/School.
See below for Information Leaflets relating to treatment options that include help and guidance.
You may attend an orthoptic clinic if:
- You are experiencing double vision (diplopia)
- You have had trauma/injury to the eye/eye area
- You have had a stroke which has resulted in eye problems
- You are experiencing field loss
- You have a turn in the eye (squint/strabismus) that may have been present in childhood
- You are struggle to focus/having trouble with reading
We work closely with other departments including Maxillo-facial, Neurology and Stroke.
Treatments may include:
- Prisms to help join the double vision
- Glasses to improve sight/prevent double vision
- Exercises/Eye Training to aid rehabilitation
You may be given suggestions on websites to visit if you are experiencing double vision, or field loss following a stroke. You may have also been advised by your orthoptist that you are not able to drive following your stroke.