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Orthoptists are the experts in diagnosing and treating defects in eye movement, vision, signs of injury, ocular diseases (diseases of the eye) or abnormality, and problems with general health.. 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.

As part of your role in a high street practice, you’ll:

  • make detailed examination of the health of the eyes
  • offer clinical advice regarding eye health and vision correction
  • prescribe spectacles or contact lenses. You might also dispense, fit and supply spectacles or contact lenses
  • make a referral for a specialist’s advice if required – for example is a patient needs surgery or specialist treatment
  • you may supervise trainee optometrists, dispensing opticians, and/or medical students during their training.

If you work in a hospital or an eye clinic you’ll be involved in more specialised areas of optometry such as treating and managing patients with:

  • glaucoma (an eye disease more common in black people and among the elderly) or
  • macular degeneration, which is the most common cause of blindness in western society

In a hospital or clinic setting, you’ll be part of a large team of eye-specialists, typically including ophthalmologists (medical doctors specialising in the eye), orthoptists, and healthcare science staff specialising in ophthalmic and vision science.

You need a Bachelor of Science degree in Orthoptics to practice. There are three UK Universities that provide this course. Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is proud to provide placement provision to enable Orthoptic students from all three Universities, at each year of study, achieve practical clinical experience.
Some students who have attended placement during their university course have gone on to work for us post-qualification.

I attended the Orthoptic Department at Royal Preston Hospital as part of my University training. The positive team ethos was felt throughout and I was treated as part of the team from day one of my placement.
The quality of teaching I received was excellent and I had opportunity to see a varied caseload which facilitated my learning. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on placement at RPH and found the experience invaluable which drew me to apply for a post here at LTHTr.

Helen McManamon – Orthoptist at LTHTr