Orthoptists also play a vital role in the care of patients with:
Visual symptoms relating to stroke, MS and Parkinson’s disease
Orthoptists assist with diagnosing and supporting certain eye conditions related to stroke, MS and Parkinson’s disease. We help you to monitor your eye condition and liaise with the relevant members of your medical team within the hospital, as well as linking in with your optometrist to offer advice where needed. Orthoptists also help to advise regarding support available outside of a hospital setting, such as occupational therapists and visual impairment teams that will work with you to support going about your daily life.
Glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy
Orthoptists also support patients with stable, long-term conditions such as glaucoma and diabetes. Your orthoptist will assess your eyes and talk to you about your care and current medication to help form a management plan.
Orthoptists support the glaucoma service by providing new patient screening, monitoring patients whose condition is stable, giving advice on treatment options and guidance on putting your eye drops at home. The specialist orthoptists work closely with the glaucoma consultant to ensure you receive the best quality of eye care and will continue to care for you throughout your visits to the hospital.
Similarly, patients with diabetic retinopathy will be seen regularly by orthoptists, who will screen and monitor the state of your condition.
Diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure)
Uncontrolled blood sugar or blood pressure can affect the blood supply to the nerves responsible for telling the eye muscles what to do. This will stop the eye muscle(s) from working properly and can lead to double vision. Orthoptic assessment can identify the affected eye muscle(s) and provide advice on how to manage the double vision throughout the recovery period.
Thyroid eye disease
Thyroid eye disease, also knows as Graves disease, causes the muscles and soft tissues within the eye socket to swell. The swelling pushes the eyeball forward and restricts the eye from moving normally and causes various other eye symptoms.
Patients who are undergoing treatment for this condition will require regular assessments to ensure the treatment is effective.
Orthoptists carry out assessment to ensure the swelling does not affect the optic nerve function and monitor the condition by checking the function of each muscle. We also advise and manage any double vision the condition may have caused.
Eye socket injury
Patients with injuries around the eye socket(s) may have symptoms such as double vision and/or abnormal eye movements. Orthoptic assessment provides important information to the maxillofacial team enabling them to manage the injury. We also advise and help manage any visual symptoms throughout the recovery period (with or without surgical intervention).
Images: An orthoptist checks eye movement (top) and for double vision (middle). A nurse does an in-patient vision assessment.
Walking for Windrush - NHS 70