Orthoptics was a profession I had never heard of when growing up


Orthoptics was a profession I had never heard of when growing up

“It wasn’t until I looked into being an Optometrist at A-level that I came across Orthoptics”, says Dom Burdon.

So what attracted me to it?

Well I knew I wanted to work in some form of clinic setting which is why I was initially interested in Optometry, but once I learned more about Orthoptics I realised that it was much more up my street. This is because as Orthoptist’ we assess eyes and vision in a variety of patient’s, from babies to the elderly and from disabled people to severely unwell patients. This is not only at big hospitals such as Derriford but also peripheral sites such as Kingsbridge community hospital and primary schools too.

We treat and review patients for a long period of time. For example, I help provide treatment for reduced vision in the form of patching programmes in children, and treatment for double vision in the form of temporary prisms, which in my eyes makes it a very rewarding profession.

I know it’s a cliché, but the thing that really attracted to me to Orthoptics was the fact that no single day would be the same. This is due to the huge number of different cases that could walk through the door. In addition, as Orthoptists we really have to investigate patients using a variety of tests, so we can diagnose and see what treatment is most suited. For me, this keeps things very interesting.

I look forward to being able to specialise in many different clinics regarding vision here at the Royal Eye Infirmary and I feel privileged to be taught by my colleagues who have such a vast field of knowledge.

So, after not knowing what Orthoptics was at A-level five years ago, I can now understand and appreciate first-hand what impact we have on people’s lives of all ages, whilst most people still don’t quite understand or recognise Orthoptics as a profession.

Another view from an Orthoptist…

“Orthoptists are Allied Health Professionals and are crucial members of the NHS eye care team”, says Sue Hemelik.

We work closely with Opthalmologists to investigate, diagnose and treat defects of binocular vision and abnormalities of eye movement in patients of all ages from infants to the elderly, and we work in community clinics in Devon and Cornwall.

We also visit all foundation classes in Plymouth and South Hams area and carryout visual screening tests on all foundation children. As the visual pathways are developing up to the age of 8 years, it is very important we screen all four to five year-olds.

Although I qualified a long time ago, I still look forward to coming to work. I am extremely proud to be an Orthoptist.


Dom and Sue are writing as part of the #WeCare2 campaign that will be running across our Trust communications. Look out for more from their Orthoptist colleagues, and their AHP and HCS colleagues, on our social media pages, Trust screensavers, Daily Email, Vital Signs and much more.

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