Orthoptics

 

Orthoptists diagnose and treat conditions that affect the development of vision, eye movements and binocular vision. These include lazy eye (amblyopia), squint (strabismus), and double vision (diplopia).

Orthoptists are allied health professionals and work as part of the multi-disciplinary team in ophthalmology with optometrists, ophthalmologists and ophthalmic nurses.

More on what we do

We provide a service at the West of England Eye Unit (WEEU) and many community clinics across East and Mid Devon.

Many of our patients are children who might have a condition which affects their normal visual development. The most common of these are lazy eye (amblyopia) and squint (strabismus). Conditions also include many other conditions, including childhood cataract, nystagmus (a condition which causes constant movement of the eyes) or cerebral visual impairment (problems with vision caused by the brain rather than the eye). Orthoptists are specially trained to assess vision in patients of all ages including those who are unable to speak.

Adults are referred to us if they have problems affecting their binocular vision or eye movements. Orthoptists are highly skilled in the assessment and diagnosis of complex eye movement disorders. Many of our adult patients will be experiencing double vision (diplopia), which if not corrected makes it much more difficult to judge distance and depth, increasing the risk of falls and other accidents. You are also not allowed to drive if double vision is not corrected. Treatment of symptoms can help people return to work, resume driving and improve their quality of life.

Our service works closely with many other disciplines, including paediatrics, maxillofacial surgery, stroke rehabilitation and A&E.

We work in both non-consultant orthoptic clinics and joint specialty clinics with a consultant ophthalmologist for paediatric ophthalmology, ocular motility, neuro-ophthalmology and thyroid eye disease.

The orthoptic service also offers vision screening to all children aged between four and five in Exeter, East & Mid Devon. For most children this takes place at school during their reception year, but we can offer appointments at a local clinic if children are absent or not attending school. We screen approximately 4,000 children every year to detect amblyopia at an age when this can be readily treated.

Treatments

We offer treatment for amblyopia using various types of patches, atropine eye drops and by adjusting optical correction with glasses.

We treat double vision using prism correction or occlusion with a patch; we are also able to offer advice on other strategies to manage double vision.

Some conditions can be treated with orthoptic exercises to improve control of binocular vision.

Our team

The orthoptic team is led by Debbie McGrane, Head Orthoptist, and Laura Doucas, Deputy Head Orthoptist.

Where to find us

RD&E Wonford, Barrack Rd, Exeter EX2 5DW

Level 1, F Template

Contact us

01392 406031

Community services

We provide community orthoptic clinics in the following locations: Axminster, Crediton, Cullompton, Exmouth, Honiton, Okehampton, Ottery St Mary, Seaton, Sidmouth and Tiverton.

Children and young people

Vision screening for all children aged 4-5 in Exeter, East and Mid Devon.

Clinics

Orthoptic clinics are provided at the West of England Eye Unit and Axminster, Crediton, Cullompton, Exmouth, Honiton, Okehampton, Ottery St Mary, Seaton, Sidmouth and Tiverton.

Clinics at WEEU run Monday to Friday, 8.20am-5.20pm. These times will vary slightly at community clinics.

Information for healthcare professionals

We accept direct referrals from both primary and secondary care healthcare professionals. If you would like to discuss making a referral, we can be contacted on 01392 406031.

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