Low vision specialists, orthoptists

Orthoptists are qualified health practitioners responsible for measuring eye-vision distortions and for assuming binocular vision rehabilitation.
In order to do so, they carry out an orthoptic check-up highlighting oculomotor muscles and nerves weaknesses.
They are consulted after a visit to an ophthalmologist, a GP or a pediatrician.

 

Who are they?
Orthoptists are paramedical healthcare professionals. Their main role is to diagnose vision disorders and to rehabilitate patients’ vision.
They may also advice patients on how to organize their workstations, its lighting, the distance to the screen so that they may best use their visual abilities.
When patients are visually impaired, and after having carried out a specific assessment of the visual function, orthoptists will implement an appropriate training so that patients may use their remaining visual abilities as best as possible with or without optical and technical aids.
They work on an ophthalmologist’s prescription.
What is an orthoptic check-up?
Such a check-up allows highlighting oculomotor muscles and nerves weaknesses, thus screening for visual disorders. It is prescribed by a doctor: pediatrician, ophthalmologist, GP…
This check-up will be proposed once various symptoms appear, such as:
• Visual fatigue,
• Headaches,
• Loss of balance,
• Doubled vision,
• Strabismus,
• Loss of sight in one eye, i.e. amblyopia, or in both eyes in case of low vision.
Similarly, some behaviors should be considered as a possible alert, like a baby who cannot grab objects, or a child having problems at school and/or looking too closely at a screen or at a book.

Various tests and devices help carrying out such a check-up:
• The oculomotor test: both eyes, and each eye, must look at and focus on an object moving in different directions.
• Studying eyes static: Measuring eyes axis divergence by firstly placing a hand over one eye, with the other eye focusing on a point at a distance of 4 meters, and then of 30 centimeters; and secondly removing the hand and observing whether this eye remained focused on the same axis than the other eye.
• Studying binocular vision by associating the images seen through both eyes thus allowing for the assessment of relief and distances viewing.
• Studying visual acuity: distance and near vision, one eye after the other, binocular vision.

After completion of the check-up, the orthoptist may propose a rehabilitation program.

What is an orthoptic rehabilitation process?
Orthoptic rehabilitation aims at :
• Following up children squinting and, when necessary, treating the amblyopia of the affected eye by obstructing the other eye’s vision thanks to a bandage or an optical filter,
• Treating binocular vision with appropriate exercises, in case of visual fatigue associated with difficulties in the convergence of the eyes,
• Treating low vision.
Various exercises with paper and computer medium aim at improving vision in order to regain, when possible, enhanced reading capacities through a better use of visual aids and also a better eyes scan and, consequently, a more accurate detection of potential obstacles. This often allows for safer mobility and restores an easier daily life.

Date: 10/25/2012
Author: CENTICH
Organization: centich
Reference: http://www.onisep.fr/Ressources/Univers-Metier/Metiers/orthoptiste, http://www.orthoptie.net/, http://www.lesmetiers.net/orientation/p1_194084/orthoptiste
Only for Members: No
Content type: Good practises
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Categories: Medical & Functions, Eye - Vision impairment