Orthoptic Service

Orthoptists are Allied Health Professionals (AHPs), registered with the Health Professionals Council who specialise in assessing, diagnosing and treating a variety of eye conditions in very young babies, children, adults and older people. Orthoptists treat vision problems, eye movement disorders, squints and double vision.

After initial assessment of vision, treatment may include patching, glasses wear or exercises. It is said that 80% of learning occurs through visual stimulation. Early detection of visual problems is important to manage the condition most effectively.

Following diagnosis of a squint, management includes restoring function or improving the cosmetic appearance. This may involve surgery. Double vision may occur as a result of head trauma, stroke or disease.

Diagnosis of an eye problem is often key in identifying an underlying medical condition. Following diagnosis, treatment is focused on relieving eye symptoms and restoring functional vision.

Orthoptists work closely with ophthalmologists (eye doctors), optometrists (opticians), health visitors, school nurses, paediatricians, social services and the voluntary bodies. Joint appointments are often arranged to provide a co-ordinated approach to the management of a patient’s condition.

The Orthoptic Service also manages the Visual Fields Service. A visual field is the total area one can see, at a given instant, without moving the eye. Assessment is carried out by a skilled operator using an automated field analyser. Patients who have certain eye conditions such as glaucoma, are often referred to have their visual fields assessed. Some patients with a general medical condition such as head injury or stroke may also be referred for analysis.

Clinics are held across six hospital sites in the Trust: Antrim Area Hospital, Ballymena Health and Care Centre, Causeway Hospital, Cookstown Community Care Centre, Mid Ulster Hospital, Moyle Hospital and Whiteabbey Hospital.

All referrals should be sent to: 

Orthoptic Admin Office
1st Floor Rear Spine
Braid Valley Care Complex
Cushendall Road
BT43 6HL
Tel: 028 2563 5335 (Trustwide Orthoptic Admin Office)

Any enquiries regarding the service can be made to:

Orthoptic Services Manager
Pinewood Offices
101 Frys Road
BT43 7EN
Tel: 028 2563 5335 (Trustwide Orthoptic Admin Office)
Email: jennifer.patterson@northerntrust.hscni.net

Related links

Your child's first orthoptic appointment

Page last updated:02 June 2017