What is an Orthoptist?
Orthoptists are specialised Allied Health Professionals who are registered with the Health Professions Council. We assess, diagnose, manage and monitor a variety of eye disorders in both adults and children. These can be caused by issues with the muscles around the eyes, or issues with the nerves enabling the brain to communicate with the eyes.
Orthoptists work with a variety of patients of all ages, including those with neurological conditions such as stroke, brain tumours or multiple sclerosis. They provide a range of treatment and management options for conditions causing blurred, double vision and oscillating vision (where objects appear to move even when they are still). Many of us take our eyesight for granted; having any of these symptoms can make even simple everyday tasks very difficult and unpleasant, and in some cases unsafe. Patients may be provided with eye patches, eye exercises, prisms or glasses which can help to relieve symptoms and drastically improve quality of life.
The majority of Orthoptists are employed by the NHS in hospitals and community services, working with a wider team alongside Optometrists and Ophthalmologists.
If you are concerned about reduced vision, double vision, see a squint in the eye or changes in lid position then you can contact your general practitioner or local optician for a referral to our service. (Further information on types of clinics can be found on links below).
Our department is staffed by 8 full-time and 5 part-time members of staff, and 3 receptionists. We work across a few hospital sites (more information can be found below under ‘locations’). The Orthoptic department is a teaching department for undergraduate orthoptists and a range of medical and other health professionals. We will always ask your permission to be tested by students, who are always supervised by trained staff.
Head of Department: Marie Cleary
Telephone Number: 0141-211-1042
Contact Hours: 8.30am - 5pm Monday – Friday
Location: See link below (Orthoptic locations)
>Gartnavel General Hospital (Upper Ground, Orthoptic Department)
On entering main entrance, using stairs or lifts go to upper ground level. Follow signs to Orthoptic department and report to reception desk.
>New Victoria Hospital (Clinic M, Orthoptic Department)
On entering main entrance, take the lift to level 2 and turn to the left. Follow signs for clinic M and report to reception desk.
>Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Clinic I, 1st floor)
On entering main entrance go to 1st floor; turn left through double doors and it is the first clinic on the left.
>Institute of neurological sciences (Clinic 5)
On entering main reception, check in to reception desk on right hand side, and go to clinic 5 waiting area through 2 sets of double doors.
>Child Development Centre
Drumchapel, West Centre
Types of clinics
Gartnavel General Hospital
Adult -general Orthoptics, Adult motility, Neuro-ophthalmology , Stroke, Acute Referral patients(eye casualty).
Paediatric clinics -general Orthoptics, Orthoptic and Optometrist, Visual Stress, New visual assessment (pre school screening)
Many of the clinics above are shared care clinics with Ophthalmology Consultants
Institute of Neurological Science – Idiopathic intracranial hypertension, Neuro-ophthalmology and Myasthenia Gravis
New Victoria Hospital
Adult - general Orthoptic only.
Paediatric clinics - general Orthoptics, Orthoptic and Optometrist, Visual Stress, New visual assessment
Queen Elizabeth Hospital – Adults -adult motility, General Orthoptic
Child Development Centre
The Orthoptic service here operates on a referral system via:
>General Practitioner (GP)
>Pre School Visual Screening
>Internal referral from other departments in the hospital
What to expect on arrival (new patient)?
New Child Appointments: All new patients will have Orthoptic assessment which will last 15-30 minutes. On consent eye drops will be instilled before seeing the Optometrist for the sight test (more information regarding the drops will be provided on assessment). The drops will enlarge the pupil and in order to do so it takes 30-45 minutes to work. This will allow the Optometrist to have an accurate assessment of the back of the eye and to determine if a prescription for glasses is necessary which will likely take around 15 minutes. The first appointment is always longer.
New adult appointments: All new adult patients will have an Orthoptic assessment which typically lasts between 30-45 minutes. If necessary eye drops may be instilled to enlarge the pupil allowing a thorough assessment of the eye by the doctor. It is advised on your first visit not to drive to your appointment as the drops will blur your vision. Doctor examination time varies dependant on patient and clinic.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (What to bring along to appointment):
Please bring along the following:
-A list of current medications
-Any current glasses used (for near and distance)
Additional information leaflets
-Amblyopia/ lazy eye leaflet
-Wearing glasses leaflet
-Orthoptic exercise information sheet
-How to fit a prism video
-What is Visual Stress?
Vision Screening (Compulsory, with opt-out option available):
>Why do we do Vision Screening?
Vision Screening is carried out in Pre school age children, within the School year prior to starting Primary School. There is evidence base on the reasoning for choosing this particular age group. Our assessment consists of checking child’s vision in either eye individually and eye movements. We have a variety of tests available for each aspect of testing.
>Reasons why child may be referred?
Once the child has been tested if they do not meet pass criteria we refer to either your local optician or ourselves. The likelihood of reason for referral will be that the vision was found to be reduced in one or both eyes, a difference in vision was found between the eyes and/or an abnormality of eye movements was noted.
>First visit expectation
Your child will first see an Orthoptist who will recheck visions in either eye and eye movements (similar tests to those carried out at the nursery) taking around 15-30 minutes. On consent eye drops to enlarge the pupils will be instilled before seeing the Optometrist for the sight test (more information regarding the drops will be provided on assessment). The drop takes around 30-45 minutes to work. This will allow the Optometrist to have an accurate assessment of the back of the eye and to determine a prescription is necessary which will likely take around 15 minutes. The first appointment is always longer. **Times vary dependent on how the clinic is running**.
>More information can be found on the BIOS website
Did not attend
Greater Glasgow and Clyde
To cancel or change your appointments please telephone the number on your appointment letter. This may allow us to give your appointment time to another patient. Please do not attend if you are unwell. Phone the department if you need advice we are always happy to help.
If you do not attend an appointment without telling the clinic in advance this will be recorded as Did Not Attend appointment. This is in line with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Did Not Attend and Cancellation Policy.