Explore Occupations: Orthoptist

Humans’ eyesight is a precious window into the world. You won’t get much farther than restoring the gift of sight if you’re searching for a satisfying healthcare career that can dramatically improve people’s quality of life.

Orthoptics has a lot to offer, whether you want to commit yourself to in-clinic patient treatment, manage a clinic and its employees, expand the profession via research, educate the community, or train new students. If you enjoy health sciences and are interested in the subject of eye care, orthoptics may be the right career choice for you. 

What does an orthoptist do?

An orthoptist is a health care provider within the ophthalmic field. They are an expert provider who assists clients with unique eye issues.

What does an orthoptist do?
What does an orthoptist do?

Orthoptists are experts in evaluating and treating eye movement and binocular vision disorders. They are specially educated to treat amblyopia, hereditary abnormalities, and complicated pediatric and adult strabismus. 

Scope of practice

An orthoptist is a doctor who specializes in evaluating eye function and interpreting test findings. They identify eye movement abnormalities and collaborate with ophthalmologists to develop and implement personalized treatment programs.

Orthoptists examine and test patients to assess eyesight and check for eye problems and diseases. They provide treatment programs for people with binocular vision and eye movement issues. They often collaborate with ophthalmologists to arrange surgery for specific eye movement problems. 

Orthoptists are more specialized in their field, focusing on eye movement and binocular vision issues. They have a distinct set of diagnostic skills. Orthoptists generally complete a two-year fellowship certification and get a license to practice after earning a bachelor’s degree. 

Work environment

Most orthoptists work in an exam office setting in hospitals, academic medical institutions, private ophthalmology offices, and a variety of clinical settings. Most work full-time, with others working evenings and weekends to meet the requirements of patients.

Orthoptists
Orthoptists

Orthopaedic surgeons treat patients of all ages, but the vast majority of their patients are youngsters, therefore they must enjoy dealing with children and their families. They also collaborate with ophthalmologists, ophthalmic assistants, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Becoming an orthoptist

If you have a passion for helping people, an interest in the medical field, and are fascinated with ophthalmology, becoming an orthoptist may be a great career path. Advanced math, scientific, and health classes such as biology, chemistry, algebra, social sciences, or related subjects might help students prepare for a future as an orthoptist in high school.

Becoming an orthoptist
Becoming an orthoptist

Higher education requirements

There are many pathways to becoming an orthoptist, but typically the pathway involves four to six years in higher education. Many choose a degree in biology, social sciences, or a related field. 

Career opportunities and outlook

The average annual income for an orthoptist is $82,400 annually. This, however, is very dependent on their position, company, degree of experience, and location in the United States or the world. The function of the orthoptist is expanding, and it is anticipated to expand at a considerably higher rate than the national average. It is gaining prominence as a newer discipline as the need for health care services rises.