Five reasons to choose a degree in orthoptics

1. Become a respected health professional

Orthoptists are experts in diagnosing and treating defects in eye movement and problems with how the eyes work together, called binocular vision. They are registered with and regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

To qualify, they study for a degree in orthoptics. You can find out more about the course, including where you can study, here. Each university sets their own entry requirements but they usually include good GCSE Maths, English and Science grades and A levels/Highers or equivalent, with at least one science subject. Alternative qualifications are considered and mature students are welcome.

There are options to study a Foundation Year degree or Access to Higher Education Diploma in Science if you don’t have the right qualifications. Find more details at the University of Sheffield and University of Liverpool.

2. Make a real difference to patients

Orthoptists work with babies and children to manage and treat amblyopia (or lazy eye) and strabismus (misalignment of the eyes or squint). 

With adults, they deal with a range of conditions leading to double vision, often after strokes, brain injury, or other neurological episodes.

They help patients to manage the visual symptoms of their conditions and provide advice for rehabilitation. This can include eye patches, eye exercises, prisms or glasses.

The aim is to help patients achieve the best possible vision, enabling them to succeed at school, work and in daily life. 

3. Choose a rewarding and flexible career

Most orthoptists are based in eye clinics in NHS hospitals. They also assess patients on hospital wards, such as people who have had a stroke.

Some work in community clinics, centres for children with disabilities or carry out vision screening in schools. There is a range of different working patterns. If you want to progress your career you can move into management roles.

There is growing demand for orthoptists in the UK and Ireland, as well as shortages in Europe and across the world. The starting wage for an orthoptist in the NHS is around £28,000 with the potential to earn up to £68,000, rising beyond that if you move into senior management.

4. Combine your interest in science with caring for people 

This is a great choice if you are interested in health and how the body works. You’ll combine theory and clinical skills with your compassion and interest in people. 

Orthoptists are specialists in assessing vision in children and people with communication difficulties. They work in a variety of different settings, including mainstream and special schools, child development centres and adult day care facilities.

5. Work with other health specialists

Orthoptists work as part of wider, multidisciplinary teams, so you’ll learn from colleagues including ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians and specialist nurses. Each specialty combines their knowledge and expertise to provide patient-centred care.

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