What is orthoptics?
The word orthoptics comes from the Greek ortho (straight) and optikos (vision). Orthoptics is a specialized field in ophthalmology that deals with binocular vision (the use of both eyes together) and very specific eye problems such as:
- Amblyopia (reduced visual development in one or both eyes)
- Strabismus (crossing or misalignment of the eyes)
- Diplopia (double vision)
- Various other binocular vision disorders
What is a Certified Orthoptist?
Certified Orthoptists are allied health professionals who specialize in the study of orthoptics, including ocular motility (eye muscle movements) and visual development. Orthoptists evaluate and manage patients under the direction of an ophthalmologist—though the ophthalmologist may not examine the patient at every visit. They perform specialized diagnostic eye tests to measure and assess defective binocular vision or abnormal eye movement in patients. They also assist in interpreting the results of the tests and forming treatment plans. Using specialized examination techniques, the orthoptist will:
- Evaluate vision
- Obtain measurements of eye position and alignment
- Aid in the diagnosis and non-surgical treatment of binocular vision disorders
- Help treat double vision through use of prisms or other modalities
- Provide eye exercises for applicable muscle disorders
- Assist in patient education
- Participate in clinical research, teaching and scientific publication
Orthoptists serve patients of all ages, but because of the nature of many binocular disorders, the majority of patients are children—this is why most orthoptists work closely with a pediatric ophthalmologist
Orthoptic training program
The Elks Children’s Eye Clinic Orthoptic Fellowship Program is a 2-year training program that accepts one student per year. Potential students meet all required qualifications and has obtained a baccalaureate degree before entering the program. Orthoptists are physician extenders who work primarily with pediatric ophthalmologists and neuro-ophthalmologists in diagnosing and managing strabismus, diplopia, and amblyopia.
An undergraduate degree in health sciences is preferred including exposure to the following areas: biology, anatomy, physics, genetics, child development, psychology, and physiology. The GRE is not required.
Our Orthoptic curriculum includes didactic course work and clinical work at the Elks Children’s Eye clinic at Casey Eye Institute, OHSU. One-on-one lectures with orthoptists, department grand rounds, division journal clubs, and division lectureships & case conferences are also included in the curriculum. During the second year, students are encouraged to give a scientific presentation at our department’s regional meeting or a regional orthoptic meeting.
Career opportunities for certified orthoptists abound as the demand for orthoptists increases every year. The American Orthoptic Council regulates candidate certification by conducting written and practical board examinations yearly.
Tuition is $5000 per year to include program fees and stipend for travel to one national meeting.
Grant Casey, C.O.
Dusty Gronemyer, C.O.
Srianna Narain, C.O.
Jessica Tegeler, C.O.
Hilary Walsh, C.O.
Kevin Woodruff, C.O.