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What the different specialists do

Orthoptists:

The orthoptist will usually check what you or your child can see, and test to see whether or not your eyes are working together or if you have a squint (turn in the eye).  They will also assess the way in which your eyes move when looking in different directions.

In children who are found to have a lazy eye (amblyopia) the orthoptist will manage the treatment of this (usually with an eye patch), and monitor progress. They will also monitor children who have squints or need glasses.

Some people with squints or eye movement problems can suffer with double vision. The orthoptist may be able to help with these symptoms using prisms.

All patients (both children and adults) who are being considered for squint surgery will be seen regularly by the orthoptist prior to any surgery. This is in order to ensure that we have multiple, accurate and consistent measurements of the size of the squint, and helps to ensure that the surgery is as accurate as possible.

The orthoptist may also do other things, such as testing the pressure in your eye, testing your visual fields or putting drops in your eyes.

Optometrists:

The optometrist (optician) will measure the amount of refractive error you have (i.e. how much long or short sightedness or astigmatism). They may also check that the insides of your eyes are healthy and normal.

They may prescribe glasses, but we do not have the facility to make glasses at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, so you will need to take your prescription to a local optician to get the glasses made.

When testing children, optometrists usually require dilating drops to have been used. These will cause the child’s pupils to become large and will blur their vision, especially for close up, and will also make them sensitive to bright light. They generally wear off after about 24 hours, although this can vary.

Ophthalmologists:

The ophthalmologist is a doctor who has specialised in the treatment of eye problems. If you need to be seen by an ophthalmologist in clinic it may be your consultant, or it may be a member of their team.

The ophthalmologist will look at the health of your eyes, and the surrounding areas (such as the eyelids). If they are examining the insides of your eyes then dilating drops may be used. They may do other tests, such as measuring the pressure in your eyes.

They will make decisions about the management of eye problems. They will also make the decision as to whether any surgery is advisable, and will carry out any surgery necessary.