Service Information for Patients and Carers

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What does an Orthoptist do?

An Orthoptist is specially trained to detect and treat eye problems, such as reduced vision, squints and lazy eyes.

It is the person your child will see most often during the course of treatment.

Do many children have eye problems?

Between 5 and 8 in every 100 children have a lazy eye, which is often related to a squint or a need for glasses.

What is a squint?

A squint is a condition in which the muscles attached to the eyeball are not balanced correctly. One eye may turn

inwards, outwards, up or down and may occur all the time or just some of the time.

Children Do Not Grow Out Of Squints

The earlier the treatment is started, the better the results will be.

How soon can anything be done?

A child is never too young to be tested or to start treatment – even babies of 3-4 months.

What will happen at the eye appointment?

The Orthoptist will:

  • Ask questions, including family and birth history
  • Observe your child’s eyes
  • Test your child’s vision, using a vision test appropriate to your child’s age and capability. This may be using patterns/pictures/letters or matching skills
  • Assess for the presence of squint, using lights and pictures
  • Assess how your child uses their eyes together, using 3D pictures

What treatments are available?

Not all squints are treated in the same way

A course of treatment will be given which is right for your child. This may include one or more of the following:

  • Glasses to correct focusing problems
  • Patching the stronger eye to improve the vision in the weaker
  • Eye exercises
  • A very small number of children will require corrective surgery to “straighten” the eye

How do you make an appointment?

Contact the Orthoptist or receptionist at your local Health Centre, or ask your Health Visitor, School Nurse or GP to make a referral.

Not able to attend your appointment?

We want to see new patients within 6 weeks. Missed appointments mean that our waiting lists increase and children cannot be seen quickly.

If you are unable to attend please remember to let the clinic know as soon as possible, and a new appointment can be arranged.

Contact Information

If you have any feedback on this leaflet or comments/queries about the Community Orthoptic Service, please contact: Head of Orthoptic Service, Longsight Health Centre, 526-528 Stockport Road, Longsight, M13 ORR

Telephone – 0161 248 1207

Advice and Support

If you have any queries about any NHS service you are receiving, please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 0161 276 8686 or email pals@mft.nhs.uk