How to become an Orthoptist

Orthoptists detect, diagnose and treat disorders of the eye and associated eye movement and vision problems.

Personal requirements for an Orthoptist

  • Interested in people's health needs
  • Enjoy health sciences
  • Good communication skills

Education & Training for an Orthoptist

To become an orthoptist, you usually have to complete a degree in vision science, health science or biological science at university, followed by a postgraduate qualification in orthoptics. To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your VCE. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics are normally required. Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements.


Additional information

Before undertaking clinical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a National Police Certificate, a Provide First Aid Certificate, immunisations and a Working with Children Check.Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of an Orthoptist

Orthoptists:

  • Measure and assess vision and prescribe glasses when appropriate
  • Investigate, monitor and assist with treating eye disorders such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration
  • Measure and select intraocular (within the eye) lenses for cataract surgery
  • Detect and manage eye movement disorders, such as strabismus (turned eye) and amblyopia (lazy eye), and their sensory consequences
  • Conduct specialised diagnostic and imaging techniques, such as ultrasonography and topography, to determine the effects and progression of eye disease
  • Assess and provide management strategies for people with neurological disorders
  • Devise strategies for rehabilitating impaired vision and design therapy programmes to maximise an individual’s remaining vision
  • Provide reports on the existence of eye defects to practitioners, therapists and relevant authorities, such as transport authorities
  • Provide educational information to patients, families and members of the community about eye conditions and their effects
  • Assist the community by providing vision screening tests and promoting preventative eye health care.

Tasks

  • Prescribes lenses, contact lenses and low vision aids, and checks suitability and comfort..
  • Prescribes exercises to co-ordinate movement and focusing of eyes..
  • Manages programmes for eye movement disorders, as well as instructing and counselling patients in the use of corrective techniques and eye exercises..
  • Conducts rehabilitation programs for the visually impaired..
  • Diagnoses eye movement disorders and defects of binocular function..
  • Advises on visual health matters such as contact lens care, vision care for the elderly, optics, visual ergonomics, and occupational and industrial eye safety..

Working conditions for an Orthoptist

Orthoptists often work with ophthalmologists, medical practitioners and other allied health professionals.


Employment Opportunities for an Orthoptist

Orthoptists are employed in a wide range of settings, including private practices, specialist eye clinics, public hospitals (including children’s hospitals), vision impairment agencies and research centres. Both part-time and full-time employment is available.


Specializations

Orthoptists may specialise in:

  • Ophthalmic eye care, which involves treatment of general eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration
  • Neuro-ophthalmology, which involves the treatment of neurologically based eye disorders caused by stroke and head injury
  • Eye movement disorders and paediatric eye care, which involves the treatment of conditions such as strabismus, amblyopia and double vision
  • Vision rehabilitation, which involves maximising remaining sight in people with low vision using rehabilitation strategies and magnification aids
  • Education or research.

  • Average age
    Average age
    35 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    89% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    41 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    Unavailable
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    49% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    830 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 0.6%
    NSW: 46.8%
    NT: 0.0%
    QLD: 7.6%
    SA: 1.7%
    TAS: 0.7%
    VIC: 39.2%
    WA: 3.3%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0%
    20-24: 4.7%
    25-34: 42.5%
    35-44: 24.5%
    45-54: 17.1%
    55-59: 6.7%
    60-64: 3.4%
    65 and Over: 1.1%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 12.6%
    Bachelor degree: 56.1%
    Certificate III/IV: 0.8%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 30.2%
    Year 10 and below: 0%
    Year 11: 0%
    Year 12: 0.4%
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