NHS Careers > Explore by career > Allied health professions > Careers in the allied health professions > Orthoptist


Orthoptists investigate, diagnose and treat defects of binocular vision and abnormalities of eye movement. The work involves seeing patients of all ages from infants to the elderly.

Hear from real-life orthoptists in our exclusive film.

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The role

Orthoptists are a crucial members of the NHS eye care team and work closely with ophthalmologists, optometrists and vision scientists. Being part of a multi-disciplinary team means they are involved in the diagnosis and management of conditions such as:

  • glaucoma
  • cataract
  • stroke
  • retinal disease
  • neurological disorders

Examining patients with eye problems, such as those related to ocular motility, binocular vision, amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (squint) is one of their main responsibilities. Some screen the vision of children in schools and community health centres.

Being an orthoptist requires an interest in working with people and good communication skills. After comprehensive education you will be prepared to work with both competence and confidence.

A variety of settings

The majority of orthoptists are employed within the NHS but orthoptists have the choice to work in a variety of settings including:

  • eye hospital
  • hospital eye department
  • community health centre
  • special schools
  • charities
  • private clinics
  • university.

There are also may positives to training and working as an orthoptist:

  • no course tuition fees as they are paid for by the NHS (provided UK and EU citizen)
  • excellent graduate employment rate
  • flexible working - part-time, full-time and job share
  • good prospects for returning orthoptists.

Entry requirements and training

More information the entry requirements and training for a orthoptics.

Career prospects

The profession offers enormous opportunities for career development and of endless variety such as:

  • progress to senior, head and consultant orthoptist
  • teach undergraduate students on clinical placement
  • management post
  • postgraduate research
  • clinical research
  • lecturing at university

Support worker roles

There are opportunities to work in support roles, such as an assistant practitioner. Job vacancies will appear on the NHS Jobs website

How to apply for job vacancies

Job vacancies are advertised in a range of places. Most NHS trusts will advertise their vacancies on NHS Jobs. Some will also advertise in trade journals and on trust websites. For a list of trusts, please visit the NHS Choices website

Further information:

British and Irish Orthoptic Society
62 Wilson Street
Tel: 01353 66 55 41
Fax: 07050 65 91 03
E-mail: membership@orthoptics.org.uk
Website: http://www.orthoptics.org.uk/