Orthoptics is derived from a Greek word meaning “straight eyes”.

Orthoptists investigate, diagnose and treat disorders of binocular single vision (e.g. squints) and problems relating to reduced vision. This may be due to amblyopia (lazy eye) and/or the need for glasses.

Orthoptists are also involved with assessing for abnormal eye movements caused by a nerve palsy, injury to the eye or diseases affecting the muscles in the eye. Patients with eye movement problems often complain of diplopia (double vision).

The work includes:

  • Assessing babies and small children for defects of vision including children with special needs 
  • Treating adults with double vision associated with other conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, neurological conditions e.g. multiple sclerosis 
  • Ensuring speedy rehabilitation of patients who have suffered stroke and acquired brain injuries and have vision problems. 

Outpatient clinics for children and adults are held at the Orthoptic department at:

  • Altnagelvin Hospital
  • Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex
  • South West Acute Hospital

with satellite clinics for children at: 

  • Limavady
  • Strabane
  • Shantallow
  • Castlederg
  • Fintona
  • Belleek
  • Irvinestown 
  • Lisnaskea

We provide an Orthoptic service to the following:

  • Ophthalmology clinics throughout the region
  • Hospital Optometry service
  • Acute medicine
  • Community Paediatrics / child development clinics (Northern sector) 
  • Primary Vision assessment programme to special schools within Western Education Library Board 
  • Primary School Vision Screening Service, delivered by school nurse
  • as well as manage the visual field service, delivered by the Orthoptic assistants in Altnagelvin, Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex and South West Acute Hospital.

Most patients have their initial appointment at a clinic closest to their address, however, please tell the Orthoptist if you would like to be seen at another clinic for subsequent appointments.

Useful links

www.nystagmus.org   (uncontrolled movement of the eyes)
www.lazyeye.org   (Amblyopia) 

Additional Resources

Click here for a social story for you to print out and show your child before coming to hospital.

Good to See You - My First Visit to the Orthoptist Video