Celebrating our orthoptists this World Orthoptic Day

Today (3 June) is World Orthoptic Day, so we thought we’d take the opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work our orthoptists do every day in our Trust.

Orthoptists are experts in eye movement disorders, such as squint and nystagmus (wobbly eyes). They can test the vision of people who have difficulty reading a chart, such as the very young, people with learning difficulties and stroke patients. They can even test the vision of a new born baby!

In Bury and Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale, our eye services include advanced practice orthoptists who deliver low vision and glaucoma services. We also run a vision screening programme for all children in reception class, and have specialist services which support children and adults with complex needs as well as visual impairments.

We also work with schools, charities and other services, such as audiology and the memory service, to help make sure people with visual impairment and eye movement problems get the best possible care.

Read on to find out how we have been able to help two of our star patients, Lilly and Halle.

Lilly (1)

We noticed Lilly had very low vision in one eye at a screening visit to her primary school, but with the help of our specialist optometrist, Stephen, who prescribed her glasses soon after her screening, and locality manager for HMR orthoptics, Kay, who’s currently monitoring Lilly’s progress, we’re really hopeful that Lilly will soon have excellent vision in each eye.

Screening visits really helps us treat children while they are still young enough to respond to treatment. As soon as a child turns eight years old, any improvements are very unlikely.

Lilly said: “I didn’t like wearing glasses when I first got them but I like them now.”

Lilly’s mum Debora said: “I am really glad she was tested in school. We had no idea she had something wrong with her eyes, we thought she was just a little bit clumsy. After a while Lilly got used to her glasses and wears them every day now.”

Halle (1)Halle, from Bury, was only a baby when Nicola, lead specialist in orthoptics, first saw her. Halle has a squint, so she has glasses which help her to control it. She now has excellent vision in both eyes, which is fantastic news.

Halle’s already had an operation on her squint, but she’s having another operation soon. She’s been very brave and is looking forward to it, as she wants her eyes to be straight when she starts high school in September.

Because squints tend to run in families, we have also tested Halle’s brothers, Ollie and George, for any signs of squints.

Halle’s mum Rachel said: “in the last ten years we have had nothing but outstanding care from the team at Bury. The staff are a credit to the NHS, they’ve always been there to answer my calls and always go above and beyond for us.”

Halle also added: “Nicola always greets me with a smile and listens to me and answers my questions. I always feel very looked after.”