What is Orthoptics?
Understanding and making the most of your functional vision.
If you have low vision, Orthoptists are often the first port of call at Guide Dogs because they can support you to understand your level of ‘functional vision’. That’s the amount of residual vision you can use in your daily life to participate in reading and other tasks.
Once you understand your level of functional vision, an Orthoptist can provide strategies and recommend equipment to support your specific vision goals.
What are some common goals an Orthoptist can help with?
Learn the best way for you to access visual information.
This really depends on your level of vision, what you hope to achieve, and the type of equipment that may work best for you. Common goals include:
- Reading books, newspapers, or magazines or doing hobbies for enjoyment
- Reading your mail independently and ensuring all your sensitive information is private
- Reading prices and labels in shops and supermarkets or menus when out
- Reading medications and identifying different ingredients in food products
- How to position yourself so that you can watch TV or movies more comfortably
- Reading street signs and public transport indicator boards and timetables.
About an Orthoptics assessment
Assessing your vision to make the most of what and how you can see.
To understand your level of functional low vision, an Orthoptist will conduct assessments that help to determine:
- What you can see and how best to utilise your remaining vision
- What strategies and low vision aids will best help you with your goals
- What lamp lighting and positioning could help to improve your functional vision
- How best to manage visual fatigue when reading or conducting tasks.
Assessment results help the Orthoptist to recommend the best strategies and/or low vision aids to help you achieve your goals.
An Orthoptic functional vision assessment can also provide family members, friends, carers, or other health professionals with valuable information about a person’s vision. This can be particularly helpful for people who are either very young, non-verbal, or have additional disabilities.
The vision tests can be modified depending on your needs; sometimes assessments can be completed in one appointment, and other times they may require multiple appointments.
Where can I see an Orthoptist?
Orthoptic sessions can take place in various settings, depending on your needs and your geographical location.
This can include:
- In your home
- In dedicated spaces at Guide Dogs Centres
- In education facilities like kindergartens and schools.