what is an orthoptist?

As an orthoptist, you treat eye movement disorders and visual impairments caused by the eye's interactions with the brain. The role requires expertise in diagnosing defects in binocular vision. Visual problems usually occur due to muscle or nerve issues affecting the brain's communication with the eyes. Orthoptists see patients experiencing symptoms like blurred, double and oscillating vision. Some patients exhibit outward signs like uncontrolled movement or misalignment of eyes.

Orthoptists are trained to provide a range of treatments to manage and correct eye conditions. You assist patients in managing their visual problems and provide remedies like eye exercises, glasses, prisms or eye patches. Sometimes, you work with patients with neurological conditions that affect vision, like brain tumours or strokes. You help manage the symptoms and assist with the general rehabilitation of the patients.

As an orthoptist, you work in hospitals providing eye care services to patients. You can also work in eye clinics, medical research centres and private practices. Some orthoptists work in the health and social assistance industry or provide services in mining community health clinics.

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average orthoptist salary

The average remuneration package of an orthoptist is $80,000 per year. When you start in the role, you will receive a salary of $70,000 annually. With experience and additional qualifications, your earnings increase to $90,000 annually. The salary range depends on many factors, including the size of the hospital and your educational qualifications.

what factors affect the salary of an orthoptist?

The remuneration package of an orthoptist depends on educational qualifications and experience. When you are in an entry-level position, your salary is lower due to the minimal experience you have in the role. As you improve your expertise or specialise in specific areas of orthoptics, your remuneration package also increases.

Aside from your professional qualifications and experience, your employer also influences your earnings. When you work in a large hospital or eye clinic, you are likely to earn more than orthoptists working in smaller clinics. Working in a specialist hospital also increases your salary. Some territories have higher remuneration ranges for orthoptist due to the high demand for the role.

Want to know more about what you will earn as a orthoptist? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.

orthoptist careers

types of orthoptists

Some of the types of orthoptists include:

  • clinical orthoptists: you work in eye clinics or departments in large hospitals. Your job is to diagnose and treat visual problems in patients seeking specialised treatment. You also work with other healthcare professionals to assist with managing eye problems in patients with neurological conditions.
  • community orthoptists: you work in community health centres or schools managing visual problems in children and adults. Sometimes, you work in rehabilitation centres to help patients with various visual issues due to their occupation. For instance, workers in the mining industry with eye-related crises can benefit from your services. You provide remedies for misalignment and problems related to eye movements.
  • paediatric orthoptists: you assist children with neurological problems that affect their vision. You work in children's hospitals or special schools to help with the diagnosis and care for blurred vision caused by eye movement problems.
A woman with glasses wearing a lab coat working as an osteopath
A woman with glasses wearing a lab coat working as an osteopath

working as an orthoptist

As an orthoptist, you diagnose eye movement disorders and defects and conduct rehabilitation problems. If you fancy a career as an orthoptist, check out the daily duties, responsibilities and work schedules.


education and skills

Some of the academic qualifications of an orthoptist include the following:

  • bachelor's degree: enrol for a bachelor's degree in orthoptics. The four-year course includes theoretical learning and practical experience to prepare you for the role. Before graduation, you are expected to complete a mandatory internship program. For mandatory placement, you require a police check, children's check, first aid and CPR certificate.
  • further education and qualifications: if you already have a degree in a medical course, complete a postgraduate study like a master's in orthoptics. Registering with the Australian Orthoptic Board (AOB) after graduation and renewing your membership every two years is also crucial. Renewing membership requires continuing professional development in the field.

orthoptist skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of an orthoptist include the following:

  • communication skills: you require communication skills to explain patient conditions clearly. Before commencing any procedures, it is essential to explain treatment and care plans to patients. Writing skills are also necessary for preparing reports.
  • teamwork skills: you work alongside various eye care specialists to provide eye treatment plans. A collaborative approach to work and teamwork skills help you work well with others.
  • problem-solving skills: you rely on your logical and critical thinking skills to diagnose eye problems and resolve the conditions. When a patient has a unique eye condition, you use your problem-solving skills to research the best solutions to their issues.
  • observation skills: you examine a patient's eyes to diagnose eye movement and visual problems. Therefore, you require observational skills and attention to detail to identify the symptoms of visual problems.
  • attention to detail: as an orthoptist, you require detail-oriented skills to avoid making mistakes during eye procedures. Any small details can affect the care plans and the patient's ability to see. When you are performing eye surgeries, you require detail-oriented skills.
  • customer service skills: as an orthoptist, you work with patients of different ages and backgrounds. You can be personable and build trust and continued relationships with customers when you have outstanding customer service.

FAQs about working as an orthoptist

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of orthoptist.

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