How an orthoptist can help you?

Written by: Ms Safina Rashid
Edited by: Aoife Maguire

Orthoptics plays a vital role in the realm of eye care, offering specialised assessments and treatments for a variety of vision disorders. If you're experiencing vision concerns or have been diagnosed with conditions such as strabismus or amblyopia, consulting with an orthoptist can be a crucial step towards improving your visual health. Leading orthoptist Ms Safina Rashid delves into this field of medicine.  



What is orthoptics?


Orthoptics is a branch of eye care dedicated to the assessment and treatment of vision problems associated with eye movement and alignment. Orthoptists, the professionals in this field, focus on helping individuals achieve optimal eye coordination, binocular vision, and visual comfort.


What conditions do orthoptists treat?


Orthoptists are skilled in managing a range of vision disorders, including the following:


Strabismus (eye misalignment): Orthoptists specialise in addressing conditions where the eyes are not properly aligned, commonly known as strabismus. This misalignment can lead to double vision or amblyopia.


Amblyopia (lazy eye): Orthoptists play a crucial role in the treatment of amblyopia, a condition where one eye fails to develop normal vision, often due to strabismus or a significant refractive error.


Convergence insufficiency: This condition involves difficulty in maintaining proper eye alignment when focusing on near objects. Orthoptists use various assessments to diagnose and develop targeted treatment plans for convergence insufficiency.


How are orthoptic assessments conducted?


Orthoptic assessments involve a series of tests to evaluate eye movement, binocular vision, and overall visual function. These may include:


Cover test: This is a fundamental test where one eye is covered at a time to assess eye alignment.


Saccade Testing: Evaluation of the ability to make rapid, accurate eye movements between fixed points.


Stereopsis Testing: Measurement of depth perception to ensure both eyes work together seamlessly.


Prism Testing: Use of prisms to assess and treat eye misalignments.


These assessments enable orthoptists to tailor treatment plans to each individual's unique visual needs.


What is the difference between orthoptist, optometrist, and ophthalmologist?


Understanding the distinction between orthoptists, optometrists, and ophthalmologists is crucial:


An orthoptist specialises in diagnosing and managing disorders related to eye movement and coordination, while an optometrist focuses on primary eye care, prescribing corrective lenses, and managing refractive errors, and an ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specialises in eye care, including surgery, treatment of eye diseases, and comprehensive eye examinations.


While these professionals work collaboratively, orthoptists have a specific focus on the assessment and treatment of eye movement disorders.


Can orthoptics help with reading difficulties or dyslexia?


Orthoptics can be beneficial for individuals experiencing reading difficulties or dyslexia related to vision problems. By addressing issues such as convergence insufficiency or eye-tracking difficulties, orthoptists can contribute to improved reading comfort and efficiency.


Can orthoptics prevent the need for eye surgery?


In certain cases, orthoptics can indeed prevent the need for eye surgery. Through targeted vision therapy and exercises, orthoptists aim to enhance eye coordination and address underlying issues. While surgery may be necessary in some instances, orthoptic interventions can be a valuable non-invasive option.




If you would like to book a consultation with Ms Rashid, simply visit her Top Doctors profile here today

By Ms Safina Rashid
Healthcare professionals

Ms Safina Rashid is an accomplished orthoptist based in London, specialising in vision therapy, binocular vision anomalies, amblyopia, children's vision, double vision, and glaucoma. With a wealth of expertise, Ms Rashid has established herself as a prominent figure in the field, dedicated to providing exceptional eye care services.
She undertook her medical studies at the University of Sheffield, graduating with a bachelor's in medical science in orthoptics, as well as a masters in medical science in orthoptics. Ms Rashid further honed her skills by obtaining a postgraduate diploma in healthcare management & leadership from Birmingham University in 2018.
For 15 years, Ms Rashid has dedicated her expertise to an expanded role in glaucoma, contributing to the development of services aimed at improving efficiency and effectiveness within NHS. Additionally, she has played a key role in fostering career growth for her team. Safina remains actively involved in clinics, focusing on complex squints in both children and adults, as well as neuro-ophthalmology.

Ms Rashid's commitment to advancing her field is evident in her role as an honorary lecturer at Liverpool University, where she imparts knowledge and expertise to the next generation of healthcare professionals. Proficient in ophthalmic imaging and visual fields, particularly kinetic visual field testing, she finds fulfilment in sharing her knowledge by teaching these subjects to orthoptists, optometrists and ophthalmologists.
Additionally, she is devoted to research, engaging in research such as a dynamics study between black and white subjects with glaucoma, and regularly presenting at award ceremonies for prestigious organisations, such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
She is currently part of a NIHR-funded predoctoral scheme to develop her PHD proposal at Kings College London.

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