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Careers Advice: How To Become an Orthoptist

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What is an Orthoptist?

Orthoptists work as part of a team of specialists to both diagnose and treat various optical problems.

What does an Orthoptist do?

Although each day will depend on the needs of your patients, orthoptists generally undertake on some of the following:

  • Diagnosing various conditions

  • Helping to manage ongoing conditions like glaucoma and cataracts

  • Treating stroke patients

  • Aiding those with neurological disorders

  • Testing the vision of children

  • Referring patients to other specialists

Skills & interests required for an Orthoptist

Orthoptists have to be medically trained, focused on the workings of the eye. They will work with specialist equipment and need to be capable of manipulating the equipment. They have to have a good eye for detail as well as excellent bedside manner and ability to build a rapport with their patients. Steady hands are a must!

- Analytical skills
- Attention to detail
- Verbal Communication
- Written Communication

Working hours

Although you will typically work 37.5 hours a week, how this is organised will depend on the type of institution you work for. Public sector workers will generally work normal office hours of 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday. However, if you are employed by the private sector you may be expected to work some evenings or weekends.

Work base

A hospital or within the community.


For those working in a hospital travel will be limited, whereas those working within the community can expect more travel between various sites.

Salary ranges & earning potential

The starting salary for an orthoptist is £22,000 a year, increasing to between £26,250 and £31,500 with experience.

Education requirements

To become an orthoptist you must have a degree in orthoptics, as approved by the Health and Care Professions Council, as well as work experience (either paid or unpaid) in a orthoptic department.

Useful subjects to study at school & university

  • Orthoptics

Useful resources

Health and Care Professions Council
British and Irish Orthoptics Society