Orthoptists are among the Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) that Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust will be celebrating as part of AHPs Day today (Monday 14 October).
Mohammed Zabair Asghar is one of our six orthoptists working with two orthoptic technicians within two dedicated orthoptic departments at Walsall Manor Hospital as well as health centres and primary schools in the community.
There are also two admin and clerical support workers and a retired orthoptist who volunteers for the team every week.
Orthoptists are responsible for the continuing management of the paediatric ophthalmology caseload, working closely with optometrists and ophthalmologists to provide a comprehensive service to patients from birth to 18 years.
They specialise in the diagnosis and management of problems related to visual development in children such as squints, refractive error (glasses) and Amblyopia (lazy eye). They also diagnose and manage defects of ocular motility arising from a congenital abnormality of the ocular muscle or nerve supply, or acquired through injury or disease. Treatment may include the use of occlusion (patches) and/or glasses and/or surgery. Orthoptists assist in the screening for retinopathy of prematurity which is a disease of the eye in low birth-weight babies.
Orthoptists deliver a comprehensive orthoptic screening service to all reception class children in the Walsall borough. This includes children in special schools, private schools and home tutored children. Children who do not pass this screening test may be referred to their own optician or into the acute unit at Walsall Manor Hospital.
Orthoptists diagnose and treat adults who have a disturbance in their vision and/or binocular vision which may give rise to headaches, blurred vision or double vision. Treatment may include orthoptic exercises or the use of prisms to relieve symptoms.
The Orthoptic team performs visual field tests as requested by the Ophthalmology or Neurology teams on patients who have glaucoma or have had a stroke or head/brain injury. Visual field tests assess the width and depth of peripheral vision and can be used as a diagnostic and monitoring aid in these conditions.
Adults and children with visual impairment that affects their quality of life are supported by the Orthoptists through the low vision aid service. This provides the patient with a variety of low vision devices (magnifiers) to enable them to cope better with tasks such as reading, writing and shopping. Orthoptists can then signpost patients to other supporting agencies such as patient groups, social services and the educational visual impairment team.