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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Orthoptists investigate, diagnose and manage disorders of binocular vision, ocular motility and problems relating to reduced vision.

Our role in the Craniofacial clinic

Our Orthoptic Team provides a specialist service for all children under the care of Oxford Craniofacial Unit.

An Orthoptist will be present at your child's multidisciplinary clinic appointment, where you will have the opportunity to ask questions about your child's eyesight.

If your child is already under the care of a local eye service, it is useful for us to be up-to-date with their current orthoptic and ophthalmological status.

We offer children routine orthoptic assessments at key stages in their care:

  • pre-operatively
  • at age 4 or 5 years.

We also offer orthoptic, optometric and ophthalmological assessments at any time when a clinical need arises during the course of a patient's care.

What a child's eye test involves

A child's eye test may involve one or more of the following:

  • Orthoptist
  • Optometrist
  • Ophthalmologist


The orthoptic assessment involves a vision check to identify reduced vision or amblyopia ('lazy eye'). A series of tests will be carried out to investigate if your child has a squint, and their level of binocular vision (how well the eyes co-ordinate together).

An Orthoptic appointment takes between 20-30 minutes.


The Optometrist performs a glasses test (refraction). This can be done at any age. Glasses may or may not be prescribed depending on the result of the test.


The Ophthalmologist checks the health of the eyes (fundus examination). They will look carefully at the optic nerve head.

The last two checks require the use of dilating eye drops. If your child needs a refraction or fundus examination, the Orthoptist will instil the drops into both eyes at the end of their testing. The drops take about 30 minutes to take effect so if your child needs to see the Optometrist and/or Ophthalmologist as well, the whole process may take a couple of hours.

At the end of each consultation the Orthoptist, Optometrist and Ophthalmologist will provide feedback. This may involve no further eye care, continuing with local care or a referral to eye services locally.