Orthoptists specialise in assessing, diagnosing and treating a variety of eye conditions in very young babies, children, adults and older people. Orthoptists are specialists in assessing visual function in the pre and non-verbal service user.

Orthoptists work with service users with squints, amblyopia (lazy eye), double vision and eye movement problems due to a range of conditions such as neurological, stroke, trauma and diabetes.

Orthoptists are part of the eye team working with ophthalmologists (eye consultants) and opticians. Orthoptists also provide a coordinated eye service with health visitors, school nurses and GPs.

Services provided:

  • Treatment of squint
  • Treatment of amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Assessment for squint surgery in adults and children
  • Management of diplopia (double vision)
  • Extended scope practice in cataract care
  • Visual assessment post stroke 
  • Assessment of visual field

How to access the service

Orthoptics is available in four settings:

In hospital (inpatient) - The doctor in charge can organise an Orthoptist to assess any patient they feel necessary.

At hospital (Outpatient) - A child or adult can be referred to the Hospital Orthoptist by their GP or Optician.

In the Community - The health visitor or school nurse can refer to the Community Orthoptist to determine if Orthoptic treatment is needed. If so, they then refer the child onto the Mater or Royal Victoria Hospital for further treatment.

Regional Access Eye Service - Patients with sudden onset double vision are seen by an Orthoptist in conjunction with Casualty eye doctors.

Location of Service


Royal Victoria Hospital (028) 9063 3188

Mater Hospital (028) 9080 2579


East Belfast
The Arches Centre

West Belfast
Beech Hall


North Belfast

In the event of an enquiry about Orthoptics in Community Clinics please contact Jane Hanley (Head of the Orthoptic Department) on (028) 9063 3188 or (028) 9063 4369 or e-mail: jane.hanley@belfasttrust.hscni.net

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  What Should I do if my child has a squint?
A:  Contact your Health visitor, school nurse, GP or Optometrist and get referred to nearest Orthoptic department.

Q:  What should I do if my child is complaining of blurred vision?
A:  See local optometrist if glasses do not improve vision seek referral to Hospital eye service.

Q:  I woke up with Double vision and it’s not going away?
A:  Contact GP /Optometrist and get referred into Regional Access Eye service.

External links

Amblyopia (Lazy Eye): For more information go to http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Lazy-eye/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Strabismus (Squint): For more information go to http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/squint/pages/introduction2.aspx

Diplopia (Double Vision): For more information go to http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Double-vision/Pages/Introduction.aspx

British Orthoptic Society: For more information go to http://www.orthoptics.org.uk/