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Orthoptics (from the Greek words ortho meaning "straight", and optikas meaning "vision" [1]) is the discipline dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of defective eye coordination, binocular vision, and functional amblyopia by non-pharmaceutical and non-surgical methods, e.g., glasses, prisms, exercises.[1] The goal of orthoptics is to improve comfort and efficiency of binocular function.

History[edit | edit source]

Orthoptists and ophthalmologists introduced a wide variety of techniques for the improvement of binocular function in the first half of the twentieth century. The first pioneer was Mary Maddox, the daughter of an English ophthalmologist. [2]

Orthoptists[edit | edit source]

Orthoptics is usually studied as a primary degree or as a 2 to 4 years post graduate training course, including both theoretical and practical training. Orthoptists usually work in close cooperation with ophthalmologists, pediatricians, and sometimes neurologists.

The practice of orthoptics has evolved beyond the realm of orthoptic exercises. Orthoptists employed around the world now spend the majority of their day assessing, diagnosing and managing patients with eye muscle disorders. Traditional orthoptic exercise programs are still employed when appropriate. Orthoptists work closely with ophthalmologists to ensure that patients with eye muscle disorders are exposed to a full range of treatment options. These additional options include optical, medical and surgical treatment.

Applications[edit | edit source]

  • Near point of convergence exercises (i.e. "pencil push-ups")
  • Convergence training - Base-out prism reading, stereogram cards, computerized training programs are used to improve fusional convergence.[3]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Cassin, B. and Solomon, S. Dictionary of Eye Terminology. Gainsville, Florida: Triad Publishing Company, 1990.
  2. Helveston EM. "Visual training: current status in ophthalmology." Am J Ophthalmol. 2005 Nov;140(5):903-10. PMID 16310470.
  3. Bartis, MJ. Convergence Insufficiency. eMedicine. January 25, 2005.

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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