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Summary of occupation

Orthoptists detect, diagnose and treat disorders of the eye, both in relation to impaired vision and eye movement.

Orthoptists carry-out eye examinations and vision tests. They can prescribe lenses and other optical aids and therapy, as well as diagnose and manage eye movement disorders and associated sensory problems.

There are approximately eight orthoptists working in Western Australia.

ANZSCO description: Diagnoses and manages eye movement disorders and associated sensory deficiencies. Registration or licensing may be required.
Alternative names: Certified Orthoptist, Clinical Orthoptist (CO)
Specialisations: Eye Specialist and Paediatric Eye Specialist, Neuro-ophthalmologist, Ophthalmologist, Visual Rehabilitation Specialist
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An orthoptist needs:

  • knowledge of the sciences including information and techniques to diagnose and treat eye disorders
  • accurate observation, discrimination and measurement skills
  • to make decisions and solve problems associated with eye disorders
  • to be able to communicate and interact with people from all backgrounds, including children and elderly patients, specialists, practitioners and other health professionals
  • to be interested in people's health needs and able to provide emotional support to patients
  • to keep up-to-date with technical changes within the industry
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Working conditions

Orthoptists work in a diverse range of settings, including hospitals, private practices, low vision and rehabilitation settings and research centres. They may work as part of the team within the eye unit itself, or independently as community orthoptists. Most orthoptists work fulltime averaging about 40 hours per week.

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Salary details

On average, orthoptists can expect to earn between $1 391 and $1 853 per week ($72 349 and $96 345 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As an orthoptist develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Orthoptists need to use specialised diagnostic and imaging tools to analyse diseases of the eye. They use depth perception apparatuses, eye charts, lenses, prisms and various scopes.

A range of technologies are used including training and medical software.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a qualified orthoptist, you usually need to study orthoptics at university to postgraduate level.

There are no courses in orthoptics available in Western Australia. You can complete degree courses at universities interstate.

La Trobe University in Victoria offers a four year combined Bachelor of Applied Science and Master of Orthoptics. The University of Technology in Sydney offers a two year Master of Orthoptics. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Graduates may be eligible to become members of the Australian Orthoptic Board. 

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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