Orthoptics

The Orthoptic Department at UHCW NHS Trust provides hospital and community services to patients in Coventry, Rugby and North Warwickshire. Orthoptic staff carry out assessments and where appropriate treatment of disorders of binocular vision and ocular motility in patients of all ages. Orthoptists are vital members of the NHS eye care team and work closely with ophthalmologists and optometrists, as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

Our department consists of 16 Orthoptists and 3 Orthoptic technicians who deliver a wide and varied comprehensive eye care service including the following:

• Paediatric Orthoptics
• Adult Orthoptics
• Visual field assessment
• Stroke assessment
• Community screening clinics for pre-school children
• Primary vision screening for children in reception
• Special school screening
• Biometry

Please ensure you arrive promptly for your appointments. If you are late you may not be seen or have only minimal assessment carried out, as this will impact other patient’s appointments.
 

Paediatric Orthoptics

Your child may be seen by an Orthoptist if they have:

• A squint (a turn one or both eyes)
• Unequal or large glasses prescription
• A defect of the eye such as cataracts or an obstruction like a drooping eyelid.

 

What to expect on your child’s first visit to the eye department

Your child will receive an appointment for an appropriate clinic, either at University Hospital or the Hospital of St Cross. All children will have their vision checked, and they may require eye drops for a glasses test and to aid checking the back of the eye (fundus check). While the pupils are dilated your child may be sensitive to bright light, please bring sunglasses/ sunhat. You may be in the department for several hours, please take this into consideration when planning your visit.

General Paediatric Information Leaflets

What to expect when we visit the eye department
Amblyopia (lazy eye)

Squint
Patching – help and advice for parents/guardians
• Patching activity sheets: Motivational handout and Spot the difference
Convergence exercises
Squint surgery for children
Going home after squint surgery

 

Adult Orthoptics

The Orthoptist will see you on your initial visit, they will assess your eye movements and any double vision, photographs may also be taken of the back of the eye. No drops are required for this appointment - therefore if you normally drive you can drive to your appointment unless you have double vision.

Please bring any glasses with you to the appointment, and your most recent prescription.

Driving guidelines regarding double vision
• Please be aware that you are legally required to inform the DVLA that you have double vision https://www.gov.uk/diplopia-and-driving
• You are also advised to inform your insurance company that you are driving with a prism which corrects the double vision, or that you are driving with a patch covering one eye to eliminate the double vision.
 

General Adult Information Leaflets
Convergence exercises
Prism Care and Advise
Squint surgery for adults
Going home after squint surgery for adults

 

Visual field assessments

A visual field test primarily examines a patient’s peripheral and central vision. Essentially any patient who has suspected field loss or a condition that is known to cause field loss may require a formal assessment.
Please ensure you bring any glasses (near and distance) and a copy of your latest prescription to your appointments.


Stroke assessment

Both on the ward and specific clinics if a problem is identified
Orthoptists are involved in the screening, assessment and treatment of patients who are suffering from visual problems following a stroke or TIA.

Symptoms may include:
• Double vision (diplopia) and squint
• Visual field loss
• Difficulties with reading or tracking
• Symptoms of ‘shimmering’ or hallucinations in the area of lost vision

We can also provide advice to patients about how and when they need to contact the DVLA.

The Orthoptic assessment allows clinicians with in the stroke team to have a holistic approach to diagnosis and prognosis for patients following discharge from the hospital. We provide information for therapists to enable them to adapt their therapy according to the patient’s visual needs and assist with their rehabilitation.

• Driving guidelines
• Reading advice
• Hemianopia leaflets
• CVI registration information

If you have had problems with your vision since having a stroke contact your GP and ask them to refer you to the orthoptic department or contact the orthoptic team for advice.


Eye Clinic Liaison Officer

The Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) is based in University Hospital and Hospital of St Cross, Rugby. The role is funded by RNIB (Royal National Institute for Blind People) and partners with the University Hospital to provide a non-medical information service for patients, their families and carers within the eye clinics. The service liaises with other departments within the hospital as well as external agencies and organisations.

The Eye Clinic Liaison service can provide information on the following:

• Eye conditions (non-medical)

• Emotional support services.

• Equipment, lighting and home safety.

• Independent Living support and equipment.

• Services from, and referral to, your local Social Services Department.

• Links to rehabilitation support from qualified rehabilitation officers for the visually impaired.

• Benefits and concessions.

• Employment and education.

• Support groups and social activities.

• Services for children and young people.

• Local and national support agencies.

• Registration as sight impaired or severely sight impaired

• Living with sight loss courses

For referrals either ask a member of the Ophthalmology team or telephone the ECLO directly on:

Mobile: 07834147178 (please leave voicemail)

email@sue.grewcock@uhcw.nhs.uk

Please click here for more information

Community screening clinics for pre-school children

If you have a concern about your child’s eyes and they have not yet started school they can be screened by an Orthoptist at one of several community centres. Speak to your health visitor or GP to find out more.

Clinics include:
• Willenhall
• Tile Hill
• Woodend
• COCHC
• Bedworth
• Riversley
• Atherstone

Primary vision screening for children in reception

The National Screening committee recommends that all children aged 4-5 years should have their vision screened. This is an opt out service. Prior to the school visit each child will be given a letter from school; you only need to return the letter if your child already attends the hospital eye department or if you do not want their eyes tested.

You do not need to return the letter if you want their eyes tested.

Why does a child need a vision assessment?

It is important that every child has a vision assessment as vision only develops until the age of 7-8 years; this is known as the critical period. After this period it may not be possible to improve a child’s vision and they may be left with permanently reduced vision in one or both eyes. This may have life implications such as ability to drive or affect career choice.

What if my child is absent?
If your child is absent on the day on vision screening they will get a letter home to let you know they have not had their eyes tested. There is opportunity for you to return part of the letter if you would like you child screened and they will then receive an appointment at the hospital during a school holiday.

What happens if they fail?
If your child does not meet the pass criteria you will receive a letter home from school informing you of this. You will also be posted an appointment at the hospital eye department to have your child’s eyes tested further.

 

Specialist school screening

We currently attend several specialist schools in Coventry, Rugby and North Warwickshire.

Currently these schools are visited twice during the school year. Any child who is new to the school will have their eyes tested, as well as children who already attend the hospital eye service. If you or a teacher has a concern about a child’s vision then we can also see these children. Any child who has Downs Syndrome will also be seen on an annual basis.

 

Biometry (measurements prior to cataract surgery)

Orthoptists take biometry measurements to identify the required power of the intraocular lens implant for cataract surgery. Measurements are also required for patients undergoing other surgery/treatments including vitrectomy, cyclodiode laser, trabeculectomy and retinal detachment repair.

If you have a biometry appointment, please ensure you bring your distance glasses with you. If you wear soft contact lenses please leave these out for a week prior to the appointment, if you wear hard Gas Permeable lenses please leave these out for four weeks prior to the appointment to enable us to take accurate measurements of your eyes.

Referrals
Referrals are generated from GP’s, health visitors, opticians, paediatricians and other departments within the hospital.

Contact us
If you are unable to attend an appointment please inform the booking centre as soon as possible so the appointment can be offered to someone else, and we can rearrange your appointment.

You can cancel or rebook your appointment by getting in touch with our Booking Centre on: 0800 252060 (Freephone) or email Uhc-tr.patient-referrals@nhs.net

If you miss an appointment and have not contacted us you will be discharged. You will then need to be re-referred via your GP.

If you would like to receive a text reminder for upcoming appointments please inform reception on arrival to ensure the hospital is aware and has the correct mobile number.

If you have a preference to be seen at either University Hospital, Coventry, or the Hospital of St Cross in Rugby, please mention this at your next appointment, where possible this will be accommodated.

If you are running out of patches and require some more until your child’s next appointment please contact us via phone on 02476966517 or email uhc-tr.OrthopticDept@nhs.net

Please be advised we cannot respond to emails with personal information so please include your child’s name, hospital number and an address for the patches to be sent to.


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