Job Description:

Orthoptists work with a team of specialists to diagnose and treat eye problems.

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

Depending on where you work, as an orthoptist you could:

  • diagnose squints, lazy eyes, reduced or double vision, and disorders
  • manage conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, stroke, retinal disease and neurological disorders
  • carry out vision tests on children
  • suggest treatments like eye patches, eye exercises, contact lenses or low vision aids
  • refer clients to other healthcare professionals like optometrists, eye surgeons and vision scientists


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of medicine and how the human body works
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork)
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • thinking and reasoning skills (creativity)
  • to enjoy working with other people
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become an Orthoptist, you will typically need a combination of specific GCSE subjects, A-levels or equivalent qualifications, and a relevant degree. Here are the recommended educational steps and subjects:

School Subjects

While the specific GCSE subject requirements can vary depending on the university and country you plan to study in, the following subjects are generally relevant and can help prepare you for a degree in Orthoptics:

  1. Sciences: Biology and Chemistry are often recommended as they provide a foundation in basic biological and chemical principles relevant to healthcare.
  2. Mathematics: Math skills are important for understanding scientific concepts and performing calculations.
  3. Physics: Physics knowledge can be helpful for understanding aspects of optics and light that are relevant to vision.
  4. English Language: Strong communication skills are essential for interacting with patients, colleagues, and other healthcare professionals.
  5. Psychology: Some universities may recommend or require Psychology as it provides insights into human behavior and perception, which are relevant to Orthoptics.

A-levels or Equivalent:

After completing your GCSEs, you would typically progress to A-levels or equivalent qualifications. The specific subjects required or recommended can vary, so it’s important to check the entry requirements of the universities you’re interested in.

However, subjects related to sciences, biology, chemistry, psychology, and mathematics are generally advantageous.

You’ll need to get a degree in orthoptics, approved by a Health and Care Professions Council.

There’s a lot of competition for places on orthoptics degree courses, so you’ll need to show an understanding and commitment to orthoptics before you apply.

Work experience
Before you apply for a course, you’ll find it helpful to get some work experience in healthcare, for example in a local orthoptic department.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typically you could work 37 to 39 hours per week.

You could work in a hospital or in the community.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience you could:

  • become a specialist orthoptist and work with specific groups of people such as children or people affected by stroke
  • become a head or consultant orthoptist, and manage a team or department
  • take further qualifications and move into research or teaching
  • work in private practice and set up your own clinic