Orthoptics is a profession allied to medicine whose primary emphasis is the diagnosis and non-surgical management of strabismus (wandering eye), amblyopia (lazy eye) and eye movement disorders. The word orthoptics comes from the Greek words ὀρθός orthos, "straight" and ὀπτικός optikοs, "relating to sight" and much of the practice of orthoptists concerns refraction and muscular eye control. Orthoptists are trained professionals who specialize in orthoptic treatment. With specific training, in some countries orthoptists may be involved in monitoring of some forms of eye disease, such as glaucoma, cataract screening and diabetic retinopathy 
For children, there is evidence that orthoptics can be more effective at treating convergence insufficiency than home-based training; for adults the evidence is not consistent.
Orthoptics has a long history in supporting ophthalmic care. French ophthalmologist Louis Emile Javal, began using ocular exercises to treat strabismus (wandering eye) and described the practice of orthoptics in his writings in the late 19th century. Mary Maddox pioneered the orthoptic profession and was the first documented orthoptist. She was trained by her father, Ernest E. Maddox, in response to increasing patient demand and time needed to examine and treat patients. Dr Ernest Maddox was a reputed ophthalmologist as well as the inventor of various instruments for investigating binocular vision. Mary Maddox started her own practice in London in the early 1920s and her first hospital clinic opened at the Royal Westminster Hospital in 1928. The first Australian hospital clinic with orthoptists was established at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne in 1931.
Current orthoptic practice
Orthoptists are mainly involved with diagnosing and managing patients with binocular vision disorders which relate to amblyopia, extraocular muscle balance such as with version, refractive errors, vergence, accommodation imbalances, (positive relative accommodation and negative relative accommodation). They work closely with ophthalmologists to ensure that patients with eye muscle disorders are offered a full range of treatment options. According to the International Orthoptic Association, professional orthoptic practice involves the following:
- Primary activities
- Secondary activities
- Further activities
- Specific outpatient waiting list initiatives to reduce the delay for children referred to the eye clinic (filter screening)
- Joint multidisciplinary children’s vision screening clinics (orthoptics/optometry)
- Organisation/prioritisation of the strabismus surgical admissions list according to agreed criteria
- Assistance with surgical procedures
- International Orthoptic Association document "professional role"
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- Enrica Colombo: The Orthoptist Visual-Therapist. Trans. VIIth IOC 1991, Ed G.Tillson, p 365.
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- Georgievski, Z; Koklanis, K; Fenton, A; Koukouras, I. (2007). "Victorian orthoptists' performance in the photo evaluation of diabetic retinopathy". Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology. 35 (8): 733–738. doi:10.1111/j.1442-9071.2007.01576.x. PMID 17997777.
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- VK Lantau et al: State of the Rotterdam Amblyopia Screening Project. Trans. IXth IOC, 1999 Ed.Cynthia Pritchard, Marli Kohler, Dagmar Verlohr, p 39-45.
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