Specialist Optometrists and the Consultant Optometrist work alongside the orthoptists providing joint Orthoptic and Optometrist clinics in the Orthoptic and Children's eye clinic at St. James's University Hospital (St. James's Multi Speciality Outpatients).
Most of the children seen in these clinics are referred by GPs, community optometrists and community paediatricians for the investigation of suspected reduced visual acuity, amblyopia (lazy eye) and squint.
Orthoptists who specialise in measuring children's vision and binocularity (ability to use their two eyes together) will assess children who have been referred. Any child found to have a problem with their vision or binocularity will be followed up or treated in the clinic.
Specialist Optometrists will usually undertake a check to see if glasses are needed, using cycloplegic refraction (using special eye drops); non-cycloplegic refraction or dynamic retinoscopy ( a measure of focussing power at near) as required. they will also carry out an assessment of the health of the back of the eye (fundus) using a special head mounted torch and lens called a Binocular Indirect Ophthalmoscopy (BIO).
Children will either be seen in a joint clinic where they see an orthoptist first, have cycloplegic eye drops instilled by the orthoptist and then see the optometrist or a stand alone optometrist clinic where they attend having had cycloplegic eye drops instilled in their eyes prior to their appointment by their parents. If it is a stand alone clinic the cycloplegic eye drops will be either posted out to parents with instructions prior to the appointment or issued at the previous orthoptic only appointment.
A small number of children may be referred to the Consultant led Paediatric Ophthalmology clinics in the Children's eye clinic at St. James's University Hospital (St. James's Multi Speciality Outpatients) for Consultant Ophthalmologist opinion or squint surgery.
How do I make an appointment with this service?
To be seen in the clinic you must usually be referred by your GP, optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Normally these clinics run on Saturday mornings once a month and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons in the Orthoptic and Children's eye clinic at St. James's University Hospital (St. James's Multi Speciality Outpatients).
Patients attending a joint orthoptic and optometry clinic will normally have an orthoptic assessment first and then their focussing muscles relaxed and their pupils dilated with cycloplegic eye drops by the orthtoptist. They will normally wait at least half an hour for the drops to work, prior to being seen by the Specialist optometrist, so will usually be in clinic for at least an hour and a half.