Orthoptics Awareness Week (OAW) is an important event in the Orthoptics Australia calendar each year. This year it will be held from Monday the 5th to Friday the 9th of March 2018.
This year the theme is ‘Discover the Depths of Orthoptics’. The aim of this week is to increase the awareness of orthoptics to the public as well as other health professionals. We want to highlight the fact orthoptists are multi skilled in their roles and help manage a range of eye conditions including macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataract and strabismus and amblyopia.
Each day will feature a different eye condition, how orthoptists help diagnose, treat and manage these patients and well as interesting facts and statistics on these conditions.
According to Orthoptics Australia President, Marion Rivers; “Orthoptic Awareness Week provides an opportunity for all orthoptists to promote their work to their patients and the general public.”
“As a small profession uniquely placed to provide expert help in the diagnosis, management and rehabilitation of many eye disorders, we need to promote these special areas of interest to the wider public.”
“With an increasing number of people in the community with low vision due to disease such as AMD, diabetic retinopathy and visual disturbance such as diplopia after stroke, orthoptists are able to investigate and provide management for better patient outcomes. This enables people to continue to work, enjoy leisure pursuits, live independently or even return to driving.”
“If we can raise awareness of the profession and encourage our colleagues to refer patients for investigation and management, then people of all ages with visual problems will benefit from the understanding and management that an Orthoptic assessment can provide.”
Whilst not many people know what an Orthoptist is, many have been helped by one. We are continually aiming to educate the public about Orthoptics and eye health in general. We have so many good news stories to share. Orthoptists are involved with vision impaired children and adults, some are on the team developing the Bionic Eye, others are working with cutting edge technology in the fight against age-related macular degeneration….and the list goes on!
What is an Orthoptist?
Orthoptists are eye healthcare professionals who are university trained to assess and treat patients with eye disorders. Orthoptists are uniquely skilled in ophthalmic diagnostic services and specialise in children’s vision, eye movement disorders and low vision care to name a few, working across a range of settings including hospitals, private specialist practices and research centres.
There are currently two university courses in Australia that provide Orthoptic education; La Trobe University in Melbourne and The University of Technology in Sydney. The Orthoptics profession boasts among the highest education standards worldwide, with Australia recognised as being the first country to offer a University Bachelor Degree program in Orthoptics.
Orthoptists have more recently expanded their scope of practice to be multi skilled and diverse in their practice. Orthoptists are committed to ongoing continuing professional education and the specific training necessary to aid in the development of clinical practice. Employer recognition and formal acceptance of orthoptists expanding their roles and responsibilities are essential components and safeguards of Extended Scope of Clinical Practice.
Orthoptics Australia is the national professional body that promotes and advances the science and practice of Orthoptics and advocates in the interest of members of the profession.
Help celebrate and promote Orthoptics Awareness Week 2018 by following Orthoptics Australia on social media via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and by using the hashtag #OAW2018.