Paediatric eye service
The Orthoptist is a health care professional who specialises in assessing and treating visual conditions in adults and children. It is likely that when you visit the Eye Clinic with your child, your child’s vision will be assessed by an orthoptist prior to the doctor’s consultation. They may also test the alignment of your child’s eyes to find out if they have binocular vision (when both eyes coordinate with each other) or whether there is the presence of a squint (turn, glide, and lazy eye). This gives an insight into the long-term visual capabilities of the child.
As babies and pre-school children are not able to read down a letter chart as adults do, the orthoptist is trained in a variety of ways to assess how your child can see. These tests are usually played as games and are completely non-invasive; the orthoptist will try their hardest to make the hospital visit as fun and as non-threatening as possible.
If one or both of your child’s eyes are impaired, the orthoptist will be the primary person to provide support for wearing glasses. If needed, they may recommend patching therapy; which is where they cover the good eye in order to allow the vision in the weaker or lazy eye to improve. You will probably visit the orthoptist regularly to monitor your child’s sight and to demonstrate improvement following the uses of glasses and/or patching.
Orthoptists are also trained to administer dilating drops before the child visits the consultant. However, the orthoptist may decide against this if the child is particularly restless or frightened of the eye drops. It may be more appropriate sometimes to have one of our Ophthalmic Nurses to administer these drops, so that the child does not associate the Orthoptist as being frightening.
Badges and stickers are always on hand to give out as rewards.
The Paediatric Ophthalmologist is a qualified doctor who specialises in children’s eye problems and surgery. The consultant in charge of this service at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is Mr Nagendran. In addition, there are several other doctors who make up the medical team. The Ophthalmologist will usually see your child once they have undergone an initial assessment by one of our Orthoptists.
The doctor will discuss your child’s eye problems with you and will explain the treatments available for your child’s eye condition. If glasses are required, the doctor will give you a prescription and an NHS voucher to take to your High Street optician for the glasses to be made up.
The doctor will also arrange for your child to have regular follow-up appointments with the Orthoptists to check their visual progress with the glasses.
Very occasionally it may be difficult to examine an infant or young child adequately and arrangements may be made for your child to be examined whilst he/she is made drowsy by medication.
Specialist tests and arrangements
Sometimes, special tests are required before the ophthalmologist can be sure about a visual problem. The ophthalmologist may arrange electro-diagnostic testing in our Neuro Physiology Department and arrange an x-ray or magnetic scan for your child. The ophthalmologist will arrange to see you and your child again to explain the results of these tests.
If your child has impaired vision, which cannot be corrected with glasses, the doctor will contact specialist teachers for the visually impaired in your local area. These teachers will support your child at home and later during his/her education. With your permission your child may be registered as having impaired sight which may help you to claim additional social benefits for your child.
Often there is too much information to take in at one consultation. You may also need time to consider the information you have been given before agreeing to a treatment for your child. If this is the case and you wish to discuss the diagnosis and/or treatment option with the Ophthalmologist, please contact the department to arrange another appointment.
Our specialist team
The team providing these services are:
- Mr S Nagendran - Lead Consultant
- Miss Yashi Goni - Staff Ophthalmologist
- Rosemary Russell - Head Orthoptist
- David Corby - Senior Orthoptist
- Carolyn Horne - Senior Orthoptist
- Dawn Revill - Senior Orhoptist
Useful documents links
The following document may also be of interest to you:
Go to the Ophthalmology overview page.