Optometrists are trained to recognise, treat and manage abnormalities and signs of some, but not all, eye diseases. Like eye surgeons (ophthalmologists), they examine the internal and external structure of your eyes to detect diseases. They may also test a person's ability to focus and coordinate the eyes and see depth and colours accurately. Optometrists do not perform surgery. If necessary, the optometrist will refer you on to your GP or an eye clinic for further investigations.
Optometrists can prescribe and fit glasses, contact lenses and low vision aids. They can also prescribe eye exercises, undertake vision therapy, and, if trained to do so, prescibe medications to treat eye diseases.
Referrals - If a parents is concerned about their child’s vision they can arrange an appointment with a local ophthalmic practitioner. They see children of any age. Many concerns can be resolved completely by the ophthalmic practitioner without the need to refer the child to a specialist such as an orthoptist or ophthalmologist. All NHS sight tests are free of charge for children under the age of 16.
Please follow the resource link below to the guidance and referral criteria for the assessment of children within the GHNHSFT Community Paediatric and Neurodisability service. This guidance is for General Practitioners, Public Health Nurses and Therapists
Ophthalmologists (eye surgeons) are doctors that specialise in the medical and surgical care of eyes and the visual system. They also look into the prevention of eye disease and injury. An ophthalmologist treats patients of all ages.
Orthoptists form part of the eyecare team and generally work closely together with ophthalmologists, ophthalmic practitioners and vision scientists. Their main role is to investigate and identify problems relating to the development of the visual system, including squint and lazy eyes in children
Referrals - Routine access to Outpatient appointments is through Choose & Book
The Advisory Teaching Service Team for Visual Impairment works with children with a significant level of visual impairment. Children who are visually impaired vary widely in their educational needs. Therefore provision reflects the individual needs of visually impaired young people.
Referrals - A child will need to have been seen by an Ophthalmologist before the Advisory Teaching Service is involved. GPs can refer to an ophthalmologist following an assessment by an optometrist.
Most children will be referred before they start school. If the child has not started school and needs to be seen by the Advisory Teaching Service any professional can refer them with parental consent by completing the "Request for Advisory Teacher Involvement" form.
If the child is of school age and requires Advisory Teaching Service intervention the school, with the parents, should complete the "Request for Advisory Teacher Involvement" form.
To access more information follow the resource link below to the Gloucestershire County Council website page for the Advisory Teaching Service.