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.
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. Typical areas of need are:
• Early identification, assessment and intervention from preschool age by a qualified teacher of the visually impaired
• On-going assessment of visual skills and identification of the implications for development and learning
• Access to class/subject teachers and teaching assistants who have received, or having, appropriate training
• Training the use of residual vision
• Training in the use of compensatory strategies to develop other senses e.g. listening skills
• Specialist skills teaching – Braille, touch typing and mobility
• Access to learning materials in appropriate media including large print, Braille, audio and MP3
• Assessment of individual specialist equipment eg closed circuit television magnifier (CCTV) and specialist software
• Carefully structured and well prepared transition arrangements between educational placements
• Access to the best possible learning environment in relation to lighting, seating position, classroom organisation etc.
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.