The orthoptist is the professional who deals with the diagnosis and treatment of different disorders of the visual system. Unlike many other professionals from the eye care industry, the orthoptist treats these conditions in a non invasive, non surgical manner and they typically address problems related to the eye mobility.
It is the duty of the orthoptist to carefully inform the patient about the different conditions of the eye and the available treatment options – moreover, these eye care specialists also teach them how to use eye drops and corrective lenses, and how they can treat common eye problems such as convergence insufficiency, strabismus or nystagmus. There are thousands of skilled orthoptists working across the United States of America, and their mean yearly salary usually varies between $60,000 and $80,000 a year.
Pay Scale In Different Parts Of The United States of America
The highest paying state for orthoptists at the moment is South Carolina, as this is where these eye care specialists should expect to earn as much as $120,000 a year. Following the state of South Carolina, Maryland also pays its orthoptists a median yearly salary of more than $116,000 a year, while the District of Columbia offers them little over $105,000. The state of Georgia pays them a median salary of $95,000, while New York pays them around $94,000 a year, and so does the state of Alaska. Minnesota, on the other hand, offers orthoptists a median salary of just under $90,000 a year.
Orthoptist Job Description
These professionals diagnose and treat different conditions and diseases of the eye, and they work closely with patients of all ages. They use a variety of diagnose tests and techniques and they commonly treat people who suffer either from lazy eye or from squint. However, it often happens that orthoptists also work with patients who have suffered from stroke, brain injury or diabetes.
The duties and responsibilities of the orthoptist are usually determined by the work environment, as these professionals can be found in state hospitals, community clinics, private eye clinics, neurology departments, emergency rooms and such. It is their primary duty to thoroughly investigate the patients and to assess their eye position and movement, as well as their general vision. They must put an accurate diagnosis and then come up with a tailored treatment plan.
It is also the duty of the orthoptist to educate the patient on the condition he is suffering from. These professionals usually provide patients with continuing care, they undertake visual field assessments and they work closely with other medical professionals, such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists and other members of the medical team.
How To Become An Orthoptist In The United States?
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There are numerous certified training programs for orthoptists to choose from, and in addition to completing a formal training program, these eye care professionals must also enroll in a specialized internship program that typically lasts for 24 months. Just like the accredited training program, the internship program must be reviewed and approved by the American Orthoptic Council, otherwise your theoretical and practical training may not be recognized.
At the end of the four-year training program you will get a Bachelor’s Degree and during the training you will enjoy courses in anatomy, physics, biology and other related fields. On the other hand, during the two years of practical internship training you will work under the close supervision of a certified orthoptist and you will understand everything related to the anatomy of the eye, the functions of the eye as well as its movements. If during the four years of theoretical training you have studies the general principles of ophthalmology, the internship training will make sure that you will practice everything you have learned. Also, you will most likely work either in a clinic or in a state owned hospital or community agency.
As an orthoptist, you can opt for a certification in the field. You need to get your degree from an accredited training program and then to sit for the written and practical exams, both of which are being administered by the AOC or the American Orthoptic Council. You will need to participate in continuing education services in order to maintain your certification valid and active.
Orthoptist Salary In Canada, Australia And The United Kingdom
In Canada, the median yearly salary for an orthoptist is of around Ca$63,000, while in Australia these professionals should expect to make around Au$85.000. Also, in the UK an orthoptist earns a median wage between 30,000 and 80,000 pounds.
Verdict On Orthoptist Salary
To sum it up, the salary of an orthoptist tends to increase with experience, and those from the United Kingdom tend to earn the highest salaries in this field.