To ensure that the NHS is able to achieve the best possible health outcomes for patients and service users, BIOS welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with GPs and their consortia. The BIOS is part of the UK Vision Strategy Group and contributes to the GP Eye Health Network Heads GP Eye Health Network Nov13.pdf
What is BIOS?
BIOS is the professional and educational body for the UK and Republic of Ireland and BOS is the Trades Union body for the UK. Orthoptics is a small profession of fewer than 2,000 in the British Isles; its all-graduate workforce comes from two universities, Liverpool and Sheffield. These universities provide a workforce for all four UK countries and the Republic of Ireland. The workforce is predominantly female with many working part-time and working in the NHS. Orthoptists deal with patients of all ages from premature babies who need visual assessment to the elderly who may have double vision due to age-related macular degeneration or ocular muscle difficulties.
What do orthoptists do?
Orthoptists diagnose and manage disorders of vision and binocular vision problems. Many do pre-school screening, working in schools and special schools, while others work in stroke units enabling speedier rehabilitation with patients after stroke and/or acquired brain injury suffering from double vision, visual field defects and visual inattention.
Orthoptists are also members of the opthalmology team working in glaucoma and cataract clinics, often undertaking work previously done by junior medical staff, as well as electro diagnosis, medical photography and cataract clinics.
Others work alongside neuro opthalmologists and other allied health professionals in falls units. Orthoptists are ideally placed to ensure effective services for patients, are very versatile and provide exceptional value for money as part of the eye healthcare team.
What do patients say?
Emma's Story – Single Vision Restored: Giving Independence Back
I felt compelled to write to you to thank you for the outstanding work that you and you colleagues carry out at the Orthoptic Clinic, King's College Hospital, London.
At my very first meeting, I was diagnosed double vision, had prisms fitted to glasses which allowed single vision, for the first time in 16 months. On subsequent visit, thanks to the sheer determination of your colleague, the prisms were when vision tweaked to allow single vision. I am now able to see in single vision for 80% of the day. This has made such a considerable difference to my life. I can walk short distances without a walking stick and with correct head positioning, can now cross roads with confidence. I can read text clearly and feel more confident when going out – which is considerable difference as for the last 16 months my vision has left me virtually housebound.
Of everything that has happened to me, losing my vision has been the most debilitating. I think we all take our sight for granted, i.e. walking, crossing roads, dog walking, or going to the shop. Double vision had made simple household tasks impossible; pouring a kettle of boiling water, resulted in a scalded right hand. Crowded, busy areas became danger zones, to many hazards to much disorientation. Therefore I stayed indoors, where I was safe.
In the last 16 months I fell over so many times because I haven’t been able to see kerbs, raised paving slabs, stairs. My glasses create single vision, but they have also allowed me to rebuild my life. A “new life” where I can put the past in the past and concentrate on my “new future”. This is all due to the wonderful work carried out in the department – my only regret is that I didn’t know you existed otherwise I would’ve contacted you earlier, rather than suffering in silence.
You have advised that my vision problem is complex and will take at least 6 months before any results. I know that I now have the support of your department in my rehabilitation, which after 16 months means I no longer need to live in isolation. Thank you for giving me back my life.