Orthoptists without practices

By Camille FratiLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

Orthoptists are an essential part of the treatment of vision disorders, but they are still forced to work as employees and are waiting to be able to set up a private practice one day.

Do your eyes hurt after a day in front of your computer screen? A headache after reading a few pages? Your reflex will probably be to consult an ophthalmologist. But if there is no eye pathology, you will certainly be directed to an orthoptist for several re-education sessions.

In fact, orthoptics covers many areas. "Orthoptics is the paramedical profession that consists of re-educating and rehabilitating oculomotor problems and problems of binocular vision (with both eyes, editor’s note)", explains Catherine Lévy, president of the Luxembourg Association of qualified orthoptists (l’Association luxembourgeoise des orthoptistes diplômés, Alod). This speciality also covers "refractive problems in children – are they short-sighted, long-sighted or astigmatic", as well as colour vision.

There are also neurovisual disorders that can lead to learning difficulties in children, such as visuo-spatial dyspraxia (poor coordination of the eyes and the brain) or dyslexia. "Oculomotricity can be worked on to make these children a little more resilient and efficient in their learning. Orthoptists also help visually impaired people through rehabilitation and the provision of equipment such as a magnifying glass or adapted lighting. Lévy shows a whole range of these in the dedicated room in the Orthoptic and Pleoptic Department of the Health Directorate where she works.

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