Orthoptics is an ophthalmic field pertaining to the evaluation and treatment of patients with disorders of the visual system with an emphasis on binocular vision and eye movements. Orthoptists are uniquely skilled in diagnostic techniques, clinical interpretation and therapeutic modalities. They have been respected members of allied health care in ophthalmology for more than fifty years.
Orthoptists commonly work in pediatric ophthalmology settings. They serve patients of all ages, but because of the nature of many binocular disorders, the majority of patients are children. Adult care in the field of orthoptics is uniquely challenging and rewarding and is specific to neuro-ophthalmology and adult eye muscle disorders.
Orthoptics offers opportunities for dynamic individuals who desire to exercise leadership ability and for those who enjoy involvement in a professional organization. The American Association of Certified Orthoptists (AACO) is a membership organization with a mission to promote and advance the professional and educational competence of orthoptists. The AACO is governed and administered by member orthoptists.
Children’s Eye Care offers a twenty-four month comprehensive program of academic and clinical instruction in orthoptics and related ophthalmic studies.
The orthoptic training program consists of didactic and clinical instruction by staff orthoptists and ophthalmologists in a clinical environment over four locations in metro Detroit (Clinton Twp, Dearborn, Detroit and West Bloomfield). After completing the program the student is eligible to take the national written, oral and practical board examinations administered by the American Orthoptic Council.
While our training program began in 2012, the program and all three of our students that were eligible, received the Scobee National Award for obtaining the highest achievement on the board examinations.
The student will have supervised clinical training combined with didactic instruction. Lectures, textbooks and journal publications form the basis of the didactic resources. The curriculum includes ophthalmic optics, visual assessment techniques, ocular an neurological anatomy, motor and sensory physiology, pharmacology, disorders of eye movements and ocular motility, diagnostic testing, congenital and systemic diseases affecting the eye, and principles of surgical and non-surgical treatment.
The program run for twenty four months beginning September 1 and ending on August 31. Students should expect a Monday – Friday schedule of approximately 7:30 am until 4:00 pm with occasional evenings and/or weekend didactic, journal club and symposiums.
Tuition, Benefits and Financial Aid
The program costs $3,000 ($1,500 annually). The tuition will include the costs of books and a stipend to attend one national meeting so the student can present a lecture to national peers.
The American Council’s fees for taking the written and oral board examinations are the responsibility of the graduating student. The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology JCAHPO awards some scholarships to assist with board examination costs.
The student isn’t an employee of Children’s Eye Care and isn’t eligible for employee benefits.
Application and Admission
The program is similar to a post-grad internship. Academic prerequisites requires that students must received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. While a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences is preferred it’s not mandatory.
Applications are accepted from December 1 – February 28 of each year. Children’s Eye Care’s Orthoptic Program is currently only accepting one student every one to two years. Our next opening will be in 2022.
We can’t accept application from non-US citizens. It is extremely difficult, almost impossible, to obtain a visa for the study of orthoptics.
The application process begins with submitting the Application (PDF), a copy of university transcripts and three letters of recommendation. Applicants will be required to attend a personal interview at Children’s Eye Care. A virtual interview will be accepted in certain situations.
- American Association of Orthoptists website www.orthoptics.org
- Children’s Eye Care, 248-254-8140, firstname.lastname@example.org
STUDENTS & ALUMNI
You have some amazing orthoptists. Honestly, between the pathology we saw and their amazing teaching, I was smiling the whole morning [of my board certification]. It was cool.
Nina Palomba – Passed AACO’s oral board certification, 10/03/2015
Katrina Callus, BS (2020-2022)
Current: Orthoptic Student
Lauren Marozas, CO (2017-2019)
Winner of the 2019 Richard G. Scobee Award
Current: Staff Orthoptist, Children’s Eye Care, Clinton Twp, MI
Stephen Burwell, CO, COT (2014-2016)
Winner of the 2016 Richard G. Scobee Award
Current: Staff Orthoptist, Children’s Eye Care, Detroit, MI
Nina Palomba, CO, COA (2013-2015)
Winner of the 2015 Richard G. Scobee Award
Current: Staff Orthoptist, Eye Center of Northern Colorado, Fort Collins, CO
Martha Wright, CO, COT (2012-2013)
Current: Staff Orthoptist, Children’s Eye Care, West Bloomfield, MI