Dr Sarah Dean blogs in support of World Orthoptic Day 2017!

Dr Sarah Dean

The 5th of June 2017 marks World Orthoptic Day! Being a researcher in Health Psychology (and having an Orthoptist for a sister), I believe it is really important to support orthoptists in raising their profile.

Many people are unaware of the important role that orthoptists play in eye health. Orthoptists typically work in hospitals where they are involved in investigating, diagnosing and treating a range of eye related conditions, one of which is amblyopia or ‘lazy eye’, which is where my research interests lie. Orthoptists work with people of all ages from premature babies to older adults, and with a variety of medical conditions that can affect their eyes, such as diabetes and thyroid disorders. They may also work with people who are recovering from a stroke or brain injury. Overall, they are a vital part of the vision team!

Children with amblyopia have poor vision in one eye and without treatment this vision does not develop properly, meaning they have an increased risk of blindness. Treatment for amblyopia often involves the child being prescribed a patch to wear over their ‘good’ eye for part of the day. This forces the child to use their ‘lazy eye’ which allows the vision to develop. Although this treatment can work really well when used with children under 7 years old, a lot of people find it difficult to adhere to their prescribed treatment.

In my research I explore ways of improving adherence to treatment. In our paper, myself and my colleagues, Dr Rachel Povey and Jessica Reeves, investigated how effective existing interventions which aimed to increase compliance to patching treatment in children with amblyopia were. The next stage of the research will involve interviewing children to learn more about their experience of wearing an eye patch. Hopefully continuing with this research will lead to improved outcomes for children and will help to raise awareness of orthoptics.

Dean, S.E., Povey, R.C., Reeves J. (2016). Assessing interventions to increase compliance to patching treatment in children with amblyopia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Ophthalmology,100, 159-165.


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