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How Do I Become an Orthoptist?

There are three accredited teaching programs in Canada. All three programs are accredited by the Canadian Medical Association.

Candidates to the Orthoptic programs must have completed an undergraduate degree at a recognized university. Applicants will possess excellent written and oral communication skills, and be able to relate well to children and adults.

Orthoptic teaching in Canada is a minimum of 24 months. The Halifax training centre at Dalhousie University offers a third thesis year in order to complete a Masters degree.


Orthoptic training involves both lecture and extensive clinical experiences. The core of orthoptic learning includes:
  • Ocular Anatomy and Physiology
  • Ophthalmological Neuro-Anatomy
  • Diagnostic Testing and Measurement
  • Child Development Visual Development
  • Refractometry Basics
  • Systemic Diseases and Ocular Motility Disorders
  • Basic Ophthalmologic Examination Techniques
  • Treatment of Motility Disorders
  • Treatment of Visual Disorders
  • Pharmacology
  • Low Vision
  • Ophthalmic Optics
  • Genetics
  • Clinical Research Skills
  • Medical Writing Skills
Clinical experience takes place within the training center, or in certified preceptor sites. Each student will be exposed to clinical experience in a supervised capacity, practicing skills learned in lecture, and building on those as the program proceeds.

Training culminates in a three-part national examination, set by the Canadian Orthoptic Council. In the final year, the student is eligible to apply to write a multiple choice examination in May. Upon successful completion of the written, the candidate is invited to sit the practical and oral portions of the examination. These are held in June of each year in conjunction with the Canadian Ophthalmological Society Annual Meeting. The location of the meeting rotates between Western, Central and Eastern Canada.

Each training program has information specific to its site, please see below for contact instructions.
 
 
BC Children's Hospital
Program Director: Christy Giligson
Orthoptic Clinic, BC Children's Hospital
4480 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC V6H 3V4
email: Cgiligson@cw.bc.ca
website
Halifax Teaching Program
Program Chair: Darren Oystreck
Clinical Vision Science Program
IWK Health Centre, 5850 University Ave.
PO BOX 9700, Halifax, NS B3K 6R8
email: orthoptics@iwk.nshealth.ca
www.cvs.healthprofessions.dal.ca
 
Saskatoon Teaching Program
Program Director: Jocelyn Zurevinsky
Orthoptic Clinic, Eye Care Center, Saskatoon City Hospital
701 Queen St., Saskatoon, SK S7K 0M7
Phone: (306) 655-8094
Fax: (306) 655-8119
www.orthoptics.ca
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©  The Canadian Orthoptic Society