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Abstract

Purpose: This review aimed to determine the tasks performed by orthoptists, the types of patients they manage, their work settings, the professionals they work with, and the professionals they receive referrals from and refer to. Methods: A systematic search of seven databases was conducted to identify all studies regarding the role of orthoptists that were published in English in peer-reviewed journals from January 2003 to January 2013. Reference lists of all included studies, as well as studies regarding ocular conditions which were excluded as they did not specifically report the role of orthoptists, were screened manually to identify additional relevant studies. Key orthoptic organisations (International Orthoptic Association, British & Irish Orthoptic Society, Orthoptics Australia, the Canadian Orthoptic Society, and the American Association of Certified Orthoptists) were asked to provide any literature relevant to this review. Studies were allocated to the National Health and Medical Research Council hierarchy of evidence. Systematic reviews were appraised using the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine Systematic Review Critical Appraisal Sheet, and level II or III_1 studies appraised with the PEDro scale. Data pertaining to the patient’s ocular conditions and co-morbidities, tasks performed, work settings, colleagues/ teams, and referrals were extracted and reported descriptively. Results: No relevant studies were identified; hence this is an empty review. Conclusion: No studies have been published (January 2003-January 2013) investigating the role of orthoptists. There is, therefore, an urgent need for research into this area to ensure that policy-makers can best utilise orthoptists within their health services and to ensure that the training of orthoptists matches the professional roles in which they are likely to undertake.

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