What is an Orthoptist?

An Orthoptist is a specialist who works with ophthalmologists to examine, diagnose, and treat a variety of visual disorders in children and adults ranging from blurred vision to misalignment of the ocular motor system. While not physicians, Orthoptists are trained at a two year medical fellowship where they are extensively trained in seeing a variety of patients in the field of Pediatric and Neuro Ophthalmology. They have been respected members of allied health care in ophthalmology for more than fifty years!

Orthoptists perform several specific tests to measure and assess visual acuity, focusing ability, binocular functions, eye movements and color vision, as well as retinoscopy and refractometry (checking a child or adult for glasses). Orthoptists also perform the measurements by which surgeons determine which procedure to perform to correct a given patients’ misaligned eyes.

Our Orthoptist, Rachael Jenkins, C.O., helps the ophthalmologist develop a treatment plan, which may involve treatment by the Orthoptist (such as patching, eye drops, and eye exercises, surgical treatment by the ophthalmologist or a combination of both.

Meet Our Orthoptist: Rachel Jenkins, C.O.

Rachael Jenkins was born and raised in Worcestershire, England. She did her orthoptic training at the Sheffield/Leeds School of Orthoptics in Yorkshire, England and graduated in June of 1986. She practiced orthoptics at the Peterborough District Hospital, Cambridgeshire, England and then decided to broaden her horizons and moved to Houston in 1988. She joined Dr. von Noorden and Dr. Paul Steinkuller at Texas Childrens Hospital. During her ten years there, she received her certification from the American Orthoptic Council in November of 1988, published numerous articles with Dr. von Noorden and presented papers at numerous national and international meetings. She became a member of the faculty as Instructor at Baylor College of Medicine in 1990. She taught medical students, residents and fellows in the clinic and also gave many lectures on ocular motility. In June of 1998, she joined Dr. Melinda Rainey at Kelsey Seybold Clinic. In May of 2011, she joined Coastal Eye Associates.

Ms. Jenkins is a member of the American Association of Certified Orthoptists (AACO) and the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS). She is an editor of the American Orthoptic Journal and has represented the AACO on the American Orthoptic Council. Last year, at the AAO meeting, she was awarded the Lancaster award for orthoptic excellence and contributions to the orthoptic profession. She has lived in the Clear Lake area since 1990 when she married a local NASA engineer. She has two children.

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