The Swedish Orthoptic Society (SIOF) is an association for orthoptists working in Sweden. The association was founded in 1980 and has, at present, 110 members. Sweden’s very first orthoptist began working in 1958, and the numbers gradually increased throughout the 60’s. These orthoptists had been trained in England, Germany or Switzerland. The Swedish Orthoptic Training School was then founded in 1973 and became co-Nordic in 1977. The training is now at degree level, and is based at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
Orthoptists in Sweden may work for the national health service, or in private practice, either in cooperation with ophthalmologists or independently in their own clinics.
The orthoptist examines, diagnoses and treats children with amblyopia (reduced/under stimulated vision), as well as children and adults with squints and problems with binocular vision, which can be due to latent squint or neurological disorders. Some orthoptists provide assistance during squint surgery. The orthoptist can also be responsible for screening-sessions at local children’s clinics, enabling early diagnosis of amblyopia and squint, and therefore more effective treatment. Orthoptists are also encouraged to become involved in research.
The normal working week in Sweden is 40 hours, with at least 5 weeks annual holiday, plus national holidays. Salary is determined individually.
Each year, SIOF awards a grant from Gert Aurell’s Trust Fund. Ophthalmologist Gert Aurell was the pioneer for orthoptic training in Sweden.
SIOF also has a representative in the “Standing Liaison Committee of Orthoptists within the European Community” (OCE)
Job opportunities are looking very positive over the next 10 years as many orthoptists are nearing retirement.
Sweden is a beautiful country, from the snow-covered mountains in the north to the green fields in the south; it has a lot to offer the sport and nature lover.