Orthoptic Program

The University of Minnesota Orthoptic Fellowship Program is a 2-year training program that accepts one student per year who meets qualifications and has obtained a baccalaureate degree before entering the program. Orthoptists are physician extenders who work primarily with pediatric ophthalmologists and neuro-ophthalmologists in diagnosing and managing strabismus, diplopia, and amblyopia. 

An undergraduate degree in health sciences is preferred including exposure to the following areas: biology, anatomy, physics, genetics, child development, psychology, and physiology. The GRE is not required.

Our Orthoptic curriculum includes didactic course work in areas such as: anatomy, optics, pharmacology, surgical technique, basic ophthalmic skills, eye disease and orthoptics. Clinical experience at the University of Minnesota Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Neurosciences occurs throughout the program. The program is associated with the University of Minnesota Medical School. One-on-one lectures with orthoptists, department grand rounds, division journal clubs, and lectureships & case conferences are included in the curriculum. During the second year, students are encouraged to give a scientific presentation at our department’s Research Day or a regional orthoptic meeting.

Career opportunities for certified orthoptists abound as the demand for orthoptists increases every year. The American Orthoptic Council regulates candidate certification by conducting written and practical board examinations yearly.

Teaching is carried out by:

  • Certified Orthoptists: Jessica Harder, CONoor Ismaiel, OC(C), CO Laura May, CO, Kimberly Merrill, CO and Anna Schweigert, CO
  • Fellowship-trained Pediatric & Strabismus Ophthalmologists:  Jill S. Anderson, MD, Raymond G. Areaux, Jr., MD, Susan Culican, MD, MD, Sasha Strul, MD, and other departmental faculty.  

Kimberly Merrill, CO is the orthoptic program director.