Photo: Kathryn Swanston as a student orthoptist in the Orthoptic Clinic at Moorfields Eye Hospital, High Holborn Branch c. 1984.

Kathryn’s 1984 story

In September 1984 I started my training as an orthoptist at Moorfields Eye Hospital School of Orthoptics.  Back then orthoptic training was a three-year diploma course for which students received a full bursary from the Department of Health.  In those days there were two branches of Moorfields Eye Hospital, the existing one in City Road and another in High Holborn on the corner of Dury Lane.  The Holborn branch, where I was based for the first part of my training, closed in 1988 and is now a hall of residence.  As students we gained experience and knowledge by seeing our own patients under supervision and by attending lectures from the ophthalmologists and orthoptic teachers at Moorfields.  The head orthoptists at Moorfields during my training were Barbara Lee and Kathleen Swale and the consultant ophthalmologists who specialised in ocular motility were Mr John Lee and Mr Peter Fells.   I remember learning about nystagmus and meeting some patients with nystagmus but not until my final year of training when nystagmus appeared on the curriculum.  I formed a close friendship with three others who started training that year. Although none of us are still practicing as orthoptists we are still in touch, the ‘Holborn Ladies’, and we are planning our own 40th year celebration in Holborn to mark the anniversary of our meeting in 1984.  It is so lovely to know now that as were beginning our training, the Nystagmus Network was being established.

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