In the healthcare system, there are numerous specializations according to the needs, conditions, and care that people might require.
Apart from the most common professions, such as doctors, nurses, and administrative staff, medical assistants are another integral part of the system.
They can help a large variety of professionals to provide better and more detailed attention to patients by working as part of a team.
Ophthalmic Medical Assistants, along with ophthalmologists and optometrists, focus on one of our most valuable and delicate senses: our sight.
In the next few sections, we’ll discuss Ophthalmic Medical Assistants, the necessary training to become one, and its costs.
Table of Contents
- What Is an Ophthalmic Medical Assistant?
- What Does an Ophthalmic Medical Assistant Do?
- Where Do Ophthalmic Medical Assistants Work?
- How Do I Become an Ophthalmic Medical Assistant?
- What Are the Requirements to Apply to an Ophthalmic Medical Assistant Program?
- How Long Does Ophthalmic Medical Assistant Training Last?
- How Much Does Ophthalmic Medical Assistant Training Cost?
What Is an Ophthalmic Medical Assistant?
An Ophthalmic Medical Assistant is part of the ophthalmic health team and is able to work either with ophthalmologists or optometrists.
Ophthalmologists are doctors in medicine who specialize in the structure, functions, diseases, and injuries of the eyes.
Optometrists, on the other hand, are healthcare professionals that center on examining the eyes, diagnosing and treating injuries, diseases, or any other visual problems.
The main difference between these two professionals is that optometrists are not doctors in medicine but doctors of optometry.
As the name indicates, Ophthalmic Medical Assistants provide assistance in a diversity of tasks and duties to optometrists or ophthalmologists.
What Does an Ophthalmic Medical Assistant Do?
Ophthalmic Medical Assistants can perform different duties according to where they work.
The most common responsibilities of these assistants are to keep a record of patients’ history as well as personal information, measure patients’ vital signs, perform basic eye tests, apply eye medication and eye dressings, dispense glasses or contact lenses, and in general, be there to help the ophthalmologist or optometrist in medical exams and treatments.
Where Do Ophthalmic Medical Assistants Work?
The most popular workplace for Ophthalmic Medical Assistants is private practices of ophthalmologists or optometrists, hospitals, eye clinics, and even retail optical settings.
How Do I Become an Ophthalmic Medical Assistant?
If you want to become an Ophthalmic Medical Assistant, you must have the proper training and obtain a diploma.
Programs to become an Ophthalmic Medical Assistant are usually available in technical schools, community colleges, and universities.
In these programs, the student will gain basic knowledge in ophthalmology and optometry, as well as medical terminology, ethics, subjects related to eyewear and frames,
To obtain certification, it’s necessary to pass the Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) test, provided by the International Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (IJCAHPO).
There are different requirements to apply for the exam, depending on the academic background and professional experience the candidate has.
What Are the Requirements to Apply to an Ophthalmic Medical Assistant Program?
Technical schools, community colleges, and universities will have different requirements to apply to their Ophthalmic Medical Assistant program.
The most common requirements are having a high school diploma or equivalent, such as passing the General Educational Development (GED) test, complying with a background check, and with the school’s health requirements.
How Long Does Ophthalmic Medical Assistant Training Last?
The duration of training to become an Ophthalmic Medical Assistant will vary according to the program you choose, the time you have to study, and the institution where you aspire to study.
However, the average duration of Ophthalmic Medical Assistant programs is between 6 and 18 months.
How Much Does Ophthalmic Medical Assistant Training Cost?
There are diverse factors that can affect the cost of an Ophthalmic Medical Assistant Training program, such as the city where you study, the type of institution, and the program you select.
In most cases, you can find training programs to become an Ophthalmic Medical Assistant from $3,500 to $10,000.