Ophthalmic medical assistants carry out routine administrative and clinical chores to keep the efficiency of the offices and clinics of ophthalmologist. An ophthalmic medical assistant is one of the three levels of technical personnel in ophthalmology which work under the administration and management of an ophthalmologist to perform various ophthalmic clinical duties.
Ophthalmic medical assistants can not however examine, diagnose or treat a patient. An ophthalmic medical assistant can only assist the ophthalmologist in giving eye care such as; perform eye tests, measure and document vision and functions of the muscles of the eyes. Medical assistants are also responsible for aiding patients in the proper insertion, removal and basic care of contact lenses.
Ophthalmic medical assistants can also give medications for the eye but under the direction by the ophthalmologist. Ophthalmic medical assistants also are responsible for the maintenance of optical devices and materials and they also can administer eye dressings.
Some Ophthalmic medical assistants programs specialize in the function, anatomy and diseases of the eye. Some institutes offer medical assistants programs that will train you in various practices in ophthalmology; some of these include glaucoma, retinal and pediatrics. Some institutes train ophthalmic medical assistants in administering routine eye exams and provide education for patients. Certified ophthalmic medical assistants are trained to conduct post operative and pre-operative examinations for cataract surgery procedure. They are also eligible to handle visual field examinations for glaucoma and neurological patients.
A certified ophthalmic medical assistant has the option to proceed to become an ophthalmic medical technician. A career that has an expanded duties and responsibilities, and with additional training, the ophthalmic medical assistants can become an operating room surgical assistant.
Clinical internship is required in every ophthalmic medical assistant program. This boosts the knowledge learned from the classroom and also provides practical knowledge on a real life medical background. The duration of the “ophthalmic medical assistants program” usually last from six months to one year. The courses included in an ophthalmic medical assistants program may include the following: history taking, anatomy and physiology, ocular anatomy and physiology, ocular motility and diseases of the eye, diagnostics and treatment procedures, ophthalmic pharmacology, care and maintenance of ophthalmic equipment, clinical practicum and ophthalmic surgery procedures.
Students who have passed the accredited programs are qualified to take the national examination on the approved levels. Certification as an ophthalmic medical assistant is not mandatory and can be acquired from the “Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology”. Certified ophthalmic medical assistants are required to take re-certification examinations every three years for a proper maintaining knowledge in the field of ophthalmic medical assistants. The average annual salary for certified ophthalmic medical assistants is around 25,000 to 30,000 U.S. Dollars.