Ophthalmic Technology | Mercy College

Ophthalmic Technology

As an ophthalmic assistant you will assist the ophthalmologist in a variety of diagnostic and technical tasks. Portions of this curriculum will involve on-site internships at participating vision care practices and hands-on training in the College ophthalmic laboratory (Toledo) or local ophthalmic practices (Youngstown and Cincinnati). This program was designed to specifically prepare students for immediate employment in the field and to sit for the Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) entry-level examination as administered by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO). As an ophthalmic assistant, you will enjoy being part of a team in a career that offers both flexibility and growth. (This program is approved by the Higher Learning Commission and Ohio Board of Regents.) The Ophthalmic Technology Certificate program courses begin in the fall semester (August).

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Ophthalmic assistants are trained to measure visual acuity; instill ocular medications; obtain ocular, medical, and family history; and perform manifest refractometry. Assistants instruct patients about medications, tests, and procedures. They also assist the ophthalmologist with various procedures. The scope of responsibilities for ophthalmic assistants also includes coordinating in-office patient flow; measuring intraocular pressure by applanation tonometry; participating in telephone triage; measuring pinhole acuity; and measuring, comparing, and testing pupils (JCAHPO).

Ophthalmologists generally employ ophthalmic assistants in private practices, clinics, or hospitals. The typical workweek is 40 hours and may include evenings or weekends depending on the patient needs.

The Ophthalmic Technology Program at Mercy College is a 32-week program, which allows students to complete the required credit hours in one year. The program will prepare students to sit for the Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) entry-level examination (exam is offered at testing centers across the country). Upon completion of coursework, students must submit an application within 12 months of completing an ICA accredited Clinical Ophthalmic Assistant program to JCAHPO for permission to take the exam. Once accepted, the student will be assigned a 90-day eligibility period and must schedule and take the exam during this period. This eligibility period, along with information on how to schedule your exam, is provided in a confirmation letter after the application is accepted. Currently, the exam fee is $300 but is subject to change.

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