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OMA Independent Study Course


The medical and surgical specialty concerned w/ the eye and it's surrounding structures, their proper function, disorders, and all aspects of vision

Fun Fact:

The Ophthalmascope was invented in the mid-19th century and provided the first opportunity for physicians to view the blood vessels inside an organ without surgery.


A medical doctor (MD or DO) who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and medical & surgical treatment of vision problems & diseases of the eye
-med school
-1yr internship
-3yr residency (specialized ophth training)
-1 or 2 yr fellowship (more training!)


Prescribes eyeglasses & contacts
Detects diseases of the eye
-4yr college
-4yr optometry school


Dispenses eyeglasses & contact lenses from the prescription of an optometrist or ophthalmologist
-2yrs training before receiving license


Certified Registered Nurse in Ophthalmology
provide direct care, perform ophthalmic diagnostic testing, plan and provide patient education, help patients find and use needed services, assist ophthalmologist in surgery, or serve as directors of surgery or clinical services
-2-4 yrs nursing education
-2 yrs of ophthalmic nursing
-pass written exam


Helps with management, diagnosis, and non-surgical treatment of eye muscle imbalance and related visual impairments
-undergrad degree
-2yr post-grad training


Measures and fits prostheses for the eye
-Several years apprenticeship

Ophthalmic Photographer

Photographs eye structures for diagnosis & documentation
-special training
-competency exam

Ophthalmic Medical Assistant

Provides assistance to the Ophthalmologist in many areas allowing the ophthalmologist to spend quality time with patients performing only the diagnostic and treatment functions that require his high level of skill.


Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology; Promotes education & utilization of allied health personnel.

Three official levels of JCAHPO certification

1)COA - Certified Ophthalmic Assistant
2)COT - Certified Ophthalmic Technician
3)COMT - Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technician


The Association of Technical Personnel in Ophthalmology; a membership organization


Ophthalmic Photographer's Society


American Society of Ophthalmic RNs


American Academy of Ophthalmology

AAO Code of Ethics

1)Serve the best interest of the Pt
2)Provide services w/ compassion, respect for human dignity, honesty, & integrity
3)Maintain competence by continued study and supplement w/ talents of other professionals
4)Open & confidential communication w/ Pt
5)Fees must not exploit Pt or those paying for services
6)Hold other professionals accountable for upholding code of ethics
7)Issues of ethics are resolved by determining that pt's best interest has been served.

Additional Ethics for the Assistant

1)abide by state laws and always work under the supervision of a licensed ophthalmologist
2)Be honest w/ Pts and Dr.
3)Do not misrepresent yourself as any type of professional other than what you are. Always correct wrong assumptions of higher authority or capability.
4)Do not advise any treatment to a pt. including your own friends & family
5)Never try to interpret results, diagnose a condition, or suggest treatments to a pt w/out the dr.'s instruction to do so.
6)DO explain how and why tests & procedures are done to leaven pt anxiety and increase pt cooperation
7)Removal of drugs, materials, or supplies is unethical and illegal.
8)Do not refer to pts by their disease or condition

Professional Behavior

1)You represent the Doctor, the office\hospital, and the standard of care pts will recieve
2)Remember: Most pts are worried, frightened, and uncomfortable!
3)Show sympathy and prompt attention for pts
4)Be helpful, courteous, & caring
5)Address all pts by title and last name
6)Wear clean, presentable clothing
7)Pay careful attn to personal hygiene, avoid heavy perfumes and make up
8)Keep hair short or tied up

The success equation:

Caring Attitude + Skill + Professional Manner & Appearance = Success

What does success in Ophthalmic Assisting mean?

Making a significant contribution to the overall well-being and visual health of my patients, including creating a comforting & confidential environment where pts can be sure they are receiving comprehensive medical care from people who care.

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