Ophthalmic Medical Technologist

Angiography Technologist   More Names
Certified Diagnostic Ophthalmic Sonographer and Registered Ophthalmic Ultrasound Biometrist (CDOS and ROUB), Certified Ophthalmic Assistant, Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist (COMT), Certified Ophthalmic Surgical Assistant, Certified Ophthalmic Technologist, Certified Retinal Angiographer, Clinical Supervisor, Instruct Technologist, Medical Technologist, Ocular Care Technologist, Ophthalmic Clinical Coordinator, Ophthalmic Medical Assistant, Ophthalmic Medical Technologist, Ophthalmic Medical Technologists, Ophthalmic Photographer, Ophthalmic Surgical Assistant, Ophthalmic Surgical Coordinator, Ophthalmic Technologist (Ophthalmic Tech), Ophthalmology Surgical Technician, Optometric Technologist, Retinal Angiographer, Surgical Coordinator
Description

Assist ophthalmologists ("eye doctors") by administering advanced vision tests, performing higher level procedures, and helping to instruct patients about proper eye care. Also may assist in supervising and instructing other ophthalmic personnel, including ophthalmic assistants and ophthalmic medical technicians.

Ophthalmic medical technologists are expected to perform many of the same tasks and duties as ophthalmic assistants and ophthalmic medical technicians, but at higher levels of expertise and clinical skill. Such tasks and duties will be under direction of the eye doctor and, as permitted by state law, can include administering topical and oral medications, assisting during minor eye surgery, and using computerized ophthalmic equipment to perform diagnostic eye tests. They also help instruct patients about proper eye care after a procedure and in the personal care of eyeglasses and contact lenses. They also may help other ophthalmic personnel to care for, maintain, and sterilize surgical instruments, and assist in maintaining ophthalmic equipment and instruments.

Examples or the higher-level tasks and duties that are performed exclusively by ophthalmic medical technologists, as directed by the eye doctor, include administering advanced ocular motility and binocular function tests; and performing ophthalmic clinical photography and fluorescein angiography of the eye, ocular electrophysiological procedures, or advanced microbiological procedures. These tasks may include conducting diagnostic tests on the central and peripheral visual field, ocular motility, and for color vision. Ophthalmic medical technologists also may provide supervision and instruction of other ophthalmic personnel and for patients.

Ophthalmic medical technologists are employed by ophthalmologists and work primarily in their offices or in hospitals that perform eye surgery. They are highly-trained technologists who help eye doctors provide medical care to patients, including surgery, who have a wide-range of eye problems. Their formal training and experience enable them to be able to help ophthalmologists perform a very wide-range of clinical tasks. They typically are aided in their work in support of the ophthalmologist by ophthalmic assistants and ophthalmic medical technicians, both of whom have less training and responsibilities.

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) who specializes in all aspects of eye care, including diagnosis, management, and surgery of ocular diseases and disorders. They are required to have a full medical education, followed by extensive clinical and surgical training in ophthalmology, including thousands of hours devoted to the care and treatment of sick patients. This is the reason many ophthalmologists refer to themselves as "Eye M.D.s" or "eye doctors." They also routinely carry out many of the same tasks as optometrists and - although there are almost twice as many practicing optometrists - about one quarter of the nation's refractions and eye examinations are performed by eye doctors according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

The occupation of ophthalmic medical technologist is the third and highest level on the three-step ophthalmic assisting career ladder. This career ladder often starts with the entry-level ophthalmic medical assistant who may have little or no formal training or experience. The occupation of ophthalmic medical technician usually is considered the intermediate mid-level step on this career ladder.

Credentials Needed: Ophthalmic medical technologists are not required to be state licensed or registered, however voluntary industry-based skill certification is available in support of this occupation.

The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) sponsors the voluntary Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist (COMT) credential and offers four options to earn it: (1) graduation from a CoA-OMP accredited program for Ophthalmic Technologists and with two years or more of college education; (2) graduation from a CoA-OMP accredited program for Ophthalmic Technologists with less than two years of college education, but with two-years work experience (3) work for at least three years as a Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT) under ophthalmologic supervision; or (4) work for at least two years full-time as a Certified Orthoptist (CO) under ophthalmologic supervision.

The JCAHPO website lists fee and other additional information concerning the COMT certificate. The JCAHPO also administers several other specialty certifications, including in surgical assisting and diagnostic ophthalmic sonography. The JCAHPO is the primary education training accrediting and industry-based certification organization in the field of ophthalmic medical assisting. This field includes ophthalmic medical technologists, as well as ophthalmic medical technicians and ophthalmic assistants.

Some Key Things to Remember: Ophthalmic medical technologists assist ophthalmologists in providing more complex eye care for patients. They conduct tests and do measurements, help during minor eye surgeries, apply eye dressings, and show patients how to insert, remove, and care for contact lenses. They also may assist in supervising and instructing other ophthalmic personnel, including ophthalmic assistants and ophthalmic medical technicians.

Ophthalmic medical technologists are not required to be state licensed or registered; however voluntary industry-based skill certification is available.

More Details
Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
23% - Much faster than average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $32,460 - $55,550    Hourly: $16 - $27
Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

Normal color vision is required for some specialties to use optometric instruments.

Legal Requirements
General/Nationwide
State-Specific
 
      

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

Certificate (High School + 0-4 years, Certificate awarded)
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Percent Job Growth:

23% - Much faster than average
Find Jobs

Typical Wages:

Annual: $32,460 - $55,550

Hourly: $16 - $27