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How do I Become an Ophthalmic Technologist?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2016
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There are three items required in order to become an ophthalmic technologist: post-secondary education, work experience, and interpersonal skills. An ophthalmic technologist works under the supervision of an ophthalmologist. He or she is responsible for conducting vision tests, maintaining ophthalmic equipment, obtaining patient history, and assisting with eye surgeries.

Ophthalmic technologists can find employment opportunities in eye clinics, ophthalmologist offices, and vision testing centers. The work environment is a medical office and standard hours may include evenings and weekends. People who report the highest satisfaction in this position are detail oriented, independent, and enjoy working with people.

The first step to become an ophthalmic technologist is to complete a training program through a community or career college. This program is usually eight to 12 months in length. Courses include the anatomy of the eye, diagnostic eye tests, eye diseases, and communication.

In order to obtain admission into this program, candidates should have high school credits in biology, math, English, and technology. Many of the vision tests are based on computer technology. Advanced computer skills are a great benefit to employers and may help you obtain a good position.

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Most programs offer a cooperative course or work term. This opportunity to gain work experience is very valuable. Actually applying the skills learned in class is a proven method of enhancing learning. During the job placement, a certified ophthalmic technologist checks all the work and guidance is provided to help the student improve his or her techniques.

Ophthalmic technologists work with a wide range people. The ability to put people at ease, communicate, and resolve conflict are all skills necessary to become an ophthalmic technologist. Interpersonal skills enhance work productivity, create a positive atmosphere, and encourage teamwork.

Each patient sees the ophthalmic technologist at the first stage of an ophthalmologist appointment. The technologist collects medical history, measures vision, checks for color blindness, tests eye muscles, and discusses any current vision issues. Technologists can also provide instructions on the use of contact lenses, administration of eye medication, and provide assistance with post operative care.

Many ophthalmic technologists take additional courses to learn how to assist the ophthalmologist during eye surgeries and perform eye angiography and related tests. Ophthalmic technologists normally take continuing education courses to maintain essential skills and stay on top of changes in technology. People who want to advance their careers after they become an ophthalmic technologist, must take additional courses in specific technological tools or equipment as they become available.

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