Field of Study: Ophthalmic Technology
Ophthalmic technology programs prepare people to help eye doctors examine and treat vision problems. Students learn how to interview patients, apply medicines to eyes, and test vision. They learn to operate equipment, instruct patients, and keep records.
Did you know that besides your brain, your eyes are the most complex organ in your body? Your eyes have over two million working parts. In a normal lifetime, your eyes will bring you almost 24 million images of the world around you. As you can see, your eyeballs are capable of doing some impressive things!
Do these facts fascinate you? Do you enjoy helping people? Does the medical profession excite you? Are you comfortable working with technical equipment? If you answered "yes" to these questions, ophthalmic technology may be the program for you.
As a student in this program, you learn the anatomy of the eye and how the eye works. You also learn how to run different kinds of vision tests on patients in order to help an eye doctor make diagnoses. You practice interacting with patients and asking them questions about their medical history.
Sometimes patients have eye problems that cannot be fixed by eyeglasses or contact lenses. Because ophthalmologists are medical doctors, they sometimes need to conduct surgery on a patient's eyes. As a student of ophthalmic technology, you learn how to assist in medical procedures such as surgery.
There are a handful of colleges and universities that offer certificates, associate degrees, or bachelor's degrees in ophthalmic technology. A certificate typically takes one to two years of full-time study after high school. An associate degree usually takes two to three years. And a bachelor's degree generally takes four years.
Proprietary schools, colleges, and universities all offer this program. If you want to study at a proprietary school, you can prepare for this program of study by completing your high school degree or getting a GED. If you want to study at a college or university, you can prepare for this program by taking the following courses: four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.
- Introduction to Business
- General Computer Applications
- Health Education
- Community Health
- Vision Care Assisting
- Healthcare Sciences Work Experience
- Anatomy and Physiology
Applicants to some programs need to take between one to two years of college-level general education courses first. Specific prerequisite courses vary among these programs but typically include some combination of the following:
Social Science electives
Letters of recommendation
Typical course work
This program typically includes courses in the following subjects:
- Anatomy and Physiology of the Eye
- Basic Visual Examination
- Clinical Optics
- Corneal Topography
- Diagnostic Procedures
- Eye Disease
- Fundamentals and Principles of Contact Lenses
- Grand Rounds and Seminar
- Introduction to Clinical Skills
- Introduction to Ophthalmic Surgery
- Maintenance of Ophthalmic Instruments
- Medical Ethics
- Medical History-Taking
- Ocular Motility and Binocular Vision
- Ocular Pharmacology
- Ophthalmic Dispensing
- Ophthalmic Photography
- Ophthalmic Therapeutic Procedures
- Perception and Low Vision
- Pupil Evaluation
- Retinoscopy and Refractometry
- Surgical Assisting Procedures
Things to know
Some schools offer a program in ophthalmic medical technology. These programs prepare people especially to work in hospitals.
After graduating from this program, you can be certified as a technician or a technologist. The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) offers the exams. There is a written portion and a skills evaluation. The two levels signify increasing amounts of knowledge and skill.
Certification is not necessary to get a job in ophthalmic technology, but it does help. Employers view certification as a sign of your knowledge and abilities.
Similar fields of study
- Medical Assisting
- Medical Coding and Billing
- Medical Secretarial Studies
- Ophthalmic Laboratory Technology
- Optometric Technology
- Vision Science
Careers you may qualify for
Association of Technical Personnel in Ophthalmology
Schools that offer program
Click on the school name to see a list of their programs related to this field of study.