Ophthalmic Assistant Job Description

Ophthalmic Assistant Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Are you searching for an ophthalmic assistant job description? Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of an ophthalmic assistant. Feel free to use our job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as an ophthalmic assistant.


Who is an Ophthalmic Assistant?

Ophthalmic assistants are entry-level ophthalmology specialists who assist ophthalmologists by helping to obtain medical information, record patient information, and update patients’ records. In essence, an ophthalmic assistant is a medical assistant whose specialty is on helping ophthalmologists, or eye doctors carry out their duties.  As an ophthalmic assistant,  you will conduct tests to identify ocular diseases, illnesses, and other issues. Patients may also undergo vision exams to evaluate their visual acuity and eye-muscle coordination. You’ll also instruct patients on how to wear eyeglasses and contact lenses properly. Depending on the size of the practice, many ophthalmic assistants may be required to dress eyes and help ophthalmologists during surgeries. It can also be required of you to schedule and keep track of patient appointments.

Ophthalmic assistants may be required to examine patients’ eyes or give them medication in addition to counseling patients about their care and treatment. Ophthalmic assistants provide a lot of patient care by educating patients about eye care and outlining procedures and drugs. To aid their patients in seeing more clearly, they can also prescribe spectacles. The daily tasks of the ophthalmologist are assisted by ophthalmic assistants. They frequently assist patients with their eye medications, do eye exams, and help patients get ready for doctor’s appointments. Ophthalmic assistants may also be under the supervision of an optometrist or another sort of physician, but normally they work under the direction of an ophthalmologist.

Ophthalmic assistants must be able to handle the challenges that come with working with patients who have visual issues. They must also be able to function well under pressure because they would need to work swiftly and effectively to meet the ophthalmologist’s needs. High school education is a very minimum needed to become a certified ophthalmic assistant, although employers prefer those who have taken an ocular medical assisting course at a college or university. Entry-level ophthalmic assistants typically learn on the job from more experienced teammates.

Ophthalmology assistant programs, which have a variety of curricula but typically provide a review of ocular anatomy, terminology, diagnostic techniques, clinical procedures, and much more, are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Ophthalmic Medical Programs (CoA-OMP). Although there are some shorter-term programs available, ophthalmic assistant training programs can last up to a year. Advancement opportunities for ophthalmic assistants include becoming ophthalmic medical technicians or ophthalmic photographers. They could pursue certification to become certified ophthalmic technicians or certified ophthalmic medical technologists with further education.

Some ophthalmic assistants go on to become ophthalmic doctors. You can learn the activities needed to become an ophthalmic assistant through some different methods. Take a course at a community college or vocational school as one option. You will get the chance to learn about the many ophthalmic equipment and how to use them, as well as ocular anatomy and physiology, as a result of this. Working with or shadowing an ophthalmologist or an ophthalmic technician is another option to acquire these skills. You will gain first-hand experience working with patients and using various devices as a result. To understand more about the profession, you can also study books or articles about ophthalmology and ophthalmic assistants.


Ophthalmic Assistant Job Description

What is an ophthalmic assistant job description? An ophthalmic assistant job description is simply a list of duties and responsibilities of an ophthalmic assistant in an organization. Below are the ophthalmic assistant job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write an ophthalmic assistant job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

Ophthalmic assistants are responsible for different duties such as the following:

  • Take record of patient information including their medical background and current meds.
  • Prepare the ophthalmologist’s office for appointments by extending a warm welcome to clients, verifying scheduled appointments, and delivering any paperwork required, such as insurance information.
  • Apply eye drops or ointments to patients’ eyes as directed by the ophthalmologist.
  • Assist patients in donning and removing their eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other visual aids
  • Measure the patient’s visual acuity using a chart or computer program, among other simple diagnostic procedures.
  • Utilize ophthalmic equipment to examine the patient’s eyes.
  • Prepare patients for procedures and tests.
  • Discover and document the patient’s medical history.
  • Measure and record visual acuity and color vision testing.
  • Carry out the lensometry and sit-lamp examination when instructed by the ophthalmologist.
  • Provide patients with specialized ophthalmic testing as recommended by the ophthalmologist.
  • Assist ophthalmologists with examinations and operations.
  • Give patients advice on eyedrops, bandages, and contact lenses.
  • Assist with laser treatments and simple operations by administering anesthetic drops.
  • Maintain, cleaned, and sterilize surgical equipment.
  • Keep the exam room tidy, secure, and orderly.
  • Inform patients of the pre-and post-operative procedures.
  • Examine the surgery plan and the patient’s chart, then accurately complete the patient documentation.
  • Clean and sterilize lenses and frames to prepare equipment for examination.
  • Describe the procedure in detail and address any queries about available treatments.
  • Familiarize the fundamentals of systemic disorders, ocular diseases, and ocular anatomy and physiology.
  • Prepare and tidy up the process and examination rooms.
  • Ensure that patients undergoing ophthalmic oncology surgery receive complete treatment.
  • Take pictures of the patient’s eyes for use in identification or medical records.
  • Offer clerical and administrative support when necessary.
  • Set up follow-up appointments with patients who require further care or observation.



  • GED/ high school diploma
  • Associate’s degree program in relevant discipline.
  • A minimum of 2 years of work experience as an Ophthalmic Assistant or a similar role
  • Familiarity with ophthalmology.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communications skills.
  • In-depth knowledge of medical terminology
  • Strong math skills.
  • Administrative skills.
  • Teamwork skills.
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Organizational skills.


Essential Skills

  • Communication skills: Communication skills to interact with patients and other medical professionals are a must for ophthalmic assistants. Patients should be allowed to make inquiries and receive explanations about procedures from you as an Ophthalmic assistant. To make sure that the patient’s treatment is progressing as intended, you should be able to interact with other medical specialists. When gathering a patient’s medical history or outlining treatment alternatives, they must also pay close attention.
  • Interpersonal skills: Ophthalmic assistants commonly work with patients who are experiencing vision impairment. They must be able to speak to these patients and their families intelligibly and compassionately. Empathy, tolerance, and the capacity for attentive listening are examples of interpersonal skills. When collaborating with other medical professionals, such as optometrists or ophthalmologists, ophthalmic assistants also need interpersonal skills.
  • Ophthalmic diagnostics expertise: Ophthalmic diagnostics, which involves using various equipment to gauge a patient’s eye health, is a common task performed by ophthalmic assistants. As part of this, visual acuity tests are conducted, and ocular pressure, pupil size, and reaction time are all measured. Ophthalmic assistants also examine patients’ eyes for ailment or damage using diagnostic tools like slit lamp microscopes.
  • Attention to detail skills: When carrying out their duties, ophthalmic assistants must have the ability to pay attention to detail. Because of the potential impact, their job may have on a patient’s vision and general health. When conducting duties like measuring the patient’s eye for a correct lens prescription or giving injections into delicate parts of the body, attention to detail is especially crucial. Ophthalmic assistants can lessen the risk of complications during procedures by paying close attention to detail and making sure they are giving their patients the proper care and materials.
  • EHR knowledge: Ophthalmic assistants ought to be familiar with electronic medical records (EHRs). This is because they frequently collaborate with physicians who maintain patient data and monitor treatment progress using these systems. When a new patient arrives for treatment, ophthalmic assistants may also be in charge of entering the patient’s information into the computer system.
  • Organizational skills: Since ophthalmic assistants often see several patients every day, being organized is essential to completing all of your duties. It’s critical to have the ability to organize your workspace because you will also need to maintain track of patient papers and documentation.
  • Medical knowledge: Ophthalmic assistants should have a fundamental knowledge of anatomy and medical terminology. This can assist them in interpreting medical records and comprehending their patients’ treatment routines. They may be able to recognize potential risks and health difficulties with the use of medical knowledge.
  • Flexibility: Flexibility is essential in this profession because ophthalmic assistants need to be adaptable with their schedules and responsibilities. When the ophthalmologist they usually work with is absent, they could have to work alternate shifts or take time off. If a task takes longer than anticipated, they might also need to switch tasks. They can more easily adjust to unforeseen changes in their daily obligations by being flexible.
  • Empathy: Ophthalmic assistants commonly deal with patients who are in pain or discomfort. Empathy can help you better understand your patient’s needs and give them a more satisfying experience. Empathy can also be used to make patients more at ease when undergoing procedures.
  • Patience: When dealing with patients who have vision problems, ophthalmic assistants must have patience. This is because they could have to repeat the same information or lead the pupils through several time-consuming assessments. To give patients the greatest care, ophthalmic assistants must maintain their composure and perseverance when interacting with them.
  • Ophthalmic instruments: Ophthalmic assistants often use ophthalmic equipment to check and treat patients’ eyes. This includes using equipment that aids in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases, such as microscopes, syringes, forceps, and other tools. Being more proficient with these tools will make you a more useful assistant. Additionally, you might need to teach people how to put drops in their own eyes or administer medicine.


How to Become an Ophthalmic Assistant

Step 1. Obtain a degree

A high school diploma or GED is often necessary for ophthalmic assistants. A completed associate’s degree in ophthalmic technology is preferred by some employers. This degree can be earned in two years and it includes math, chemistry, microbiology, math, anatomy, and physiology courses.

Step 2. Obtain work experience

Employers provide on-the-job training to ophthalmic assistants. As part of this training, trainees often work under close supervision while shadowing an ophthalmologist or an ophthalmic technician until they are capable and confident enough to work alone. Given that an ophthalmic assistant position is entry-level, it presents a great career option for those with less experience who want to enter the ophthalmology profession. A lower degree of certification is necessary for the position of an assistant than for a technician. Ophthalmic assistants can potentially transition to the position of ophthalmic technician with more education and experience. If you want to gradually scale the ophthalmology support ladder, an ophthalmic assistantship is a good place to start.

Step 3. Obtain certifications

Even though they are not required, several states need ophthalmic assistants to have a certification to operate in the field. To demonstrate their competence to prospective employers and gain experience in the industry, candidates can undergo a certification program. The Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) certification is available and needs to be updated every three years. The COA certification includes both an exam and a training/education requirement.

Step 4. Apply for job

After completing the required education, gaining the required work experience, and earning your qualifications, you are now qualified to start a career as an ophthalmic assistant. Although you may be offered a permanent position by the employer who taught you or the one for whom you interned to obtain practical experience, you are now free to look for work as a fully qualified ophthalmic assistant elsewhere. Almost all job applications need to be accompanied by a Résumé. Make a professional Résumé that highlights your qualifications, skills, and employment history. Writing a cover letter to go with your resume is also a good idea. You can modify the letter to make it unique to each prospective employer. You can look for ophthalmic assistant positions in newspaper and trade magazine job advertisements as well as internet job markets. Making your job search known to your network of connections can also be a very effective route to finding employment in this field.


Where to Work as an Ophthalmic Assistant

Ophthalmic assistants work in ophthalmology offices and clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. They often work full-time, and some may work evenings or weekends as need be.


Ophthalmic Assistant Salary Scale

Ophthalmic assistants’ salary scales vary significantly depending on various factors such as the location of the workplace, level of education, years of experience, additional qualifications, skill set, the type and size of a healthcare facility, etc. The average Ophthalmic Assistant salary in the US is $51,130 per year. The salary range typically falls between $44,653 and $58,417 per year. The average ophthalmic assistant salary in the UK is £23,678 per year. The salary range typically falls from £21,054 to £28,000 per year.

The average ophthalmic assistant salary in Canada is $36,075 per year. The salary range typically falls from $30,469 to $55,244 per year. The average Ophthalmic Assistant salary in Nigeria is 3,564,300 NGN per year. The salary scale typically ranges from 1,645,600 NGN to 5,676,700 NGN per year.

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