Are you among the 4.3 billion people who wear some form of corrective lenses?1 If so, you may have already met an Ophthalmic Assistant and seen the important healthcare job they perform. But have you ever considered the profession for yourself? Find out the skills you would need and the responsibilities you might have:
· Fine attention to detail: All healthcare careers require excellent attention to detail, but when you’re dealing with the human eye, you’ll want to pay extra close attention to all you do. A poorly sanitized treatment area, a misread chart, an inaccurate patient order –could all lead to big problems for you and your patients.
· Science aptitude: Do you find the human body—and especially the eye—fascinating? As an ophthalmic assistant, you’ll need a basic understanding of all the systems within the body and how they function together. You’ll need to learn and understand medical terminology and quickly pick up new scientific information, skills and technologies.
· Good people skills: Every day, you’ll work with doctors, healthcare staff, patients and their families, so you need great interpersonal skills. From teaching patients how to wear and care for new eyewear to calming them through tests and procedures that may make them anxious, your ability to empathize will make you an invaluable member of the healthcare team.
· Excellent communication: Because you’ll work closely with ophthalmologists and patients from all walks of life, you may be called on to translate what the doctors say into something your patients can easily understand. You’ll need to explain treatments and procedures, but also listen closely to patients so you can help address their questions and concerns with the attending physician.
· Lifelong learner: If you have a curious mind, it’s good to know that a career as an ophthalmic assistant will keep you busy and always learning. Whether you’re discovering new technologies or just keeping up with the latest healthcare regulations, policies and procedures, you need to embrace knowledge with a passion.
· Patient intake: In addition to checking patients in and taking their ocular and medical histories, you’ll ask and answer preliminary questions so you can serve as a liaison to the doctor. You may also need to schedule visits and follow up treatment and procedures.
· Eye exams: You would take intraocular pressure measurements and conduct basic eye exams and pupil and autorefractor tests that help determine whether a patient has a refractive error that would require corrective lenses.
· Teach patients: Just like your dental hygienist teaches you about proper oral healthcare, if you were an ophthalmic assistant, you would teach your patients about the importance of proper eye care. In addition to advising them on regular eye exams, you would also show your patients how to properly care for their eye glasses or contact lenses.
· Physician assistance: Your most important role as an ophthalmic assistant would be to help the ophthalmologist as they examine and treat patients. The better your skillset, the more you know, and the more responsibilities you take on, the more you’ll become an indispensable part of an ophthalmologist’s practice. Are you up for the challenge?
If you find the human eye as fascinating as we do, check out our Ophthalmic Assistant Program at Career Quest Learning Centers. Give us a call now at 877-481-4930 or 877-365-8144 to learn more.