A certified ophthalmologist assistant (COA) provides professional medical and administrative help for eye physicians in a clinical setting. They perform tasks such as muscle testing, refractometry, vision exams, and recording eyeglass prescriptions for patients. Interacting with patients is essential for this position, as an ophthalmologist assistant places patients in the appropriate room and prepares him or her for the appointment. A COA is also expected to clean equipment, surgical instruments, and exam areas regularly to prepare the environment for each patient. Ophthalmologist assistants are called to execute diagnostic testing to examine clients that suffer from eye and vision abnormalities and injuries. In addition, the COA may also administer medicine to a patient and assist with the surgical process if needed.
Some of the clerical responsibilities of a COA include answering patient questions when the doctor is unavailable, screening telephone calls, ordering medical supplies, and scheduling patients accordingly for upcoming visits. Educating patients on their condition and appropriate medical treatments is a necessary duty. An ophthalmologist assistant must be able to accurately document patient records and fill out patient forms to make the clinical process run smoothly.
Professionals in this field typically work a standard, 40-hour week inside a hospital, clinic, or private office in collaboration with an ophthalmologist. To work in this field as a licensed professional, one must have at least a high school diploma and complete a program in ophthalmologic medical assisting at an accredited college or university. Many entry-level COAs receive on-site training, and experienced workers often become trainers to new COA’s. An individual who works as a COA should possess solid communication skills, stellar organizational abilities, computer literacy, and good vision and hearing to satisfactorily complete daily tasks.
Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) Tasks
- Coordinate patient care and influx of patients.
- Provide technical ophthalmic and administrative assistance.
- Take patient history and perform preliminary examination of patient.
- Assist ophthalmologist with office patient procedures.