Certified optometric assistants are tasked with assisting optometrists in performing many routine aspects of patient examination. They also help around the optometrist's office by checking in patients and collecting and inputting patient data into record-keeping software. Certified optometric assistants may be known as "paraoptometrists" in some areas, but the certification procedure is typically the same and the two jobs are quite similar.
Certified optometric assistants must facilitate the efficient handling of patients. This can include assisting them with understanding the information sought in the various forms they must fill out regarding their history and any current medical issues. They may also help office assistants or receptionists with entering patients' data into computers.
Once a patient is ready to be seen, these assistants typically assess them first and administer routine tests, such as checking for glaucoma and taking blood pressure. The assistant may also perform measurements, such as pupil size, and note any visible problems with the eyes for the optometrist. Finally, they may also perform routine vision tests to get a basic idea of the patient's current visual acuity. When the patient is seen by the optometrist, the assistant may help facilitate testing procedures or take notes to help determine the best way to correct any existing vision problems.
A certified optometric assistant must be a high school graduate and receive certification training through a vocational school program. This certification must then be kept up-to-date, typically with some form of ongoing education and training for new equipment over a span of a few years. Most optometric assistants work in an optometrist's office or other vision care center, normally during regular business hours of the week.
Certified Optometric Assistant Tasks
Fit and dispense glasses and contact lens for patients.
Take patient history and perform preliminary examination of patient.
Assist Optometrist with examinations and maintain patient charts.