Certified paraoptometric assistants (CPOAs) work with patients in an eye care center, optometrist’s office, or eye clinic. Under the supervision of an optometrist or eye care specialist, CPOAs perform technical duties such as measuring visual acuity, measuring the curvature of the cornea, performing glaucoma screening tests, testing blood pressure, and measuring the distance between the pupils of the eye. Additionally, CPOAs often take detailed patient histories and initial workups; these patient histories are later entered into the office's computer system, so the ability to use basic computer software is needed.
CPOAs are often responsible for cleaning and maintaining the delicate instruments and specialized equipment needed for eye exams. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are required, as CPOAs are frequently the first staff members to greet patients, take them to exam rooms, and perform initial interviews and preliminary exams. They also communicate regularly with their office's optometrists, ophthalmologists, and opticians.
To attain certification, CPOAs generally must take a specific course or have relevant work experience (often at least five years) to gain the knowledge necessary to pass the certification test. Other than certification, a high school diploma or equivalent and eye care experience are required. CPOAs work in an indoor office environment during their office's hours of operation; depending on the office or clinic, they may work some Saturdays. CPOAs can often find part-time work if they choose, as some offices hire multiple CPOAs to cover all the office hours.
Certified Paraoptometric Assistant (CPOA) Tasks
Assist Optometrist with examinations and maintain patient charts.
Take patient history and perform preliminary examination of patient.
Fit and dispense glasses and contact lens for patients.