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SVCC Adds New Ophthalmic Assistant Program

January 2009
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(2009) Sauk Valley Community College is offering a new opthamalic assistant certificate program through the College’s Office of Personal and Professional Development.

This 50-hour program prepares students for entry-level positions in opthamalogy, a field of vision healthcare that specializes in the anatomy, function, and diseases of the eye. Ophthalmic assistants work with ophthalmologists to administer routine eye exams and provide patient education. They also work with patients to document medical histories, administer diagnostic tests, measure and record vision, test eye muscle function, provide contact lens education, give eye medications, maintain optical instruments, and perform office duties. Ophthalmic assistants may also handle pre- and post-operative exams for cataract surgery, and visual field exams for glaucoma or neurological patients.

Curriculum topics will include medical terminology, anatomy and physiology of the eye, pharmacology, microbiology, office administrative duties, insurance, preliminary examinations, understanding ophthalmic equipment, glasses and contact lenses, visual fields, ocular injuries and common eye/retinal disorders, asepsis technique and minor office surgery, Glaucoma, topical, eye prescriptions, visual acuity, lasers in ophthalmology, computerized corneal tonometry and refractive surgery, ophthalmology ethics, maintaining supplies, taking patients’ medical histories, teaching patients about procedures, maintaining, sterilizing, and setting up instruments for surgery, assisting doctors with surgery, patient monitoring, and applying medications.

This program does not include a clinical rotation or national or state certification. Once students complete the program, become employed in the field, and meet certain work requirements, they may challenge the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) – Ophthalmic Medical Assisting exam (under sponsorship of employer). Successful completion of this exam then qualifies students to take the written Ophthalmic Medical Assistants Certification Exam. This exam is offered by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) and leads to national certification.

For registration and cost information about Sauk’s new Opthamalic Assistant Program, call the Office of Personal and Professional Development, at 815/288-5511, ext. 212, or e-mail: