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Ophthalmic Technician

Trish Dooley

Tell us about your work--what do you do? I measure patient's vision . Eye exams help determine whether patients need corrective lenses or new prescriptions for their glasses . What skills are needed? Some mathematical ability ; you may need to work algebraic equations. You should also enjoy working closely with people, and it helps to have patience . Patients really need for you to explain procedures thoroughly. What was your major? Associates Degree in Optometry How did you get started in your career? This is a second career for me. Prior to this job, I worked as an electrician, but I didn't find it rewarding because I had little contact with people. I first applied for a local nursing program, but it was full. I then decided to pursue a career in ophthalmology because I knew I wanted to help people, and I had an interest in the medical field. What experience do you need in this job? Ophthalmic assistants are in high demand right now. Most offices are hiring workers without any experience, but to be permitted to perform the more technical aspects of the job need to have an associates degree. Describe your "typical" workday: My work day is fairly routine and I like that. However, variety does come into play because each patient is a different person. About half my time is spent with patients who are scheduled for annual eye exams. The exam involves using the phoropter to test their vision . The other half of my day is spent checking patients' eyes after cataract surgery . We see a lot of elderly people, but that's not the case in every optometrist's office. For instance, you might work in a lab or office that specializes in children. Also, I'm on my feet most of the day. What is the hardest aspect of your job? The continual need to learn new skills. For example, there's different equipment I need to learn to use, such as a new instrument that measures the cornea for cataract implants. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? Knowing that I'm improving the quality of patients' lives by helping them see better. I love my job! What are your suggestions for someone considering this field? I recommend that you talk to someone who is in this job and find out what they do. If possible, visit their lab or office and see what's involved first-hand. Before accepting a position, it's also a good idea to find out what the doctor's management style is like. The optometrist really sets the tone for the work atmosphere , and you'll perform your job better if you feel comfortable.