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Ophthalmic Technicians are allied health professionals specializing in ocular health and vision care operating under the supervision of a licensed medical provider.
The Ophthalmic Technician program will prepare students to function as entry-level ophthalmic technicians in fixed and deployable medical facilities. This is a consolidated program with two military services that has a two phase, field of study schedule. Resident training is first conducted at the METC and then the student transitions to clinical training that is conducted at military and/or civilian medical treatment facilities (MTF).
Upon initial entry to METC, students are provided formal education and training that develops them into entry-level Ophthalmic Technicians/Eye Specialists within fixed and deployable medical facilities. Training includes tasks relating to ocular screening, diagnosis, and treatment to include optical devices and surgical interventions, patient education and interaction, basic clinical administration, care of instruments and equipment, and finally operating room protocol.
Subjects covered during training include anatomy and physiology, medical ethics, ocular pathology, pharmacology, optics, refractive surgery, vision and specialty testing, and aseptic techniques.
Methods of instruction include, but are not limited to: lecture, demonstration, online materials, simulations, laboratory practice, and practical exercises. Quality control and safety techniques are emphasized throughout the program.
Clinical training provides students with clinical knowledge and hands-on experiential training which consists of patient screening and specialty testing in a MTF optometry/ophthalmology clinic. The clinical phase provides experiential training that is designed to the advanced clinical application standards of ophthalmic techniques established by each service component and national accrediting body.
Instruction is given in the form of traditional classes, demonstrations, computer labs, and practical exercises. Optometry and Ophthalmology rotations build upon pre-clinical training to cover the handling of medications, visual field testing, emergency care, surgical procedures and proper use of ophthalmic equipment. Proficiency advancement in clinical applications is determined by the program director and clinical advisor/coordinator on a case-by-case basis. Following successful completion of the program students will be able to sit for the Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) International Joint Commission On Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (IJCAHPO) examination (Army students) or the Certified Paraoptometric Technician (CPOT) American Optometric Association (AOA) examination (Air Force students).
The METC Ophthalmic Technician Program is accredited as an Ophthalmic Non-Clinical Assistant Program by the International Council of Accreditation.
Air Force students attend the METC Ophthalmic Technician program to fulfill the requirements for 3-Skill level, Ophthalmic Apprentice as defined in the Career Field Education and Training Plan (CFETP). After graduation, Air Force students will report to their first duty station and must complete the Career Development Course (CDC) and appropriate core performance tasks to achieve 5 -Skill level, Ophthalmic Journeyman which may take up to 15 months (refer to AFI 36-2201). Students who complete the 3-level and 5-level courses earn credit toward an Associate Degree from the Community College of the Air Force.