In summary, an ophthalmic technician assists an ophthalmologist in various occupational settings such as the hospital emergency room or surgical room, ophthalmology clinics, and optical shops. The career of an ophthalmic technician is mainly focused on preparing the patient, the surgical area, the equipment, devices, or supplies needed. In addition, he or she may also be called upon to do initial patient assessment.
The Duties of an Ophthalmic Technician in the Hospital
When an ophthalmic technician chooses to pursue his or her career in a hospital, a bulk of his time would be spent on duties involving emergency and surgical ophthalmologic cases.
In instances when a patient in need of an ophthalmologist’s expertise is brought to the emergency room, the ophthalmic technician is expected to refer the case to the ophthalmologist on-call right away. While waiting for the physician to come, the technician has the responsibility to perform the initial patient assessment which includes but not limited to the following: gathering of pertinent personal data, history-taking, evaluation of vital signs, initial examination, and basic first aid to alleviate the patient’s status. Upon the consultant’s arrival, the ophthalmic technician relays to the doctor all the information gathered as well as the result of his or her initial patient assessment.
When major eye surgeries are needed to be performed, the ophthalmic technician is tasked to ensure that the operating room is readied for the procedure. He makes sure that the room is sterilized prior to surgery and that all the equipment, supplies, and devices needed for the operation are complete and fully functional. This includes tonometers, speculums, forceps, hemostats, irrigating vectis, retractors, lens expressor, prisms, retinoscopes, thermo cautery equipment, and other supply necessary materials or equipment that might be required in the process. Check also ophthalmic technician educational requirements and training.
In preparing the patient, it is his duty to check the vital signs, administer pre-operation drugs and eye drops, and disinfect the surgical site. In addition, the technician must have the initiative to reassure the patient about the procedure. During the procedure, the technician’s main task is to assist the ophthalmologist by handing over the needed instruments, retracting, holding the patient’s head in place, and adjusting the lighting if needed.
Post operation, the ophthalmic technician should clean and dress the orbital area affected or the eye operated on, administer the necessary medications, and bring the patient to the recovery room. He is also assigned to orient the patient regarding post operation instructions given by the ophthalmologist.
The Duties of an Ophthalmic Technician in the Eye Clinics and Optical Shops
While the technician deals with surgery-related tasks in the hospital setting, in the clinics the technician’s job is focused on patient assessment. In the clinics, the technician is also involved in data and history taking, but a bulk of his assignment involves initial evaluation of the patient.
In a clinical setup, the ophthalmic technician gets the vital signs and performs the following eye examinations: visual acuity through the Snellen or the Tumbling E chart, Ishihara’s Chart for color vision, tonometry, refraction testing, and visual field evaluation among others. After this, the technician refers the results to the ophthalmologist who shall perform the more specific examinations such as ophthalmoscopy. While the ophthalmologist examines the patient, the technician assists by making sure the patient is positioned properly, giving the necessary eye drops, and handing over the supplies needed by the doctor.