Ophthalmic medical personnel, or Allied Ophthalmic Personnel (AOP) are part of the allied health profession, and members for the professional team of eye care providers. Certified AOP technicians and technologists perform assigned procedures and testing under the direction and supervision of a licensed ophthalmologist (eye doctor).
AOP technicians and technologists are not independent practitioners, and may not diagnose or teat eye disorders, nor prescribe medications. Instead, their role is to support the treating physician by collecting and supplying diagnostic and patient information, and may also assist in sugical procedures or patient education.
Some common tasks performed by AOP technicians or technologists include:
- taking patient history
- maintaining insturments
- taking eye measurements
- administering tests and evaluations
- providing patient services
- other clinical tasks
There are three levels of AOP:
- Ophthalmic Assistant (OA): the entry level AOP
- Ophthalmic Technician (OT): the intermediate level AOP
- Ophthalmic Medical Technologist (OMT): the advanced level AOP
Ophthalmic assistants perform the most basic of ophthalmic tasks, such as measuring vision, some basic intraocular pressure measurements, and may received some extra training by their employer to run some additional testing.
An ophthalmic technician will receive a foundation in a wide range of ophthalmic diagnostic techniques, ranging from more advanced intraocular pressure measurement, to different examination skills (eg corneal assessment, visual field testing, biometry, ocular motility, etc). A technologist is equipped with the skills needed to immediately integrate into whatever diagnostic role an eye clinic might require.
The ophthalmic technologist builds on the skills of a technician, learning more advanced techniques and skills, and begins to hone their critical thinking skills in the context of the ophthalmic practice. A more fundamental knowledge is developed, leading to a greater understanding of which tests are indicated, and why, for a given condition, and greater skills of diagnosis are honed.
The KOTC offers programs at the ophthalmic technician (OT), and ophthalmic medical technologist (OMT) levels.
Every year, KOTC admits two students in each of its Ophthalmic Technician and Ophthalmic Medical Technologist courses to train onsite in Kingston.
Each course begins in mid-August, and runs until late-June of the following year.
Each course consists of a theory component, and a practical component; regular didactic lectures prime students with relevant exposure to a topic, after which the students move on to a clinical setting to experience the topic in practice.
Our intensive clinical learning program (roughly 75% of the time) features one-on-one pairing with staff ophthalmic technicians, ophthalmic medical technologists, orthoptists, and ophthalmologists.
The practical component of the program consists of roughly 75% of a student’s time. This effectively makes the program not only a course, but also a placement.
We are based in the department of ophthalmology of the Kingston Health Sciences Centre, Hotel Dieu Site, with affiliation to the Queen’s University School of Medicine. Our department is the main ophthalmic centre for the South East Ontario LHIN, servicing a vast catchment area between Toronto and Ottawa. Our site also houses one of the largest retina practices in the country.
We have also launched a distance learning program with partner clinics like the Kensington Eye Institute in Toronto, Ontario. Contact us to see if there is a partner clinic located near you.
Yes, both programs are accredited by the International Council on Accreditation (ICA) for Allied Ophthalmic Education Programs. (http://www.icaccreditation.org/)
While we cannot guarantee employment, graduates of our program have had 100% employment within two months of graduation.
Anecdotally, we gather that there are many jobs available for graduates who are willing to move for work. But as there are many influences on job prospects, it is impossible to predict where the jobs will be year-to-year.
The KOTC routinely receives calls from potential employers looking for graduates, and we continue to liaise with students, graduates, and employers.
Unfortunately, the Kingston Ophthalmic Training Centre does not qualify you for OSAP support. To be eligible for OSAP support the educational program must be delivered by a recognized teaching institution.
Despite being an accredited program, the KOTC is a hospital based program rather than a school-based one, and so does not qualify for this support.
Enrollment into the technician program is by competitive application. Applications will be available to download each spring for the class starting in the summer. A completed application shall include the following:
- Completed and signed application
- Copy of educational transcripts (originals are not required)
From all completed applications received by the posted deadline the selection committee will produce a list of candidates who will be offered interviews. Positions into the program will be offered to the selected candidates from the interview pool.
Important application dates:
- Accepting applications until 31 March 2023.
- Interviews take place April/May 2023, with classes beginning on September 4, 2023.
The Kingston Ophthalmic Training Centre’s diploma programs provide students with the theoretical knowledge, practical skills and experience needed to work competently, effectively and safely as an ophthalmic technician or ophthalmic medical technologist.
We are based in the Queen’s Department of Ophthalmology at Kingston Health Sciences Centre in Kingston, Ontario. We offer a unique ophthalmic training experience, consisting of an Ophthalmic Technician diploma program, followed by the option to complete an Ophthalmic Medical Technologist diploma program.
Students will study content areas specific to allied ophthalmic medical personnel, but will also attend the Queen’s ophthalmology residency lectures and the Department of Ophthalmology grand rounds to help round out their didactic education.
Being based in a busy hospital eye clinic, our programs feature an unparalleled hands-on clinical experience. This unique learning environment consists of supervised time seeing patients in a variety of sub-specialty clinics and ophthalmic diagnostic areas. Graduates will possess the knowledge and applicable skills required to enter the workforce as proficient members of the eye care team.
The Kingston Ophthalmic Training Centre is a member of the International Council of Accreditation and is approved by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology. Graduates of our program are eligible to write JCAHPO’s Ophthalmic Technician and Ophthalmic Medical Technologist certification exams.