Vision Care Technology
Vision care assistants, aides or optical technicians are unlicensed entry-level personnel who support licensed ophthalmology professionals. They work under the direct supervision of licensed healthcare professionals who practice in ophthalmic specialties (ophthalmic dispenser or “optician”, optometrist, ophthalmologist). In the practice of eye care, unlicensed personnel such as vision care assistants or aides, can perform tasks that are not limited to any licensed profession or are exempt under section 7125 of Education Law. They may perform tasks such as: color vision testing, measurement of vital signs, preparing patients as well as examining rooms and equipment, setting up and operating a generator, polisher, edger and hardener to fabricate lenses, and lensometry to the extent that these tasks do not require the exercise of professional judgment or skill. vision care assistants or aides may also perform administrative and reception duties, assist clients with eyeglass frame selection, place orders and provide minor frame repair and adjustments, teach clients proper care of lenses, and safely and appropriately use lab equipment. Activities that fall within the scope of ophthalmic dispensing, optometry, medicine, or another licensed profession may not be delegated to an unlicensed person.
Vision care assistants or aides may be employed in ophthalmic offices, optical stores, hospitals, schools, and manufacturing companies.
Vision Care Technology Program of Study
Vision care technology programs of study deliver a curriculum which provides students with knowledge and skills related to the field of vision care. Program components may include producing prescription eyewear: spotting and dotting, blocking and decentering, digital edging, and inspecting the finished product. A vision care program may also include: reception and clerical tasks, infection control, vision care terminology, patient communication, principles of eye anatomy, and common eye disorders and treatment. The didactic learning combined with supervised clinical experience (see below) comprises a program of study.
A vision care technology program prepares students for further employment-based educational opportunities or post-secondary degree programs leading toward licensure in vision technology.
Supervised Clinical Experience
- Affiliation agreement(s) must be established (a written contract with each partnering healthcare facility).
- Students may enter a clinical setting only after receiving prior program instruction and demonstrating skill and knowledge, under supervision by the school’s program instructor.
- Approximately 2/3 or 72 hours of the required 108 hours (1 unit) of clinical experience must be conducted in a work setting as defined by the program of study.
- Scopes of practice under various state licensures must be considered when developing hands-on activities in implementation of health sciences programs.