woman giving glaucoma exam

Scope of Ophthalmic Personnel

The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO) credentials set the profession's standards for ensuring the knowledge and competence of practicing Allied Ophthalmic Personnel (AOP) and are recognized as the most respected global credential for AOP.

The Eye Care Assistant program at College of DuPage will focus on JCAHPO credentials of the Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA).

As part of the allied health profession, Allied Ophthalmic Personnel (AOP) are one of the members of the professional team of eye care providers. Certified AOP perform assigned procedures under the direction or supervision of a physician licensed to practice medicine and surgery and qualified in ophthalmology. AOP are not independent practitioners and may not diagnose, teat eye disorders or prescribe medications. They can supply vital information to the physician, who is treating patients, and may assist in areas such as surgery, patient education and compliance.

Some of the most common tasks performed by AOP at all levels of certification include:

  • Taking patient histories
  • Maintaining instruments
  • Providing patient services
  • Taking eye measurements
  • Administering tests and evaluations
  • Performing a variety of clinical tasks

JCAHPO certifications and examinations include knowledge and performance of techniques in the administration of eye drops, ointments, and irrigating solutions to the eye, and knowledge about oral medications and non-invasive techniques. It is not within the scope of JCAHPO certification and examination to evaluate the performance of any injection technique or similar invasive procedure when needles, trocars, cannulas, or instillation devices are placed within and beneath tissue surfaces.

While certification is an important indication of your knowledge and skill, please remember that JCAHPO does not guarantee the job performance or express an opinion of the competence of individuals who have achieved certification.

The Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) is the entry level core designation designed to start eye care professionals on the path to success. The COA designation confirms an assistant's knowledge in 19 specific content areas.