Optometric Assistants

The mission of CAO member optometrists is to enhance the quality, availability & accessibility of vision-related health care; promote independent & ethical decision-making; and practice to the highest standards of patient care.

Optometric Assistants (OA’s) assist the optometrist in the delivery of eye health care services. In a typical optometric setting, an OA will see a vast array of patients from all walks of life; infants, children, men, women, seniors, able-bodied and disabled. The OA must be able to respond effectively to each patient’s needs, and to deliver care in a professional, efficient manner. The OA will have exceptional interpersonal, communication and time management skills.

While working under the supervision of a licensed optometrist, an OA has a vast array of responsibilities that may include the following:

  • Office administration and patient reception
  • Scheduling appointments and referrals
  • Patient instruction for contact lens insertion, removal and hygiene
  • Conducting preliminary vision tests prior to the eye health examination
  • Neutralization, repair, and adjustment of eyeglasses
  • Assisting with orthoptics and other vision therapies for children and adults
  • Assist the optometrist with examination procedures
  • Train Low Vision patients for devices and appliances
  • Manage effective recall systems
  • Provide patients with ophthalmic frame and lens recommendations
  • Communicate with vendors
  • Maintain proper records and ensure patient privacy

Optometric Assistant Course

An investment in staff training translates to a higher level of care for patients as well as increased skills confidence, retention, and job satisfaction for the optometric assistant.
The Optometric Assistant Course (OA Course) is a CAO member benefit. The OA Course registrant must remain employed, be supervised and mentored by a CAO member optometrist. The majority of the training and practical skills development will occur in the clinic setting.

There are two educational options for OA Course registration:

1. The annual Full Course program provides comprehensive training for the Canadian Certified Optometric Assistant (CCOA) designation. The course term is Oct – June, with registration Aug 15 -Sept 15th. Registrants of the Full Course program will complete;

  • 4 Modules with assignments
  • demonstrate and master practical skills, by completing the Required Skills Checklist
  • attend a regional OA Course Workshop for review of critical OA Course module concepts
  • write the Final Examination

2. The Individual Module program is geared toward registrants who wish to register for one module of the course at any time of the year. A ‘Certificate of Completion’ is issued to successful Individual Module registrants. Registrants of the Individual Module program will complete;

  • One module with assignment
  • demonstrate and master practical skills, by completing the Required Skills Checklist

Visit Module Synopsis and Course Overview for additional information.