Marian University pre-med students now working at IEC are (l-r) Luke Elsener, Baylen Shoemaker, Annie Getzin and Madelyn Lindsay.

Four pre-med students from Marian University have begun working at Indiana Eye Clinic to fill a gap for ophthalmic assistants and technicians. This innovative solution came about with the help of our Ambulatory Surgical Center Director, Nathan Gehlhausen, who went to Marian and reached out to his alma mater when the challenge presented itself.

While attending the recent American Academy of Ophthalmology national conference, the IEC leadership team was presented with the problem of all of the Indiana schools for ophthalmic assistants and technicians closing their doors. These had helped produce a fresh stream of young, talented people to fill these positions, who perform may technical tasks that allow our veteran eye surgeons to focus on conducting procedures and delivering the best vision care possible.

Other solutions have been floating around the industry, including creating training programs to transition healthcare workers from other fields into these roles. But the IEC had a better idea: hire aspiring medical students during their first or second year of college. These are some of the brightest, most dedicated students out there, and they often are expected to work for free in healthcare just to have something to put on their medical school application.

This way, students can get hands-on experience while earning money to help pay for their expensive education to become physicians. We’re hoping some of them will eventually choose a specialty in ophthalmology are the great experience they have at IEC. In return, the clinic obtains critical support staff to assist us in our mission.

After meeting with the Marian Director of Career Development and the Sponsor for the Pre-Med program, Indiana Eye Clinic presented its opportunity to students, and were rewarded with a quick and positive response. Four of them — Luke Elsener, Baylen Shoemaker, Annie Getzin and Madelyn Lindsay — were interviewed and offered positions. They were thrilled about the chance to have a part-time job while pursuing their education. The Sponsor for the Pre-Med program also allowed them to receive credits towards graduating from this opportunity.

All four of our pre-med students/assistants are progressing quickly and are on track to become Certified Ophthalmic Assistants (CAO). Sometimes thinking out of the box can deliver a win-win for everybody!

Job Summary :  We are looking for a Medical Assistant to train in the Eye Care field.  This person will work closely with an Ophthalmologist or Optometrist, gathering patient information necessary to complete a diagnosis.  Medical Assistants often see the patient before the doctor, and they are often responsible for preparing the patient for the exam and beginning the examination with standard tests and measurements.  Career Training Path available for motivated individuals to become Certified Ophthalmic Assistants and Technicians.

Qualifications :

  • Ability to work as a team member
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Stability, maturity, and dependability
  • Well organized and attention to detail
  • Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously
  • High School Graduate, Vocational school, optical or medical experience

Essential Duties and Responsibilities :

  • Gathering medical records and patient information
  • Taking ocular measurements, both anatomical and functional
  • Administering or preparing medications under supervision of a physician
  • Providing eye care and contact lens information to the patients
  • Maintaining and cleaning ophthalmic instruments
  • Assisting the ophthalmologist in basic procedures
  • Patient work up and auxiliary testing
  • VF, OCT, fundus photography, refracting, slit lamp, auto refractor
  • Scribing with physicians

Job Type: Full-time

Required licenses or certifications: MA


This individual is responsible for performing an extensive number of data collection functions, as delegated by the physician, to allow for proper professional diagnosis of patients’ conditions.


  • High school diploma; some college preferred.
  • Two to five years experience as an ophthalmic assistant or optician.
  • Valid CPR certification preferred.


  • Demonstrated, advanced comprehension of the ophthalmic assistant skills as outlined by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO).
  • Basic understanding of optics and refractometry.
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Empathetic personality with concern for patients’ needs.
  • Strong organization with attention to detail.
  • Ability to work as a team member.
  • Demonstrated comprehension of the principles of optics, refraction, and contact lenses.
  • Demonstrated ability to perform comprehensive work ups on three patients per hour.
  • Demonstrated computer literacy.


  1. Communication and Patient Care
    • Acquaints all new patients with office procedures to which they will be exposed.
    • Informs patients of the purpose of all tests personally performed, and how the patient will be affected during the tests.
    • Obtains patient history to include chief complaint, history of present illness, past history (ocular and general), family history (ocular and general), and history of allergies and medications.
    • Performs accurate and consistent documentation and measurement tasks to include:
      • Visual acuity
      • Manual lensometry
      • Confrontational visual fields
      • Stereo testing
      • Evaluation of motility
      • Pupillary function tests
      • Color plates
      • Applanation tonometry
      • Refractometry
      • Angle assessment
      • Dilation of pupils
      • Contact lens evaluations
      • Visual field testing
      • Optic nerve scanning (i.e. OCT, HRT)
      • Pachymetry
      • Corneal topography
      • Other tasks specific to the physician’s needs as a result of new technologies
    • Provides back-up to the ophthalmic photographer regarding fundus, exterior and anterior segment photographs.
    • Performs duties consistent with ophthalmic writer/scribe.
    • Assists physician with laser procedures.
    • Assists physician with minor surgery, maintaining practice standards of sterile technique and infection control.
  1. Triage
    • Determines which patient should be taken next from the waiting room to have testing initiated.
    • Escorts all patients from the waiting room for data collection.
    • Advises patients as to who will see them following testing and makes patients comfortable during wait.
    • Maintains a smooth flow of patients to the physician, altering the test sequence as required.
    • Provides telephone support regarding ocular emergencies, prescription refills, and patient care questions.
    • Communicates with reception to facilitate proper patient flow.
  1. Instrument Maintenance
    • Troubleshoots instruments as necessary.
    • Replaces bulbs.
    • Checks connections.
    • Performs archiving functions according to manufacturer recommendations.
    • Reports continued difficulty to Clinical Director.
  1. Administrative
    • Seeks advice from more senior staff as necessary, never performing beyond capabilities.
    • Maintains cleanliness in exam and procedure rooms.
    • Maintains back up levels of stock in exam and procedure rooms.
    • Performs other duties as required.