Surgical Ophthalmic Technician

Provide backup during eye surgeries.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$26,000 – $65,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Surgical Ophthalmic Technicians do?

Sight allows people to read, drive, select matching clothes, and avoid squashing snails underfoot. Cataracts, corneal scratches, and blocked tear ducts may make it difficult to accomplish these tasks. When people need surgery to correct their eye problems, an Ophthalmologist performs the procedure, and the Surgical Ophthalmic Technician assists.

Eye surgeries can be painful without proper preparation. If you’re a Surgical Ophthalmic Technician, you apply a series of eye drops on the patient’s eye before the surgery begins in order to prevent pain. Sometimes, you also clean and disinfect the area around the eye so no bacteria can enter the incisions. Patients can be nervous and snappy, but your warm and kind demeanor helps put them at ease.

When the patient is ready, you prepare the surgery room, making sure it’s sterile and the tools the Ophthalmologist needs are in place. When the patient is asleep and wheeled into the surgery room, you stand at the ready. The Ophthalmologist tells you what tools are needed, and you hand those tools over.

After the surgery, you clean all the tools that were used, and prepare them for the next surgery. You also disinfect the room. After your cleaning is done, you visit the patient and apply more eye drops.

Keeping the Ophthalmologist equipped with tools, medications, and other supplies is your responsibility as the Surgical Ophthalmic Technician, so you keep a grocery list handy and place orders when quantities are low.

On most days, you perform many surgeries in a row. Standing on your feet all day and working hard can be tiring, but reminding yourself that you’re restoring sight to your patients helps you stay motivated.


Should I be a Surgical Ophthalmic Technician?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • How to Become a
    Surgical Ophthalmic Technician

    We recommend at least an Associate's degree. Check out these schools offering Surgical Ophthalmic Technician-related education!
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