Philadelphia Regional Ophthalmic Society
An educational network open to anyone working in eye care related fields


About Us

Membership Information

Administrator's Update

Job Opportunities

Special Opportunities for Members


Message from the President

PROS Officers

Website developed by
Sean Patrick Murphy



 Items of Interest

JCAHPO changed its name to the International Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (IJCAHPO) and transitioned from a commission to a council of representatives in June 2017. IJCAHPO’s new mission is to “promote global equitable comprehensive eye health through program accreditation and the education, certification, and support of Allied Ophthalmic Personnel (AOP) for the eye care team.” IJCAHPO has expanded to bring certification and education to the global Allied Ophthalmic Personnel (AOP) workforce.

The format of our meetings has changed, in order to increase attendance. We will have 10 hours of credit at the annual conference and 4 hours of credit at our fall brunch meeting and our spring brunch meeting.

Ophthalmic Organizations Unite
to Meet the Challenges
of Tech Shortages

Amy Jost, BS, COMT, CCRC, OSC/ATPO President-Elect|
and Career Development Task Force Chair

ATPO and JCAHPO have partnered with ASCRS to form the Career Development Task Force.  This group of ophthalmic professionals is focused on increasing awareness of careers as Allied Ophthalmic Personnel, recruiting more individuals into the field of ophthalmology, and providing adequate training and examination preparation to technicians and staff new to the field.

Increasing an Awareness of AOP Careers

To increase awareness, the Career Development Task Force has created recruitment packages that include brochures, posters, flyers, and suggested marketing tools for practice waiting rooms and websites. To measure the effectiveness of this approach, JCAHPO and ATPO are collaborating with the state professional societies of Florida, Minnesota, and Utah, in a pilot program. The recruitment packets are available now.
To order yours, contact JCAHPO, attention Tim Chase at 1-800-284-3937 x224 or

JCAHPO is also undergoing a pilot program targeting medical assisting schools in the state of Illinois. Twenty schools are being asked to provide their students with information about  careers in ophthalmology as Allied Ophthalmic Personnel. Ideally, this invitation will expand to all medical schools in the future. Medical assistants are already in the mindset for assisting physicians and patients. As such, they can transition into becoming great ophthalmic technicians, surgery schedulers, etc. with the right training environment.

Creating Excellent Trainers in Your Practice

A "Train the Trainer" subcommittee exists to provide practices with an organized strategy to help create and implement effective ophthalmic specific training methods. As the need for AOP increases, practices are turning to hiring inexperienced AOP and training them. This daunting task is being met with valuable assistance from the committee. The session titled, "Train the Trainer: Develop Training Strategies that Work," was presented at the ASCRS meeting in New Orleans, May 2016  by a team of experienced ophthalmic trainers. The session was met with a great deal of interest and lots of positive feedback.  It will be back by popular demand at the ATPO meeting in Chicago, Ill. on Friday, October 14, 2016. To register, go to An online resource library for trainers is also being created and will be available soon. 

For more information about the Career Development Task Force, "Train the Trainer" subcommittee, and other AOP development initiatives, feel free to contact me at

Risk Management Issues with EHR Efficiency Tools
Kathleen Santa Maria

Many of the software programs used for electronic records include time saving features such as “copy forward,” bringing the last note to the current visit, prewritten “standard” procedure notes and prepopulated text when a box is checked. While these tools save time in a busy patient day, they should be used with care. Records that have identical entries can raise the question of whether the care was actually performed.

When copying and pasting information, always review and make changes based on the patient's comments today. Only copy and paste information relevant to today’s visit. Problems from a previous visit that are resolved should not be in the chief complaint of the next visit.
Standard procedure notes should be reviewed to ensure any deviations from the norm are included. 
Never copy from another patient. 
If review of systems has an “all normal" option, be sure to change the relevant items to abnormal. Failure to accurately document problems could be an issue in defending a malpractice claim.
Changing a record after it is finalized can be a problem. The physician can be accused of making changes to cover up a problem. Remember most changes are date and time stamped. 
Patients often receive copies of the record as they leave the office and then changes are made prior to finalizing the document. Multiple versions of the same document can create an issue in a malpractice case. If significant changes are made the patient should be sent a revised note.

In addition to the issues created in defending malpractice claims, Medicare is also auditing for cloning of records as potential fraud. The work value and payment is based on performing the elements of the history and examination. They have developed software that can identify blocks of identical text in patient records. On audit they can deny the claim, requiring refund of payments and possible fines. Review the chart note that prints out and is sent for an audit to make sure all the relevant documentation is included. Down coding can occur based on missing exam or history elements that don’t appear in the printed chart note even though they are documented in the record.

Volunteers Needed for Blind Sports Organization (BSO)
BSO programs are open to blind or visually impaired ages 7 and up who can follow directions, be fairly independent and handle some strenuous physical activity.
Can you help with coaching, fund raising, tandem bike piloting, youth activities, softball pitching or catching?
Contact or call 302-836-5784

Did You Know?
Submitted by William S.Giles, COA

Rising medical care costs are a major concern to the general public as well as government leaders. While patients are very concerned about the cost of their care, they also demand the latest and most extensive diagnostic and therapeutic modalities. Decreasing reimbursements from third-party payers and managed care combined with escalating expectations and demands from patients have begun to put increasing pressure on medical care delivery systems and personnel. The principle challenge for the healthcare delivery system is the delivery of technically high-quality care that is provided at the lowest possible cost.

Did You Know?
Submitted by Gina Biagi

Your eyes are the most complex organs you possess except your brain? That's right. In fact, your eyes are composed of more than two million working parts and can process 36,000 bits of information every hour.
Here are some more facts about your amazing eyes:
• The external muscles that move the eyes are the strongest muscles in the human body for the job that they do. They are 100 times more powerful than they need to be.
• Your eyelids and the external muscles of your eyes need rest and the lubrication of your eyes requires replenishment, but your eyes themselves never need rest.
• Your eyes will focus on about 50 things per second. 
• The eye of a human can distinguish 500 shades of gray.
• The cornea of the eye is one of the only living tissues in the human body that does not contain any blood vessels.
• Your eyelashes have an average life span of five months and the entire length of all the eyelashes shed by a human in a lifetime is over 98 feet.
• It is almost impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
• The reason your nose runs when you cry is because the tears from the eyes drain into the nose.
• About half of your brain is involved in the seeing process.
• The eye cannot be transplanted because it is connected to the brain by the optic nerve, which cannot be reconnected once it has been severed. The cornea can be transplanted.
• Your eyes contribute towards about 85% of your total knowledge.


This is an eleven-month, three-semester program running September through August.

Fall Semester: Classes are all day Friday, and half a day Saturday.

Spring Semester: Classes are all day Friday, clinical rotations begin.

Summer Semester: No classes. Final clinic rotation.

Eligible for JCAHPO Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT) exam upon program completion.

Class will be held at the Blackwood Campus that is off Route 42, the North-South Freeway about 10 minutes from the Walt Whitman Bridge.

For more information contact:
Dan Banks, Director of Ophthalmic Science
(856) 374-5058


Jessica Barr, COMT, ROUB

E-Learning for eye care professionals made quick and easy.
* Earn JCAHPO, ASORN, OPS, COE, and AOC Credits
* Take Online Quizzes and Tests
* Track Earned CE Credits
Get in on the ACTION at:

Tips for Taking Fundus Photos
By Julia Monsonego

1) Communicate with your patient!
The more direction you give them, the less confused they’ll be, and the more cooperative they’ll be for you.

2) If you see something of interest - photograph it! Document everything!
Make sure to photograph the ENTIRE lesion/hemorrhage. Find the edge.

3) Let your patients know that they can blink as needed, BUT to open eyes wide between blinks. If you don’t tell them they can blink, they will try not to. This will cause stress on the patient, strain, squinting, tearing, and poor image quality. Let your patients blink!

4) Use the fixation pointer if the patient has a difficult time seeing the fixation light. However, if the patient is cooperative, since the pointer may distract from the photograph, pull it out of the lens at the last moment before clicking the shutter.

5) For light sensitive patients, turn the viewing light down low. Try to line up the eye as best you can peeking through their squinted eyes. You should be able to line up their vessels, find their optic nerve, etc. Try to obtain the best focus possible like this. Once you have everything lined up, have the patient blink, and then lift their lid with a Q Tip and shoot. You may need to make a few adjustments, but you’ll definitely get a better photo than if you held their eye up through the entire process.

6) When taking stereo optic nerve photographs, focus the first image on the rim of the optic nerve head and the second image on the cup. This will give the pair a much more appreciative three dimensional view.

7) When shooting images for a montage, photograph the fields in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction beginning always with the posterior pole. This will help you to make sure you have obtained all necessary fields and the order helps the computer software match up the images more accurately.

8) If you’re having a difficult time getting a clear view of the eye, pull the camera back a bit and set the focus lens on A. This will give you a view of the opacity and how to get around it to obtain a clearer fundus image. And while you’re at it, take a photograph of the opacity. Document everything!

Get Certified!

OIG Study: Ophthalmology Has Prevalence of Unqualified Staff

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently released a study of services billed as “incident to” a physician (services that are billed by physicians but are performed by non-physicians). The study finds 37 percent of ophthalmic services, including eye exams, diagnostic imaging, photos and ophthalmoscopy, are performed by “unqualified” non-physician staff. The OIG defines qualified staff as personnel that have the training, certifications and licenses required by state law/regulation and/or Medicare. However, Medicare rules do not require licensure or certification to bill for “incident to” services, and no states have licensure or certification requirements for ophthalmic technicians.

While Medicare rules do not require certification in an ophthalmology office at this time, there is precedent for them to require certification in order to be paid by Medicare. Independent Diagnostic Testing Centers must use certified personnel to qualify for Medicare reimbursement. Vascular laboratories are required to use certified technicians.

JCAHPO certification provides validation of your qualifications to perform ophthalmic services. Be proactive. Get certified now. In addition to three levels of general certification, there are also specialty certifications in Ultrasound, Ascan, and Surgical Assisting. Go to for information about getting certified.

The Eyes Have It
An interactive educational website designed for medical students but the videos are excellent basic training for new ophthalmic assistants. The quiz mode is an excellent way to test your knowledge in preparation for the certification exam or for your own benefit. Some of the information may not be relevant for technicians.


The Glaucoma Service Foundation to Prevent Blindness at Wills Eye Hospital offers a glaucoma patient support group, which meets monthly from September through May on Sunday afternoons in the Wills Eye Hospital auditorium.

The foundation's newsletter, Searchlight on Glaucoma, is published three times a year, and mailed to approximately 20,000 glaucoma patients and their families. All issues are archived on its website (Glaucoma Service Foundation at Wills Eye Hospital). Subscriptions to the Searchlight on Glaucoma newsletter is free.

Every Wednesday night, from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm a Wills Eye Hospital glaucoma specialist hosts an online Question & Answer session on scheduled topics. Edited transcripts of these sessions are available on the website.

For information on glaucoma and macular degeneration,
please visit the following two links:

National Glaucoma Research

Macular Degeneration Research


Online Portal for Ophthalmic Technicians

Wills Eye Hospital® Annual Alumni Conference Technicians' Program

American Academy of Ophthalmology

Glaucoma Service Foundation at Wills Eye Hospital

American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery and American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators

The National Eye Institute

Macular Degeneration Foundation

American Printing House for the Blind

The Glaucoma Foundation

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
(formerly Healthcare Finance Administration - HCFA)


American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators

Find PROS on Facebook here

Associated Services for the Blind

Our thanks to Diane Brash of the Associated Services for the Blind.  Diane has provided us with resources to assist our visually impaired patients:

Associated Services for the Blind
919 Walnut St
215-627-0600 ext 3254

Library for the Blind, GED programs: 

PA Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services:

PA Association for the Blind:
Bucks County: 215-968-4731
Chester County: 610-384-2767
Delaware County: 610-874-1476
Montgomery County: 215-661-9800

The PA Association for Blind Athletes needs volunteers to assist visually impaired participants. Visit their website for more information: