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How to Get Started in Ophthalmic Imaging: Part 2

Posted By Sarah Moyer, Friday, June 29, 2012
Updated: Friday, June 29, 2012

Now that you have read about the steps I recommend in How To Get Started in Ophthalmic Imaging: Part 1, I encourage you to read this second section to learn more about some organizations and resources that are important to know about in the field of Ophthalmic Imaging.  This list is by no means complete, but will give you a good place to start while you are trying to break into this field.  For those with experience in the field, please add any information in the comments.


(UNC Student, Alexa Waters, checking out ActionEd)


Bachelor of Science Degree

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)

Rochester, NY

RIT offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Photographic Communications.  Toward the end of this 4 year program, students can decide to concentrate in ophthalmic photography.  An internship is a requirement for graduation and many students complete internships in ophthalmology.  About half of the students graduating each year join the ophthalmic imaging community.  To my knowledge this is the only 4 year program that has courses on ophthalmic imaging in the country. 


Resources for Educational Programs

Ophthalmic Photographers’ Society (OPS):

The OPS is a non-profit organization that is run by Ophthalmic Imagers.  Each year the OPS holds two national educational programs that educate attendees on fundus photography, fluoresecin angiography, Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), anatomy, physiology, and pathology.  Additional topics that are relevant to our field are also covered.  The OPS also provides two different certifications:  the Certified Retinal Angiographer (CRA) and the OCT-Certified (OCT-C).  Local chapters of the OPS also offer educational opportunities at smaller meetings.


JMC Eye Photo

John Michael Coppinger has been teaching students through JMC Eye Photo for close to 30 years.  Several times a year, workshops are offered across the country.  Current workshops teach OCT, ultrasound and fundus photography.  


Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO)

JCAHPO is a non-profit organization for ophthalmic allied health personnel.  They offer certification and continuing education for ophthalmic technicians.  In many offices, technicians also perform ophthalmic imaging.


Online Education Sites


ACTIONed is a resource for online ophthalmic education.  Several ophthalmic organizations are collaborating to provide this online educational service for ophthalmic professionals.  The organizations involved are:  JCAHPO, ATPO, ASORN, CSOMP, OPS, and ASOA



Eyetec provides online education designed to help prepare students for certification.  There is also a job search function available on this site.



I recommend getting your hands on either of the Photography texts below to get started with fundus photography.    

Ophthalmic Photography: Retinal Photography, Angiography, and Electronic Imaging

Patrick J. Saine and Marshall E. Tyler (2002)

Butterworth-Heinemann Medical; ISBN: 0750673729


After you’ve read about OCT Imaging on the OPS website (here’s the link:, you should dive into a book.  This one below was written by the OCT inventors and is highly recommended.

Everyday OCT:  Handbook for Clinicians and Technicians

Joel S. Schuman, Carmen A. Puliafito, and James G. Fujimoto (2006)

Slack Incorporated:  ISBN:  1556427816


For additional online and book resources check out the reference pages for the OPS Certifications.  If students use these resources to study for their certifications, they are likely to be good ones to learn from as well! 

CRA Reference page:               

OCT-C Reference page:           


Technician Programs

There are many technician programs across the country.  I am just listing a few as a sample of what is available.  Many of these courses will discuss Ophthalmic Imaging a little bit, but their main focus is to prepare you to be a Technician.

Henry Ford Community College

Dearborn, Michigan

This is a 2 year associate’s degree to become an Ophthalmic Technician.  While many technicians also perform imaging tests, they spend a lot of time with responsibilities other than imagining.  The two credit hour Ophthalmic Photography course will be an introduction to imaging procedures for external and internal ocular structures, including slit lamp and fundus photography, fluorescein angiography, optical coherence tomography, and other relevant imaging techniques.


Old Dominion University/ Eastern Virginia Medical School

Norfolk, Virginia

The School of Health Professions offers a 22-month program in Ophthalmic Technology.  The credits are also able to be used for a Bachelor of Science degree.  At the end of the program, students are prepared to sit for JCAHPO’s Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist (COMT). 


Triton College

River Grove, IL

This is an associate’s degree in Applied Science.  Five semesters of courses that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Ophthalmic Programs are offered. 




Sarah Moyer joined UNC's staff as the Director of Ophthalmic Imaging in 2006. Prior to working at UNC, Sarah worked as an Ophthalmic Photographer at Columbia University in New York City and earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Biomedical Photographic Communications at the Rochester Institute of Technology. In 2007, Sarah was elected to the Board of Education for the Ophthalmic Photographers' Society.In 2011, Sarah was appointed co-chair of the PDC.

Tags:  ACTIONed  blog  Books  education  Meaningful Use  New Life  PDC  Professional Development Committee  Study 

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Comments on this post...

Timothy J. Bennett CRA OCT-C says...
Posted Friday, June 29, 2012
Nice post Sarah! This will be a great resource for those of us that get questions all the time about how/where to get started in this field. Great job!
Permalink to this Comment }

Sarah M. Armstrong, CRA, OCT-C, FOPS says...
Posted Friday, June 29, 2012
Thanks Tim. That was exactly the idea for this two part series! As our field is so unique, it can be difficult to figure out the best way to get started. I wanted to have a resource for Barb and other photographers to point people interested to so they have some basic knowledge. If you (or anyone else) have any other suggestions for them, please post them in the comments!
Permalink to this Comment }

Tom Reeves CRA COT says...
Posted Monday, July 23, 2012
Great two part article, Sarah! I recently graduated from a technician program and just got hired as an ophthalmic photographer, so I can vouch for that avenue! I went to Portland Community College in Oregon, so for any of you West Coasters, here's a link to the program:
Permalink to this Comment }

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