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Industry News

Catalyzing Progress in Ophthalmic Care: The American College of Eye Technicians

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In the dynamic realm of healthcare, innovation often arises from a fusion of necessity and foresight. This ethos finds embodiment in the creation of the American College of Eye Technicians (ACET), a non-profit organization committed to addressing a critical need in ophthalmology: the shortage of proficient ophthalmic technicians.

For Cynthia Matossian, MD, a seasoned practice owner, the persistent challenge of human resource scarcity in the field was all too familiar. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these issues, leading to what Dr. Matossian aptly termed the “big resignation” across various industries. Among the casualties was the shortage of ophthalmic technicians—a profession often overlooked due to lack of awareness.

From this juncture of need and insight emerged ACET, co-founded by Dr. Matossian and Patricia M. Morris, MBA, COE, with a vision to bridge this gap. Acknowledging the scarcity of newcomers in the field of ophthalmic assistance, they embarked on a mission to introduce the profession to a wider audience. Thus, ACET—pronounced as “asset”—was born, with a dual mission: to recruit individuals from diverse backgrounds and equip them with foundational training to excel in ophthalmic practices.

Central to ACET’s strategy is its innovative training program. Tailored for individuals aged 18 and above, the program offers an 8-week online course led by seasoned ophthalmic trainers. Through a blend of virtual classroom sessions, quizzes, and assignments, participants acquire crucial knowledge in ophthalmic anatomy, diseases, and terminology. Armed with this foundational understanding, graduates are better prepared to navigate the technical complexities of eye care upon entering a practice.

Dr. Matossian underscores the importance of this approach: “If practices recruit people who know nothing about ophthalmology and place them in a busy ophthalmology practice, they may feel intimidated and run out the door as fast as they arrived.  Therefore, I believed that providing them with basic training would significantly enhance their success rate, making them more likely to become integral parts of their practices.”

What sets ACET apart is its commitment to inclusivity and accessibility. By collaborating with community colleges, high schools, and aiding veterans transitioning to civilian life, Dr. Matossian endeavors to cast a wide net, welcoming individuals from diverse backgrounds into the realm of ophthalmic care. Moreover, ACET’s emphasis on affordability, including scholarships and educational grants, ensures that financial constraints do not hinder aspiring technicians’ paths to success.

As ACET gains momentum, its impact becomes increasingly tangible. With multiple cohorts underway and graduates securing placements in practices nationwide, the initiative is poised for exponential growth.

Looking ahead, ACET’s ambitions extend beyond recruitment and training. Dr. Matossian envisions a ripple effect—a new generation of skilled ophthalmic technicians elevating the standard of eye care nationwide. In an era shaped by emerging technologies, ACET’s role in nurturing a proficient workforce becomes even more pivotal.

As ACET continues to evolve and broaden its reach, it stands poised to leave an indelible mark on the future of eye care, one technician at a time.

More information on the American College of Eye Technicians can be found at ACETeducation.org.

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