Health Technicians (Ophthalmology) in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) perform functions regarding technical clinical care to patients who have received care provided by Ophthalmologists for diagnosis, treatment, prevention, follow-up care, and patient counseling. Technicians perform a range of standard, but complex, diagnostic procedures, assist during clinic-based surgical procedures, educate patients and legal representatives, and assist with the education of trainees.

GS-8 Health Technician (Ophthalmology)
Full Performance Level
The Health Technician (Ophthalmology) at this level performs an extensive range of standard, but complex, diagnostic procedures.

Clinical Responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Obtains and records vital signs;
  • Participates in performance of quality assurance activities such as staff meetings, mandatory educational in-services, quality control reports, systems redesign, and team and morale improvement;
  • Obtains an accurate medical and ophthalmic history;
  • Measures and records visual acuity;
  • Administers anesthetic eye drops;
  • Performs basic tonometry;
  • Estimates the anterior chamber depth;
  • Records a simple spectacle reading through automated lensometry;
  • Triages patient phone calls or requests;
  • Ensures exam rooms are stocked with adequate supplies;
  • Instructs patients on administration of eye drops and post-operative instructions;
  • Accurately measures, compares, and evaluates pupillary responses;
  • Administers eye drops to dilate pupils;
  • Performs basic screening under direct supervision;
  • Performs basic color vision screening;
  • Performs basic visual field testing;
  • Performs basic imaging testing such as corneal topography; external photography;
  • Performs basic ocular testing, tear production with test strips, glare testing, stereo acuity, contrast sensitivity, potential acuity meter, measuring spectacles;
  • Assists the ophthalmologist during minor ophthalmic surgical procedures and applies sterile technique/infection control;
  • Performs autorefraction;
  • Checks and performs calibration of technical ophthalmology screening, testing, and examination instruments;
  • Obtains focused patient medical history;
  • Tests visual acuity at distance and near, with and without correction or with and without a pinhole;
  • Performs pharmacologic dilation using topical mydriatic agents;
  • Measures eyeglass prescription using manual or automated lensometer;
  • Performs pupil evaluation;
  • Performs swinging flashlight test to detect a relative afferent pupillary defect;
  • Performs basic refractometry utilizing an auto refraction or habitual glass prescription in the phoropter;
  • Instills eye medications;
  • Measures intra-ocular pressure with standard techniques, including handheld tonometry and/or Goldmann applanation tonometry;
  • Performs pachymetry to determine corneal thickness and manual keratometry or automated topography to determine corneal curvature;
  • Performs intra-ocular lens calculations using an IOL Master or equivalent device;
  • Performs automated visual field testing using various perimetry machines including Humphrey Visual Field;
  • Performs external photographs and fundus photography;
  • Performs optical coherence tomography (OCT) of the anterior segment, retina and optic nerve;
  • Performs patient screening and triage of potentially urgent ocular conditions;
  • Assists during clinic-based ophthalmic surgery, including revision of wounds, biopsies of the eyelid lesions, cultures of conjunctiva, or cornea; reformation of anterior chamber, evacuation of hyphema, repositioning of corneal endothelial grafts, intra-vitreous injections, and laser surgical procedures;
  • Educates patients and legally authorized representatives in eye care, including preoperative and postoperative instructions;
  • Assists in the education and training of medical students, residents and fellows in those facilities with medical school affiliations;
  • Ensures proper cleaning and disinfection, calibration, maintenance, backup, annual inventory and ordering of instruments, supplies and equipment;
  • Obtains quotes as needed and reports needed repairs to biomedical engineering.

Work Schedule: Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
This is not a virtual position.


  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this job.
  • All applicants tentatively selected for VA employment in a testing designated position are subject to urinalysis to screen for illegal drug use prior to appointment. Applicants who refuse to be tested will be denied employment with VA.
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959.
  • Must be proficient in written and spoken English.
  • You may be required to serve a probationary period.
  • Subject to background/security investigation.
  • Selected applicants will be required to complete an online onboarding process.
  • Must pass pre-employment physical examination.
  • Participation in the seasonal influenza vaccination program is a requirement for all Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Personnel (HCP).
  • Participation in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination program is a requirement for all Veterans Health Administration Health Care Personnel (HCP)
  • United States Citizenship. Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy.
  • Experience and Education
  • (1) Experience. One year of experience in a health care field, such as but not limited to nursing, medical assistant, or health technician. OR,
  • (2) Education. Two years above high school with a minimum of six semester hours directly related to a health care field or associate’s degree in a health care related degree. OR,
  • (3) Experience/Education Combination. Equivalent combinations of experience and education are qualifying. Examples are listed below:
  • (a) Six months of experience in the health care field; and one year above high school; or
  • (b) Six months of experience in the health care field and successful completion of a course for health care technicians, hospital corpsmen, medical service specialists, or ophthalmology technicians given by the U.S. Armed Forces; or
  • (c) Six months of experience in the health care field and completion of an independent study course in Ophthalmic Medical Assisting.

Certification. All applicants must be certified as a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) with the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO). The COA certification is JCAHPO’s entry-level certification examination for a Health Technician (Ophthalmology).

  • Exception. Non-certified applicants who otherwise meet the minimum qualification requirements may be appointed as a graduate Health Technician (Ophthalmology) under the authority of 38 U.S.C. 7405(c)(2)(B). The appointing official may waive the requirement of certification for a period not to exceed two years for a Health Technician (Ophthalmology) that provides care under the supervision of an Ophthalmologist. The exception only applies below the full performance level. For grade levels at or above the full performance level the candidate must be certified. Failure to obtain COA certification during that period is justification for termination of the temporary appointment and may result in termination of employment. Benefits:
  • Paid Time Off**
  • 13 to 26 days paid annual (vacation/personal) leave
  • 13 sick days annually with no limit on accumulation
  • 11 paid federal holidays
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and The Family Friendly Leave Act allow employees to take reasonable amounts of leave for medical reasons; the birth or adoption/foster care of a child; and the care of a child, spouse or parent who has a serious health problem
  • Up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave (for employees covered by FMLA) for the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child
  • The Voluntary Leave Transfer Program allows federal employees to donate annual leave to other federal employees who are experiencing a medical emergency
  • Military leave is authorized up to 15 days a year for our active reservists and National Guard members
  • Coverage Options With Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB), choose from a variety of self or family health maintenance organizations or fee-for-service health plans that all cover preexisting conditions. Your spouse, domestic partner and children under age 26 are eligible as are children — regardless of age — who are unable to support themselves. VA pays up to 75% of health premiums, a benefit that can continue into retirement (conditions apply). Your portion of the premium is taken on a pretax basis unless you opt out. Adjust plans during annual open season from November-December. Start flexible, tax-free spending accounts for up to $2,500 in medical expenses for individuals and up to $5,000 in dependent care expenses. Federal Retirement Plan VA employees are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS). FERS is a three-tier retirement plan composed of Social Security benefits, FERS basic benefits and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Similar to the private sector’s 401(k) savings plans, the TSP allows employees to tax-defer a portion of their income each year, subject to the requirements of the Internal Revenue Service. The government automatically contributes 1% of your salary, with additional matching contributions up to a total of 5%. If you will be age 50 or older during a given year, you may also contribute up to $6,500 in additional “catch-up” contributions if you expect to reach the $19,500 limit during that year. For retired military personnel, these benefits are in addition to full monthly retirement pay or pension. In addition to FERS, VA provides health care insurance coverage for retired personnel (conditions apply). Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs) FSAs allow you to use tax-free dollars to pay for health care expenses that are not reimbursed by your health insurance plan. Two types of FSAs are available to federal employees:
  • Health Care FSA — Lowers your taxable income by reimbursing up to $4,000 per year of out-of-pocket medical, dental and vision
  • Dependent Care FSA — Lowers your taxable income by reimbursing up to $5,000 per household annually for eligible day care and elder care expenses on a pre-tax basis

Job Type: Full-time

Pay: $63,035.00 – $93,677.00 per year


  • 401(k)
  • Dental insurance
  • Flexible schedule
  • Health insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Vision insurance

Medical specialties:

  • Ophthalmology


  • 8 hour shift

Ability to commute/relocate:

  • Palo Alto, CA 94304: Reliably commute or planning to relocate before starting work (Required)


  • Associate (Required)


  • Ophthalmology: 1 year (Required)
  • English: 1 year (Required)


  • Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (Required)

Work Location: One location