To the Editor:
It is with dismay that I read the recent article “The Ophthalmic Staffing Shortage” in the October 2019 issue of Review of Ophthalmology. It would seem that your editors omitted a valuable reference to the Ophthalmic Photographers’ Society (OPS) when discussing the importance of skills, training and certification in ophthalmic staffing.
While it’s correct that JCAHPO was founded in 1969 because there was a need for physician extenders (per a quote from Lynn Anderson, CEO, JCAHPO), the Ophthalmic Photographers’ Society was also established in 1969, to recognize and promote the role of skilled photographers in a burgeoning world of ophthalmic diagnostics.
Some of our greatest imaging innovations were developed on the shoulders of, and with the guidance of, dedicated imagers across the country. The OPS worked hand-in-hand with photographers and vendors alike to refine the science and craft of ophthalmic imaging. Crucial study protocols, instrumentation developments and visionary imaging modalities were developed by members of the OPS. The ranks of most commercial vendors are filled with dedicated and certified ophthalmic imagers. Our highly regarded certification programs—Certified Ophthalmic Angiography (CRA) and OCT-Certified (OCT-C)—established the OPS as the governing organization for ophthalmic paraprofessionals performing highly skilled ophthalmic imaging.
While it’s true that the line between “photographer” and “technician” has become blurred both in the minds of the physician and the general public, nonetheless the CRA and OCT-C certification remain valuable proof of proficiency in a specialized field. To omit the OPS as an equally important certifying entity does a disservice to the completeness of this article and to the physicians who may be reading it without awareness of our existence.
Denice Barsness, CRA, FOPS
Past president, 1994-1996