Certified Paraoptometric Assistant (CPOA)

A CPOA™ is a person who has attained national recognition via certification by demonstrating the ability to apply the concepts used in optometric care.

What tasks does a Certified Paraoptometric (CPOA™) perform?

Under the supervision of an optometrist, the CPOA™ may perform technical duties such as taking detailed patient histories, measuring visual acuity, measuring the curvature of the cornea (Keratometry), glaucoma screening, blood pressure testing, and measuring the distance between the pupils of the eye.

View the application, fee, and eligibility requirements.

View the Recertification Requirements

What's the examination about?

The CPOA™ examination consists of 200 multiple choice questions related to practice management, basic and special procedures, ophthalmic optics and dispensing, refractive status of the eye, and basic ocular anatomy and physiology.

What content do I need to study?

The following outline includes a brief explanation of the areas covered on the CPOA™ examination (refer to the CPOA™ Candidate Handbook for the full outline).

CPOA Examination Content

Practice Management (13%)—Patient education, practice management, telephone techniques, recall, office finances, professional issues, and health information technology.

Ophthalmic Optics and Dispensing (20%)—Prescriptions, lenses, frame selection, and adjustments and dispensing.

Testing and Procedures (20%)—Purpose and preliminary testing procedures and recording, pupillary responses, case history, visual acuity, color vision, stereo acuity and examination instrumentation.

Special Procedures (17%)—Contact lenses, tonometry, visual fields, sphygmomanometry, first aid, CPR, emergencies, vision rehabilitation, and surgery.

Refractive Status of the Eye and Binocularity (13%)—Refractive errors, refractive conditions, and eye movements.

Basic Ocular Anatomy and Physiology (17%)—General anatomy and physiology, basic functions of anatomical structures, common pathological and functional disorders, and basic ocular pharmacology.

Suggested Study Materials


(Item PS-70)—The CPOA Study Bundle includes a Self-Study Course, Self-Assessment Exam, and four sets of flash cards with 100 questions each, covering topics that will help you prepare for the CPOA exam. This bundle may be ordered through the AOA Marketplace.


If there is a resource that you cannot locate through the Marketplace, please call 1-800-262-2210.