Physician/Optometrist standards for assistance by unlicensed persons in the care of a patient for the purpose of instilling mydriatic or cycloplegic eye drops and anesthetic eye drops

Effective June 21, 2021

Competency Checklist | Online Supervising Physician/Optometrist Site Log

Any unlicensed person assisting a physician/optometrist in the care of a patient for the purpose of instilling mydriatic or cycloplegic eye drops and anesthetic eye drops must adhere to the following standards:

  • An unlicensed person must be in-training or trained and deemed qualified by a supervising licensed physician/optometrist, to assist licensed physicians/optometrists in the care of patients for the purpose of instilling mydriatic or cycloplegic eye drops and anesthetic eye drops in conjunction with such dilating drops to the surface of the eyes of patients. The supervising physician/optometrist must list every unlicensed person who will be instilling eye drops on the Online Supervising Physician/Optometrist Site Log. Any changes to this information must be submitted within 24 hours using the Online Supervising Physician/Optometrist Site Log.
  • Such training must be consistent with the Competency Checklist for the instillation of eye drops established by the Department. The Competency Checklist should be signed and retained in the employee’s records for the duration of their employment.
  • Any such unlicensed person must be supervised on-site by a New York State licensed and currently registered physician/optometrist. “On-site” means the supervising physician/optometrist is in the same facility and readily available to the unlicensed person.
  • Such unlicensed person must be at least 18 years of age.
  • The licensed physician/optometrist must notify the patient or the patient's designated health care surrogate that the licensed physician/optometrist may utilize the services of an unlicensed person to administer certain eye drops.
  • The licensed physician/optometrist must provide the patient or the patient's designated health care surrogate the opportunity to refuse the licensed physician’s/optometrist's plan to utilize such an unlicensed person for this task.
  • A form prescribed by the Department (Online Supervising Physician/Optometrist Site Log) must have been submitted to the Department by the supervising licensed physician/optometrist detailing the identity of each unlicensed person at the practice instilling mydriatic or cycloplegic eye drops and anesthetic eye drops in conjunction with such dilating drops to the surface of the eye of a patient, and attesting to compliance with the above requirements.
  • Failing to exercise appropriate supervision over unlicensed persons who are authorized to practice only under the supervision of a licensee may be grounds for professional misconduct. No physician/optometrist should take responsibility for supervising more unlicensed personnel than may be safely supervised at any one time. It is recommended that no physician/optometrist supervise more than four such personnel at any one time.
  • The supervising licensed physician’s/optometrist's use of any such person, pursuant to Education Law §6527(9) for physicians and Education Law §7105(d) for optometrists, must be undertaken with professional judgment to ensure the safety and well-being of the patient.
  • Such use will subject the licensed physician/optometrist to the full disciplinary and regulatory authority of the Department of Health’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct and the Board of Regents.
Last Updated: June 17, 2021