Education Law

Article 144, Ophthalmic Dispensing

§7120. Introduction. | §7121. Definition of practice of ophthalmic dispensing. | §7122. Practice of ophthalmic dispensing and use of title "ophthalmic dispenser" or "optician". | §7123. State board for ophthalmic dispensing. | §7124. Requirements for a professional license. | §7125. Exemptions. | §7126. Special provisions. | §7127. Advertising of non-prescription ready-to-wear magnifying spectacles or glasses. | §7128. Mandatory continuing education.

§7120. Introduction.

This article applies to the profession of ophthalmic dispensing. The general provisions for all professions contained in article one hundred thirty of this title apply to this article.


§7121. Definition of practice of ophthalmic dispensing.

The practice of the profession of ophthalmic dispensing is defined as adapting and fitting lenses, for the correction of deficiencies, deformities or anomalies of the human eyes, or adapting and fitting non-corrective contact lenses, on written prescriptions from a licensed physician or optometrist. Replacements or duplicates of such lenses may be adapted and dispensed without prescription. Contact lenses may be fitted by an ophthalmic dispenser only under the personal supervision of a licensed physician or optometrist.


§7122. Practice of ophthalmic dispensing and use of title "ophthalmic dispenser" or "optician".

Only a person licensed or exempt under this article or a corporation, partnership or persons doing business under an assumed name and either composed of licensed ophthalmic dispensers or employing licensed ophthalmic dispensers shall practice ophthalmic dispensing or use the title "ophthalmic dispenser", "optician", "optical technician", "dispensing optician", or "optical dispenser".


§7123. State board for ophthalmic dispensing.

A state board for ophthalmic dispensing shall be appointed by the board of regents on recommendation of the commissioner for the purpose of assisting the board of regents and the department on matters of professional licensing and professional conduct in accordance with section sixty-five hundred eight of this title. The board shall be composed of not less than seven licensed ophthalmic dispensers who shall have been residents of this state engaged in the practice of ophthalmic dispensing for at least five years in this state. An executive secretary to the board shall be appointed by the board of regents on recommendation of the commissioner.


§7124. Requirements for a professional license.

  1. To qualify for a license as an ophthalmic dispenser, an applicant shall fulfill the following requirements;
    1. Application: file an application with the department;
    2. Education: have received an education, including high school graduation and completion, in accordance with the commissioner`s regulations, of either (i) a two-year program in ophthalmic dispensing, or, (ii) two years of training and experience in ophthalmic dispensing under the supervision of a licensed ophthalmic dispenser, optometrist or physician;
    3. Experience: have experience satisfactory to the board and in accordance with the commissioner`s regulations;
    4. Examination: pass an examination satisfactory to the board and in accordance with the commissioner`s regulations;
    5. Age: be at least eighteen years of age;
    6. Citizenship: meet no requirement as to United States citizenship;
    7. Character: be of good moral character as determined by the department; and
    8. Fees: pay a fee of one hundred fifteen dollars to the department for admission to a department conducted examination and for an initial license, a fee of forty-five dollars for each reexamination, a fee of fifty dollars for an initial license for persons not requiring admission to a department conducted examination, and a fee of fifty dollars for each triennial registration period.
  2. A person licensed after July first, nineteen hundred seventy-three shall be permitted to fit contact lenses only if the licensee, in addition to the requirements of subdivision a of this section, shall (1) pass a separate examination satisfactory to the board and in accordance with the commissioner`s regulations; and (2) have the requisite experience in the fitting of contact lenses satisfactory to the board and in accordance with the commissioner`s regulations.

§7125. Exemptions.

Nothing in this article shall be construed to affect or prevent:

  1. An unlicensed person from performing merely mechanical work upon inert matter in an optical office, laboratory or shop; or
  2. A student from engaging in clinical practice, under the supervision of a licensed ophthalmic dispenser or licensed optometrist or licensed physician, in an ophthalmic dispensing school or college registered by the department; or
  3. The department from issuing a limited permit to an applicant who meets all requirements for admission to the licensing examination; provided, however, that:
    1. Practice under a limited permit shall be under the supervision of a licensed physician, optometrist or ophthalmic dispenser.
    2. A limited permit shall expire after two years, or upon notice to the applicant that the application for licensure has been denied, or ten days after notification to the applicant of failure on the professional licensing examination, whichever shall first occur. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subdivision, if the applicant is waiting the result of a licensing examination at the time such limited permit expires, such permit shall continue to be valid until ten days after notification to the applicant of the results of such examination. A limited permit which has not expired as a result of notice of denial of licensure or of failure on the licensing examination may be renewed for a period of not more than one additional year, upon a showing satisfactory to the department that the applicant could not obtain a license within two years.
    3. Supervision of a permittee by a licensed physician, optometrist or ophthalmic dispenser shall be on-site supervision but not necessarily direct personal supervision.
    4. The fee for each limited permit and for each renewal shall be thirty-five dollars. The fee for issuance of a training permit shall be thirty dollars.

§7126. Special provisions.

  1. Eyeglasses or lenses for the correction of vision or non-corrective contact lenses may be sold by any person, firm or corporation at retail, only on prescription of a licensed physician or licensed optometrist and only if a licensed physician, optometrist or ophthalmic dispenser is in charge of and in personal attendance at the place of sale. This article shall not apply to binoculars, telescopes, or other lenses used for simple magnification; except, that a seller of non-prescription ready-to-wear magnifying spectacles or glasses shall have the following language attached to each pair of glasses or spectacles displayed or offered for sale and in at least ten point bold type permanently affixed in plain view to the top of any point of sale display or, if there is no display, in the area of sale: "ATTENTION; READY-TO-WEAR NON-PRESCRIPTION GLASSES ARE NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE PRESCRIBED CORRECTIVE LENSES OR EXAMINATIONS BY AN EYE CARE PROFESSIONAL. CONTINUOUS EYE CHECK-UPS ARE NECESSARY TO DETERMINE YOUR EYE HEALTH STATUS AND VISION NEEDS." As used in this subdivision, "non-prescription, ready to wear magnifying spectacles or glasses" means spherical convex lenses, uniform in each meridian, which are encased in eyeglass frames and intended to ameliorate the symptoms of presbyopia. The lenses in such glasses shall be of uniform focus power in each eye and shall not exceed 2.75 diopters.
  2. It shall be a class A misdemeanor to practice any fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in any advertising related to ophthalmic dispensing.

  1. Any printed advertising for non-prescription ready-to-wear magnifying spectacles or glasses to be sold through the mail also shall include the statement, "ATTENTION; READY-TO-WEAR NON-PRESCRIPTION GLASSES ARE NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE PRESCRIBED CORRECTIVE LENSES OR EXAMINATIONS BY AN EYE CARE PROFESSIONAL. CONTINUOUS EYE CHECK-UPS ARE NECESSARY TO DETERMINE YOUR EYE HEALTH STATUS AND VISION NEEDS." As used in this section, "non-prescription, ready to wear magnifying spectacles or glasses" means spherical convex lenses, uniform in each meridian, which are encased in eyeglass frames and intended to ameliorate the symptoms of presbyopia. The lenses in such glasses shall be of uniform focus power in each eye and shall not exceed 2.75 diopters.
  2. Any person, his or her agent or employee who shall violate any provision of this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than two hundred fifty dollars for each violation. For purposes of this section, the sale or offer for sale of each pair of non-prescription ready-to-wear magnifying spectacles or glasses which fail to meet the standards of this section shall constitute a violation.

§7128. Mandatory continuing education.

  1.  
    1. Each licensed ophthalmic dispenser required under this article to register triennially with the department to practice in the state shall comply with the provisions of the mandatory continuing education requirements prescribed in subdivision two of this section except as set forth in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subdivision. Ophthalmic dispensers who do not satisfy the mandatory continuing education requirements shall not practice until they have met such requirements, and they have been issued a registration certificate, except that an ophthalmic dispenser may practice without having met such requirements if he or she is issued a conditional registration certificate pursuant to subdivision three of this section.
    2. Ophthalmic dispensers shall be exempt from the mandatory continuing education requirement for the triennial registration period during which they are first licensed. In accord with the intent of this section, adjustment to the mandatory continuing education requirement may be granted by the department for reasons of health certified by an appropriate health care professional, for extended active duty with the armed forces of the United States, or for other good cause acceptable to the department which may prevent compliance.
    3. A licensed ophthalmic dispenser not engaged in practice, as determined by the department, shall be exempt from the mandatory continuing education requirement upon the filing of a statement with the department declaring such status. Any licensee who returns to the practice of ophthalmic dispensing during the triennial registration period shall notify the department prior to reentering the profession and shall meet such mandatory education requirements as shall be prescribed by regulations of the commissioner.
  2. During each triennial registration period an applicant for registration as an ophthalmic dispenser shall complete a minimum of eighteen hours of acceptable formal continuing education, as specified in subdivision four of this section; provided that three hours may be in recognized areas of study pertinent to the dispensing and fitting of contact lenses. During each triennial registration period an applicant for registration as an ophthalmic dispenser and certified to fit contact lenses shall complete twenty hours of acceptable formal continuing education, as specified in subdivision four of this section; provided that ten hours shall be in recognized areas of study pertinent to the dispensing and fitting of contact lenses. Any ophthalmic dispenser whose first registration date following the effective date of this section occurs less than three years from such effective date, but on or after January first, nineteen hundred ninety-nine, shall complete continuing education hours on a prorated basis at the rate of one-half hour per month for the period beginning January first, nineteen hundred ninety-eight up to the first registration date thereafter. A licensee who has not satisfied the mandatory continuing education requirements shall not be issued a triennial registration certificate by the department and shall not practice unless and until a conditional registration certificate is issued as provided for in subdivision three of this section. Continuing education hours taken during one triennium may not be transferred to a subsequent triennium.
  3. The department, in its discretion, may issue a conditional registration to a licensee who fails to meet the continuing education requirements established in subdivision two of this section but who agrees to make up any deficiencies and complete any additional education which the department may require the fee for such a conditional registration shall be the same as, and in addition to, the fee for the triennial registration. The duration of such conditional registration shall be determined by the department but shall not exceed one year. Any licensee who is notified of the denial of registration for failure to submit evidence, satisfactory to the department, of required continuing education and who practices without such registration, may be subject to disciplinary proceedings pursuant to section sixty-five hundred ten of this chapter.
  4. As used in subdivision two of this section, "Acceptable Formal Education" shall mean formal courses of learning which contribute to professional practice in ophthalmic dispensing and which meet the standards prescribed by regulations of the commissioner. Such formal courses of learning shall include, but not be limited to, collegiate level credit and non-credit courses. Professional development programs and technical sessions offered by national, state and local professional associations and other organizations acceptable to the department, and any other organized educational and technical programs acceptable to the department. The department may, in its discretion and as needed to contribute to the health and welfare of the public, require the completion of continuing education courses in specific subjects to fulfill this mandatory continuing education requirement. Courses must be taken from a sponsor approved by the department, pursuant to the regulations of the commissioner.
  5. Ophthalmic dispensers shall maintain adequate documentation of completion of acceptable formal continuing education and shall provide such documentation at the request of the department. Failure to provide such documentation upon the request of the department shall be an act of misconduct subject to disciplinary proceedings pursuant to section sixty-five hundred ten of this chapter.
  6. The mandatory continuing education fee shall be forty-five dollars, shall be payable on or before the first day of each triennial registration period, and shall be paid in addition to the triennial registration fee required by section seventy-one hundred twenty-four of this article.
Last Updated: August 19, 2009