Regulations of the Commissioner

Part 66, Optometry

§66.1 Professional study of optometry | §66.2 Professional licensing examination | §66.3 Endorsement | §66.4 Use of diagnostic drugs | §66.5 Use of therapeutic pharmaceutical agents | §66.6 Continuing education for licensed optometrists certified to use phase one and/or phase two therapeutic pharmaceutical agents.

§66.1 Professional study of optometry.

To meet the professional education requirements for licensure in this State, the applicant shall present evidence of completion of not less than 60 semester hours of preprofessional postsecondary education satisfactory to the department, and evidence of:

  1. the completion of a program in optometry registered by the department or accredited by an accrediting organization acceptable to the department, or determined by the department to be the equivalent of a registered or accredited program; and
  2. having received the degree doctor of optometry, or the equivalent as determined by the department, from a school offering a program which meets the requirements of subdivision (a) of this section.

§66.2 Professional licensing examination.

Each applicant for licensure who meets the requirements of section 66.1 of this Part shall pass a written examination in the basic and clinical sciences, and a practical examination, in accordance with the following:

  1. Written examination. The department may accept grades acceptable to the State Board for Optometry on the examination of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry as meeting the requirements of all or part of the written examination requirement.
  2. Practical examination.
    1. Content. The practical examination shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following sections: vision analysis, rigid contact lenses, soft contact lenses, pathology, low vision, vision training, dispensing, and the use of topically applied diagnostic drugs.
    2. Passing score. The passing score in the practical examination shall be reported on a pass/fail basis with the passing score being an average of 75.0 as determined by the State Board for Optometry. In order to determine this average, no section score shall be accepted with a score less than 65.0, and not more than one section score with a score less than 75.0, except that a score of 75.0 must be achieved in the sections of vision analysis and pathology. A candidate who fails the practical exam shall be reexamined in all sections.

§66.3 Endorsement.

  1. An applicant for endorsement of an optometry license issued by another jurisdiction shall satisfy all requirements of section 59.6 of this Title, except as herein provided:
    1. All applicants shall present evidence satisfactory to the State Board for Optometry of at least five years of professional practice of optometry following initial licensure and within the 10 years immediately preceding application for licensure by endorsement.
    2. All applicants shall take the practical examination as required by section 66.2(b) of this Part.
  2. Applicants for endorsement may be certified to use diagnostic drugs upon satisfactory completion of the requirements of section 66.4 of this Part.

§66.4 Use of diagnostic drugs.

  1. Optometrists certified to use drugs pursuant to subdivision (b) of this section may use the drugs specified in subdivision (c) of this section for the purposes stated in Education Law, section 7101(2).
  2. Certification. To receive a certificate issued by the department to use drugs, an optometrist shall be licensed in New York and shall meet the educational and examination requirements set forth in paragraph (1) or (2) of this subdivision:
    1. graduation after January 1, 1984 from a professional program of study in optometry that includes training acceptable to the department in ocular pharmacology, and successful completion of the licensing examination in accordance with section 66.2 of this Part; or
    2. satisfactory completion of a special training course in ocular pharmacology approved by the department, such course to include provision for advanced standing for optometrists with prior education in ocular pharmacology, and to include a final examination acceptable to the State Board for Optometry.
  3. An optometrist certified to use drugs as authorized under section 7101(2) of the Education Law may use anesthetic agents, mydriatics, cycloplegics, and miotics, and disclosing agents and other substances used in conjunction with these drugs as part of a diagnostic procedure.

§66.5 Use of therapeutic pharmaceutical agents.

  1. Definitions. As used in this section:
    1. Phase one therapeutic pharmaceutical agents shall mean those drugs identified in paragraph (e) of subdivision (1) of section 7101-a of the Education Law, which shall be limited to topical application to the surface of the eye for therapeutic purposes.
    2. Phase two therapeutic pharmaceutical agents shall mean:
      1. those drugs identified in section 7101-a(1)(f) of the Education Law, and
      2. carbonic anhydrase inhibitors and prostaglandin analogs. Such drugs shall be limited to topical application to the surface of the eye for therapeutic purposes.
    3. Acceptable accrediting agency shall mean an organization accepted by the department as a reliable authority for the purpose of accrediting at the postsecondary level, applying its criteria for granting accreditation in a fair, consistent, and nondiscriminatory manner, such as an agency recognized for these purposes by the United States Department of Education.
    4. Education Review Committee shall mean that committee appointed by the commissioner in consultation with the chancellor of the State University of New York, pursuant to subdivision 9 of section 7101-a of the Education Law, whose function is to advise and assist the commissioner in evaluating acceptable clinical training.
    5. Temporary Evaluation Committee shall mean that committee appointed by the commissioner of education to advise the commissioner in the evaluation of optometric use of therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, pursuant to section 3 of Chapter 517 of the Laws of 1995.
  2. Certification requirements.
    1. Phase one therapeutic pharmaceutical agents. To receive a certificate issued by the department to use phase one therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, an optometrist shall be licensed in New York and meet the clinical training requirements set forth in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of this section and the examination requirements set forth in subdivision (d) of this section. After certification, such phase one therapeutic pharmaceutical agents shall be used in accordance with the provisions of Article 143 of the Education Law.
    2. Phase two therapeutic pharmaceutical agents. To receive a certificate issued by the department to use phase two therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, an optometrist shall be licensed in New York and certified in the use of phase one therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, and meet the clinical training requirements set forth in paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) of this section and the examination requirements set forth in subdivision (d) of this section. After certification, such phase two therapeutic pharmaceutical agents shall be used in accordance with the provisions of Article 143 of the Education Law.
  3. Clinical training requirements for certification.
    1. To meet the clinical training requirements for certification in the use of phase one therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, the applicant shall present satisfactory evidence of either:
      1. graduation after January 1, 1993 from a professional program of study in optometry that is registered by the department pursuant to Part 52 of this Title, or is accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency, or determined by the department to be the equivalent of such a registered or accredited program; or
      2. graduation on or before January 1, 1993 from a professional program of study in optometry that is registered by the department pursuant to Part 52 of this Title, or is accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency, or determined by the department to be the equivalent of such a registered or accredited program; and completion of at least 300 hours of acceptable clinical training, as prescribed in subdivision 4(a) and 9-a of section 7101-a of the Education Law; or
      3. certification to use phase one therapeutic pharmaceutical agents in another jurisdiction, provided that such optometrist has been certified for at least five years to use phase one therapeutic pharmaceutical agents in another jurisdiction during which time such use was demonstrated in independently managed patients, meaning that the optometrist demonstrated that he or she has treated patients with phase one therapeutic pharmaceutical agents without consultation with a licensed physician.
    2. to meet the clinical training requirements for certification in the use of phase two therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, the applicant shall present satisfactory evidence of either:
      1. Graduation after January 1, 1993 from a professional program of study in optometry that is registered by the department pursuant to Part 52 of this Title, or is accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency, or determined by the department to be the equivalent of such a registered or accredited program; or
      2. Graduation on or before January 1, 1993 from a professional program of study in optometry that is registered by the department pursuant to Part 52 of this Title, or is accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency, or determined by the department to be the equivalent of such a registered or accredited program and completion of at least an additional 100 hours over that obtained for certification to use phase one therapeutic pharmaceutical agents of acceptable clinical training, as prescribed in subdivisions 4(b) and 9-a of section 7101-a of the Education Law; or
      3. Certification to use phase two therapeutic pharmaceutical agents in another jurisdiction, provided that such optometrist has been certified for at least five years to use phase two therapeutic agents in another jurisdiction during which time such use was demonstrated in independently managed patients, meaning that the optometrist demonstrated that he or she has treated patients with phase two therapeutic pharmaceutical agents without consultation with a licensed physician.
    3. Applicants who meet the clinical training requirements for certification by complying with the requirements of subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (1) or subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (2) of this subdivision shall submit a written application to the department in a form approved by the department. The department shall submit each application to the education review committee for its review and recommendation, as prescribed in subdivisions 9 and 9-a of section 7101-a of the Education Law.
  4. Examination. To meet the examination requirement for either certification in the use of phase one therapeutic pharmaceutical agents or certification in the use of phase two therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, the applicant shall present evidence of successful completion of:
    1. the treatment and management of ocular diseases portion of the examination of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry; or
    2. an examination determined by the State Board for Optometry to be equivalent in scope and content to the ocular diseases portion of the examination of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry.
  5. Reporting requirement. An optometrist certified to use phase two therapeutic pharmaceutical agents shall file with the temporary evaluation committee a phase two report for each patient treated with phase two therapeutic pharmaceutical agents within seven days following the initial and each subsequent visit by the same patient. The report shall be in a form developed by the temporary evaluation committee and approved by the commissioner.

§66.6 Continuing education for licensed optometrists certified to use phase one and/or phase two therapeutic pharmaceutical agents.

  1. As used in this section, acceptable accrediting agency shall mean an organization accepted by the department as a reliable authority for the purpose of accreditation at the postsecondary level, applying its criteria for granting accreditation in a fair, consistent and nondiscriminatory manner, such as an agency recognized for this purpose by the United States Department of Education.
  2. Mandatory continuing education requirement.
    1. General requirements.
      1. During each triennial registration period, meaning a registration period of three years duration, an applicant for registration shall complete at least 36 hours of formal continuing education acceptable to the department as defined in paragraph (2) of this subdivision. At least three-quarters of such continuing education in a registration period shall consist of live in-person instruction in a formal course of study. Up to one-quarter of such continuing education in a registration period may consist of live instruction in a formal course of study offered through audio, audio-visual, written, on-line, and other media, during which the student must be able to communicate and interact with the instructor.
      2. Proration. During each registration or certification period of less than three years duration, an applicant shall complete acceptable continuing education, as defined in paragraph (2) of this subdivision, on a prorated basis at the rate of one hour of continuing education per month for such registration period.
    2. Acceptable continuing education. To be acceptable to the department, continuing education shall be:
      1. in the area of ocular disease and pharmacology and may include both didactic and clinical components; and
      2. approved by the department pursuant to subdivision (g) of this section.
  3. Adjustments to the requirement.
    1. An adjustment to the continuing education requirement, as prescribed in subdivision (b) of this section, may be made by the department, to permit the applicant to complete all or part of the continuing education requirement through equivalent study acceptable to the department provided that the applicant documents good cause that prevents compliance with the regular continuing education requirement, which good cause shall include, but not be limited to, any of the following reasons: poor health certified by a physician; or a specific physical or mental disability certified by an appropriate health care professional; or extended active duty by the armed forces of the United States; or other good cause beyond the applicant's control which in the judgment of the department makes it impossible for the applicant to comply with the continuing education requirement in a timely manner.
    2. The department may permit an applicant to complete all or a part of the continuing education requirement in the new registration period through an approved adjustment pursuant to this subdivision, provided that the applicant will not obtain a renewal of certification until the continuing education requirement is met. In such a case, the applicant will also have to complete the continuing education requirement for the new registration period.
  4. Renewal of certification. At each re-registration for a renewal of certification, applicants shall certify to the department that they have complied with the continuing education requirement set forth in subdivision (b) of this section or an adjusted requirement approved by the department in accordance with subdivision (c) of this section.
  5. Licensee records.
    1. Each licensee subject to this section shall maintain and ensure access by the department to evidence of completed continuing education including:
      1. the title of the course or program;
      2. the number of hours completed;
      3. the sponsor's name and any identifying number;
      4. attendance or participation verification; and
      5. the date and location of the course.
    2. Retention. Such records shall be retained for at least six years from the date of completion of the course and shall be available for review by the department in the administration of the requirements of this section.
  6. Measurement of continuing education study. Continuing education credit shall be granted only for acceptable continuing education as prescribed in subdivision (b) of this section. For continuing education courses, a minimum of 50 minutes of study shall equal one continuing education hour of credit. For credit-bearing university or college courses, each semester-hour of credit shall equal 15 continuing education hours of credit, and each quarter-hour of credit shall equal 10 continuing education hours of credit.
  7. Continuing education course approval.
    1. To be approved by the department, a continuing education course shall meet the requirements of either paragraph (2) or (3) of this subdivision.
    2. The department shall deem approved a course that is in any one or more of the subjects prescribed for acceptable continuing education in subparagraph (b)(2)(i) of this section and that is either:
      1. approved by the Council on Optometric Practitioner Education or an organization determined by the department with assistance from the State Board for Optometry to have adequate standards for approving sponsors of continuing education for professionals regulated by Title VIII of the Education Law that include, but are not limited to, standards that are equivalent to the standards prescribed in clauses (3)(ii)(a) and (b) of this subdivision; or
      2. is offered by a postsecondary institution that is authorized to offer programs in optometry leading to licensure that are registered pursuant to Part 52 of this Title or accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency.
    3. Department review of courses.
      1. The department shall conduct a review of courses that are not deemed approved pursuant to the requirements of paragraph (2) of this section.
      2. A sponsor desiring to obtain approval of a continuing education course based upon a department review under this paragraph shall submit an application for advance approval of the course at least 14 days prior to the date of the commencement of such course that documents that the sponsor:
        1. will offer courses of learning in any one or more of the subjects prescribed for acceptable continuing education in subparagraph (b)(2)(i) of this section;
        2. provides staff who are qualified to teach the courses that will be offered, including, but not limited to, faculty of a college of optometry accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency, or a physician who specializes in diseases of the eye, or by licensed optometrists certified to treat patients with phase two therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, or qualified staff who are authorities in the health sciences specially qualified, in the opinion of the State Board for Optometry, to teach such courses; and
        3. will maintain records for at least six years from the date of completion of course work, which shall include, but shall not be limited to, the name and curriculum vitae of the faculty, a record of attendance of licensed optometrists in the course, an outline of the course, the date and location of the course, and the number of hours for completion of the course. In the event that the sponsor of approved courses discontinues operation, the governing body of such sponsor shall notify the department and transfer all records as directed by the department.
      3. A course that is approved by the department pursuant to the requirements of this paragraph shall only be approved for specified dates that the course will be offered.
      4. The department may conduct site visits of, or request information from a sponsor of an approved course to ensure compliance with the requirements of this paragraph, and a sponsor shall cooperate with the department in permitting such a site visit and providing such information.
      5. A determination by the department that a course approved pursuant the requirements of this paragraph is not meeting the standards set forth in this paragraph shall result in the denial or termination of the approved status of the course.
Last Updated: June 10, 2009