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Disclaimer: Sections from the Education Law, Rules of the Board of Regents or Regulations of the Commissioner of Education are presented below for general informational purposes as a public service. Although reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that these sections are current, complete, and accurate, the State Education Department does not warrant or represent that this information is current, complete, and accurate. The statutes, rules, and regulations are subject to change on a regular basis. Readers are advised to consult McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York (West Publishing Corporation) and Title 8 of the Unofficial Version New York Codes, Rules and Regulations - Title 8 (8 NYCRR), published by the Department of State, and the State Register for the official exposition of the text of these statutes, rules and regulations, as well as for amendments and any subsequent changes or revisions thereto.

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.

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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  1. Definitions. As used in this section, acceptable accrediting agency means 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. Applicability of requirements.
    1. Each optometrist, required under article 143 of the Education Law to register with the department to practice in New York State and certified to use topical therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, and/or oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, shall comply with the mandatory continuing education requirements as prescribed in subdivision (c) of this section, except those licensees exempt from the requirement or who obtain an adjustment to the requirement pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subdivision or who are subject to a different requirement pursuant to this section.
    2. Exemptions and adjustments to the requirement.
      1. Exemptions. Licensed optometrists who are not engaged in the practice of optometry, as determined by the department, shall be exempt from the continuing education requirements prescribed in subdivision (c) of this section, upon the filing of a statement with the department declaring such status. Any such licensee who returns to the practice of optometry during the triennial registration period shall notify the department prior to reentering the profession and shall meet the continuing education requirements for the resumption of practice in New York State prescribed in subdivision (e) of this section.
      2. Adjustments to the requirement. An adjustment to the continuing education requirement, as prescribed in subdivision (c) of this section, may be made by the department, provided that the licensee documents good cause that prevents compliance or the department determines otherwise that there is good cause that prevents compliance, which shall include, but not be limited to, any of the following reasons: poor health or a specific physical or mental disability certified by an appropriate health care professional; or extended active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States; or other good cause beyond the licensee's control which in the judgment of the department, makes it impossible for the licensee to comply with the continuing education requirements in a timely manner.
  3. Mandatory continuing education requirements.
    1. General requirements.
      1. During each triennial registration period, meaning a registration period of three years' duration, an optometrist certified to use topical therapeutic pharmaceutical agents and/or therapeutic pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of glaucoma and ocular hypertension, seeking to apply for registration shall complete at least 36 hours of continuing education, acceptable to the department, as prescribed in paragraph (3) of this subdivision.
      2. During each triennial registration period, meaning a registration period of three years' duration, an optometrist certified to use oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, seeking to apply for registration shall complete at least 18 hours of additional continuing education, acceptable to the department, as prescribed in paragraph (3) of this subdivision.
    2. Proration.
      1. Any licensed optometrist certified to administer oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents whose first registration date following January 1, 2023 occurs less than three years from such date shall complete continuing education hours on a prorated basis at the rate of one and one-half hours of acceptable formal continuing education per month for the period beginning January 1, 2023 up to the first registration date thereafter. Such continuing education shall be completed during the period beginning January 1, 2023 and ending before the first day of the new registration period.
      2. During each registration or certification period of less than three years duration, an applicant shall complete acceptable continuing education, as prescribed in paragraph (3) of this subdivision, on a prorated basis at the rate of one hour of continuing education per month for those certified to administer topical therapeutic pharmaceutical agents and/or therapeutic pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of glaucoma and ocular hypertension and, for those certified to administer oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, on a prorated basis at the rate of one and one-half hour of continuing education per month for such registration or certification period.
    3. Acceptable formal continuing education. To be acceptable to the department, continuing education shall meet the requirements of this paragraph. Such continuing education must be in subjects prescribed in subparagraph (i) of this paragraph and be the types of learning activities prescribed in subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph and subject to the prohibition contained in subparagraph (iii) of this paragraph.
      1. Subjects.
        1. Acceptable continuing education of a licensee certified to use topical therapeutic pharmaceutical agents and/or therapeutic pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of glaucoma and ocular hypertension shall be in the area of ocular disease and pharmacology and may include both didactic and clinical components.
        2. Acceptable continuing education of a licensee certified to use oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents shall be in the area of systemic disease with ocular involvement and related therapeutic treatments and may include both didactic and clinical components.
      2.  
        1. Types of learning activities. Acceptable continuing education shall be the types of learning activities prescribed in this subparagraph and shall be subject to the limitations prescribed in this subparagraph and subparagraph (iii) of this paragraph.
        2. Courses of learning. Acceptable continuing education shall be courses of learning offered by a sponsor approved by the department pursuant to subdivision (i) of this section.
          1. For optometrists certified for topical therapeutic pharmaceutical agents and/or therapeutic pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of glaucoma and ocular hypertension, at least 27 hours of continuing education in a registration period shall consist of live instruction in a formal course of study offered by a sponsor approved by the department pursuant to subdivision (i) of this section, during which the student must be able to communicate and interact with the instructor and other students. Up to nine hours of such continuing education in a registration period may be completed through a self-study program, meaning structured study, provided by a sponsor approved pursuant to subdivision (i) of this section, that is based on audio, audio-visual, written, on-line, and other media, and does not include live instruction, transmitted in person or otherwise, during which the student may communicate and interact with the instructor and other students.
          2. For optometrists certified for oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, in addition to meeting the continuing education prescribed in subclause (1) of this clause, such optometrists shall also complete at least 18 hours of such continuing education in a registration period shall consist of live instruction in a formal course of study offered by a sponsor approved by the department pursuant to subdivision (i) of this section, during which the student must be able to communicate and interact with the instructor and other students. Up to nine hours of such continuing education in a registration period may be completed through a self-study program, meaning structured study, provided by a sponsor approved pursuant to subdivision (i) of this section, that is based on audio, audio-visual, written, on-line, and other media, and does not include live instruction, transmitted in person or otherwise, during which the student may communicate and interact with the instructor and other students.
      3. Prohibition. Any continuing education designed for the sole purpose of personal development, marketing, business practices, and maximizing profits for the practice of a licensed optometrist shall not be considered as acceptable continuing education by the department.
    4. Continuing education programs must be approved in advance by the department. Continuing education programs shall be deemed approved if they are offered by a sponsor who is approved pursuant to subdivision (i) of this section and meet the requirements of acceptable continuing education pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subdivision.
  4. Renewal of certification.
    1. At each re-registration, licensed optometrists shall certify to the department that they have either complied with the continuing education requirements, as prescribed in subdivision (c) of this section, or are subject to an exemption or adjustment to such continuing education requirements, as prescribed in subdivision (b) of this section.
    2. A licensee who has not satisfied the mandatory continuing education requirements shall not practice until such requirements have been met and the licensee has been issued a registration certificate by the department, except where a licensee has been issued a conditional registration, as provided for in subdivision (f) of this section.
    3. Continuing education hours taken during one registration period may not be transferred to the subsequent registration period.
  5. Requirement for lapse in practice.
    1. A licensee returning to the practice of optometry after a lapse in practice, as evidenced by not being registered to practice in New York State, whose first registration date after such lapse in practice occurs less than three years from January 1, 2023 shall be required to complete:
      1. at least one hour of acceptable continuing education for each month that the licensee was not registered to practice for a licensee certified to use topical therapeutic pharmaceutical agents and/or therapeutic pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of glaucoma and ocular hypertension or at least one and one-half hours of acceptable continuing education for each month that a licensee was not registered to practice for a licensee certified to use oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents from January 1, 2023 until the beginning of the new registration period.
        1. For a licensee who has not lawfully practiced optometry continuously in another jurisdiction throughout such lapse period, such continuing education shall be completed in the 12-month period before the beginning of the new registration period.
        2. For a licensee who has lawfully practiced as a licensed optometrist continuously in another jurisdiction throughout such lapse period, such continuing education shall be completed in the new registration period or, at the option of the licensee, in the period beginning 36 months before the commencement of the new registration period and ending at the conclusion of such new registration period; and
      2.  
        1. for a licensee who has not lawfully practiced as a licensed optometrist continuously in another jurisdiction throughout such lapse period, at least 12 hours of acceptable continuing education in each successive 12-month period of the new registration period for a licensee certified to use topical therapeutic pharmaceutical agents and/or therapeutic pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of glaucoma and ocular hypertension or at least 18 hours of acceptable continuing education for a licensee certified to use oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents; or
        2. for a licensee who has lawfully practiced optometry continuously in another jurisdiction throughout such lapse period, the regular continuing education requirement described in subdivision (c) of this section during the new registration period.
    2. Except as prescribed in paragraph (1) of this subdivision for registrations therein specified, a licensee who returns to practice as a licensed optometrist after a lapse in practice in which the licensee was not registered to practice in New York State and did not lawfully practice continuously in another jurisdiction throughout the lapse period, shall be required to complete:
      1. the continuing education requirement applicable to the period of time the licensee was registered in the licensee's last registration period;
      2. at least one hour of acceptable continuing education for each month of lapsed registration up to a maximum 36 hours if certified to use topical therapeutic pharmaceutical agents and/or therapeutic pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of glaucoma and ocular hypertension or a maximum of 54 hours if certified to use oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents. Such continuing education shall be completed in the 12 months before the beginning of the new registration period; and
      3. at least 12 hours of acceptable continuing education in each succeeding 12-month period if certified to use topical therapeutic pharmaceutical agents and/or therapeutic pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of glaucoma and ocular hypertension or 18 hours if certified to use oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents, after such registration is reissued, until the next registration date.
    3. Except as prescribed in paragraph (1) of this subdivision for registrations therein specified, a licensee who returns to the practice of optometry after a lapse in practice in which the licensee was not registered to practice in New York State but did lawfully practice optometry continuously in another jurisdiction throughout the lapse period, shall be required to complete:
      1. the continuing education requirement applicable to the period of time the licensee was registered in the licensee's last registration period;
      2. at least one hour of acceptable continuing education if certified to use topical therapeutic pharmaceutical agents and/or therapeutic pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of glaucoma and ocular hypertension and one-and-one-half hours if certified to use oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents for each month of lapsed registration up to a maximum of 36 hours. Such continuing education shall be completed in the new registration period or, at the option of the licensee, in the period beginning 36 months before the commencement of the new registration period and ending at the conclusion of the new registration period; and
      3. the regular continuing education requirement during the new registration period.
  6. Conditional registration.
    1. The department may issue a conditional registration to a licensee who attests to or admits to noncompliance with the continuing education requirements of this section, provided that such licensee meets the following requirements:
      1. the licensee agrees to remedy such deficiency within the conditional registration period;
      2. the licensee agrees to complete the regular continuing education requirement at the rate of one hour of acceptable continuing education per month during such conditional registration period; and
      3. the licensee agrees to complete additional continuing education during such conditional registration period, which the department may require to ensure the licensee's proper delivery of optometric services consistent with the licensee's practice.
    2. The duration of such conditional registration shall not exceed one year and shall not be renewed or extended.
  7. Licensee records.
    1. Each licensee subject to the requirements of this section shall maintain a record of completed continuing education, which includes: the title of the course, the type of educational activity if an educational activity, the subject of the continuing education, the number of hours of continuing education completed, the sponsor's name and identifying number (if applicable), attendance verification, and the date and location of the continuing education. The Department has the right to access the above records whether maintained by a sponsor or third party.
    2. Such records shall be retained for at least six years from the date of completion of the continuing education and shall be made available for review by the department in the administration of the requirements of this section.
  8. Measurement of continuing education study. Continuing education credit shall be granted only for acceptable continuing education as prescribed in subdivision (c) 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.
  9. Sponsor approval.
    1. A sponsor may only deliver a continuing education course if it is approved by the department under the circumstances described in paragraph (2) or (3) of this subdivision.
    2. Sponsors of continuing education courses in the form of courses of learning or self-study programs shall be approved if the sponsor submits an application to the department and is:
      1. a post-secondary institution authorized to offer programs in optometry leading to licensure registered pursuant to Part 52 of this Title or accredited by an acceptable accrediting agency; or
      2. a national organization of jurisdictional boards of optometry that promotes and protects the health, safety and welfare of the public and fosters good practice of optometry that have standards for approving sponsors of continuing education that include, but are not limited to, standards that are equivalent to the standards prescribed in paragraph (3) of this subdivision.
    3. Department review of sponsors.
      1. All sponsors that do not meet the criteria described in paragraph (2) of this subdivision must be reviewed by the department prior to the delivery of continuing education to licensed optometrists.
      2. An organization desiring to offer continuing education based upon a department review under this paragraph shall submit, with the fee as set forth in paragraph (j)(3) of this section, an application for advance approval as a sponsor at least 90 days prior to the date of the commencement of such continuing education. In the application, the organization must demonstrate that it:
        1. will offer courses of learning or self-study programs in one or more of the subjects prescribed for acceptable continuing education in subparagraph (c)(3)(i) of this section;
        2. has expertise in the professional areas that will be taught;
        3. provides course instructors who are qualified to teach the courses that will be offered, such as faculty of an optometry program offered by a higher education institution or instructors who are specially qualified authorities in the subject area as determined by the department;
        4. offers a method for assessing the learning of participants; and
        5. will maintain records for at least six years from the date of completion of coursework, which shall include, but shall not be limited to, the name and curriculum vitae of the faculty, a record of attendance of optometrists in the course if a course, a record of participation of optometrists in the self-instructional coursework if self-instructional coursework, an outline of the course, date and location of the course, and the number of hours for completion of the course.
      3. A course that is approved by the department pursuant to the requirements of this paragraph may be offered as long as departmental approval is maintained by the sponsor.
      4. Sponsors that are approved by the department pursuant to the requirements of this paragraph shall be approved for a three-year term.
      5. The department may conduct site visits of, or request information from, a sponsor approved pursuant to the requirements of this paragraph to ensure compliance with such requirements. A sponsor shall cooperate with the department in permitting such site visits and in providing such information.
      6. If the department determines that an approved sponsor is not meeting the standards set forth in this paragraph, the department may revoke the sponsor's approved status.
      7. If an approved sponsor discontinues operation, the governing body of such sponsor shall notify the department and transfer continuing education records as directed by the department.
  10. Fees
    1. At the beginning of each registration period, a mandatory continuing education fee of $45 shall be collected from licensees engaged in the practice of optometry in New York State, except for those exempt from the requirement pursuant to subparagraph (b)(2)(i) of this section. This fee shall be in addition to any applicable registration fees required by section 7104 of the Education Law.
    2. Licensees applying for a conditional registration, pursuant to the requirements of subdivision (f) of this section, shall pay a fee that is the same as, and in addition to, any applicable fee for the triennial registration required by section 7104 of the Education Law. In addition, such licensees shall pay the $45 mandatory continuing education fee.
    3. Organizations desiring to offer continuing education to licensed optometrists based upon a department review, pursuant to paragraph (i)(3) of this section, shall submit an application fee of $900 with the application requesting the issuance of a permit from the department to become an approved sponsor of a formal continuing education program. A fee of $900 shall accompany an application for a three-year renewal of the permit.