CHAPTER 380
OPTOMETRY

Table of Contents

Sec. 20-127. Definitions. Scope of practice. License renewal forms.
Sec. 20-128a. Board of examiners. Regulations.
Sec. 20-130. Qualifications for practice of optometry. Examination. Fees.

      Sec. 20-127. Definitions. Scope of practice. License renewal forms. (a) For the purposes of this chapter:

      (1) The "practice of advanced optometric care" means any one or more of the following practices and procedures: (A) Measuring, examining, diagnosing, preventing, enhancing, managing or treating visual functions, defects of vision, muscular functions or anomalies, or other conditions or diseases of the visual system, the eye and ocular adnexae; (B) the prescribing, supplying, adjusting, fitting or adapting of ophthalmic devices and lenses, spectacles, prisms, orthoptic therapy, visual therapy, visual rehabilitation, oculomotor therapy, tinted lenses, filters, contact lenses, diagnosing, preventing, enhancing, managing, treating or relieving visual functions, defects of vision, muscular functions or anomalies, or diseases of the visual system, the eye and ocular adnexae; (C) the administration or prescription of any pharmaceutical agents related to the diagnosis and treatment of conditions and diseases of the eye and ocular adnexae, excluding nonemergency oral glaucoma agents but including controlled substances under schedules II, III, IV and V in accordance with section 21a-252, subject to the limitations of subsection (f) of this section relating to quantities dispensed, performance or ordering of procedures or laboratory tests related to the diagnosis and treatment of conditions and diseases of the eye and ocular adnexae; these procedures include, but are not limited to, removal of superficial foreign bodies of the cornea, ultrasound and topical, oral or injectable medication to counteract anaphylaxis or anaphylactic reaction; (D) the nonsurgical treatment of glaucoma consistent with subsection (k) of this section; or (E) the use of punctal plugs. The "practice of advanced optometric care" does not include surgical treatment of glaucoma, treatment of ocular cancer, treatment of infectious diseases of the retina, diagnosis and treatment of systemic diseases, use of therapeutic lasers, use of injectable medications other than to counteract anaphylaxis or anaphylactic reaction, surgical procedures other than noninvasive procedures, use of general anesthesia, use of intravenous injections, procedures that require the cutting or opening of the globe, enucleation of the eye, extraocular muscle surgery or any invasive procedure performed on the human body other than noninvasive procedures performed on the eye or ocular adnexae.

      (2) "Optometrist" means an individual licensed pursuant to this chapter to engage in the practice of optometry.

      (3) The "practice of optometry" means any one or more of the following practices and procedures: (A) The examination of the human eye and the eyelid for the purpose of diagnosis, treatment excluding the lacrimal drainage system and lacrimal gland or referral for consultation, as authorized by this section or, where appropriate, referral to an ophthalmologist; (B) the use of tests, instruments, devices, ocular agents-D, ocular agents-T and noninvasive procedures for the purpose of investigation, examination, diagnosis, treatment excluding the lacrimal drainage system and lacrimal gland, or correction, as authorized by this section, of visual defects, abnormal conditions or diseases of the human eye and eyelid; (C) the prescription and application of ophthalmic lenses, prisms, filters, devices containing lenses or prisms or filters or any combination thereof, orthoptics, vision training, ocular agents-D for the purpose of diagnosing visual defects, abnormal conditions or diseases of the human eye and eyelid, ocular agents-T and noninvasive procedures for the purpose of correction, alleviation or treatment, as authorized by this section, of visual defects, abnormal conditions or diseases of the human eye and eyelid excluding the lacrimal drainage system, lacrimal gland and structures posterior to the iris but including the treatment of iritis; (D) the examination of the human eye for purposes of prescribing, fitting or insertion of contact lenses to the human eye. The practice of optometry shall not include the use of surgery, x-ray, photocoagulation or ionizing radiation, or the treatment of glaucoma. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to limit the scope of practice of opticians licensed pursuant to chapter 381 or the practice of physicians licensed pursuant to chapter 370.

      (4) "Ocular agents-D" means: (A) Topically administered agents used for the purpose of diagnosing visual defects, abnormal conditions or the diseases of the human eye and eyelid known generally as cycloplegics not to exceed one per cent, mydriatics other than phenylephrine hydrochloride ten per cent and topical anesthetics, which are administered topically for the examination of the human eye and the analysis of ocular functions; (B) those vision training or optical devices which have been designated drugs for preclearance testing by the federal Food and Drug Administration or similar agency; and (C) fluorescein and similar dyes used in fitting contact lenses. The drugs described in subparagraph (A) of this subdivision may be acquired and used only for diagnostic purposes. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to allow an optometrist to acquire or use a controlled substance listed under section 21a-243.

      (5) "Ocular agents-T" means: (A) Topically administered ophthalmic agents used for the purpose of treating or alleviating the effects of diseases or abnormal conditions of the human eye or eyelid excluding the lacrimal drainage system, lacrimal gland and structures posterior to the iris, but including the treatment of iritis, excluding allergens, alpha adrenergic agonists, antiparasitics, antifungal agents, antimetabolites, antineoplastics, beta adrenergic blocking agent, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, collagen corneal shields, epinephrine preparations, miotics used for the treatment of glaucoma, temporary collagen implants and succus cineraria maritima; (B) orally administered antibiotics, antihistamines and antiviral agents used for the purpose of treating or alleviating the effects of diseases or abnormal conditions of the human eye or eyelid excluding the lacrimal drainage system, lacrimal gland and structures posterior to the iris, but including the treatment of iritis; and (C) orally administered analgesic agents used for the purpose of alleviating pain caused by diseases or abnormal conditions of the human eye or eyelid excluding the lacrimal drainage system, lacrimal gland and structures posterior to the iris, but including the treatment of iritis. "Ocular agent-T" does not include any controlled substance or drug administered by injection.

      (6) "Noninvasive procedures" means procedures used to diagnose or treat a disease or abnormal condition of the human eye or eyelid excluding the lacrimal drainage system, lacrimal gland and structures posterior to the iris but including the removal of superficial foreign bodies of the cornea and the treatment of iritis, provided the procedures do not require an incision or use of a laser.

      (b) Optometrists who were first licensed prior to April 1, 1985, shall be permitted to acquire and use ocular agents-D topically in the practice of optometry only after they have completed a course which (1) consists of a minimum of forty-five classroom hours and fifteen clinic hours, (2) is conducted by an institution accredited by a regional professional accreditation organization recognized or approved by the National Commission on Accrediting or the United States Commissioner of Education and (3) is approved by the Department of Public Health, and have passed an examination, prescribed by said department with the advice and consent of the board of examiners in optometry, in pharmacology as it applies to optometry, with a particular emphasis on the topical application of ocular agents-D to the eye for the purpose of examination of the human eye and the analysis of ocular functions. Optometrists licensed on and after April 1, 1985, shall not be required to take a course or pass an examination in order to acquire and use said agents topically in the practice of optometry.

      (c) Optometrists who were first licensed in this state prior to January 1, 1991, shall be permitted to acquire, administer, dispense and prescribe ocular agents-T in the practice of optometry only after they have (1) successfully completed a minimum of ninety-six classroom hours and fourteen clinical hours in the didactic and clinical use of ocular agents-T for the purposes of treating deficiencies, deformities, diseases or abnormalities of the human eye, including the removal of foreign bodies from the eye and adnexae, conducted by a duly accredited school or college of optometry or medical school, and have passed an examination as administered by the accredited school or college of optometry or medical school which conducted the course of study and (2) successfully completed a course in cardiopulmonary resuscitation offered by an accredited hospital, the American Heart Association or a comparable institution or organization. Proof of successful completion of the courses required under subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection shall be reported to the Department of Consumer Protection. Optometrists licensed on and after January 1, 1991, and who have graduated from an accredited school or college of optometry on or after January 1, 1991, shall not be required to take either a course in the didactic and clinical use of ocular agents-T or a course in cardiopulmonary resuscitation or pass an examination in order to acquire, administer, dispense and prescribe such ocular agents-T.

      (d) Optometrists shall be permitted to engage in the practice of advanced optometric care only after they have (1) successfully completed a minimum of seventy-five classroom hours and fifty-one clinical hours in the study of advanced optometric care that includes the treatment of deficiencies, deformities, diseases or abnormalities of the human eye, including anterior segment disease, lacrimology and glaucoma conducted by a duly accredited school or college of optometry or medical school, (2) passed an examination as administered by the accredited school or college of optometry or medical school that conducted the course of study and (3) met the requirements that permit them to acquire and use ocular agents-D and to acquire, administer, dispense and prescribe ocular agents-T pursuant to subsections (b) and (c) of this section.

      (e) No licensed optometrist authorized pursuant to this section to acquire, administer, dispense and prescribe an ocular agent-T shall dispense such agent to any person unless no charge is imposed for such agent and the quantity dispensed does not exceed a seventy-two-hour supply, except if the minimum available quantity for said agent is greater than a seventy-two-hour supply, the optometrist may dispense the minimum available quantity.

      (f) No licensed optometrist authorized pursuant to this section to practice advanced optometric care shall dispense controlled substances under schedules II, III, IV and V or under section 21a-252, to any person unless no charge is imposed for such substances and the quantity dispensed does not exceed a seventy-two-hour supply, except if the minimum available quantity for said agent is greater than a seventy-two-hour supply, the optometrist may dispense the minimum available quantity.

      (g) (1) An optometrist may delegate to an optometric assistant, optometric technician or appropriately trained person the use or application of any ocular agent in accordance with section 20-138a, or an optometrist may cause the same to be self-administered by a patient under the care and direction of the optometrist.

      (2) No optometrist shall delegate to any person the authority to prescribe any ocular agent.

      (h) An optometrist shall refer any patient with iritis or a corneal ulcer to an ophthalmologist not later than seventy-two hours after commencement of initial treatment of such condition unless there is improvement of such condition within such time period.

      (i) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 52-184c, each optometrist authorized by this section to practice advanced optometric care, or to use ocular agents-D or ocular agents-T or both, shall be held to the same standard of care as ophthalmologists with regard to such advanced optometric care, the use of such ocular agents-D or ocular agents-T or both and any other procedures authorized by this section.

      (j) Each optometrist authorized pursuant to this section to practice advanced optometric care, or to use ocular agents-D or ocular agents-T or both, shall post in a conspicuous location in each office waiting room, a standardized notice stating that said optometrist is authorized to practice advanced optometric care, or to use ocular agents for diagnosis or treatment or both, within the scope of his practice.

      (k) An optometrist engaged in the practice of advanced optometric care and the nonsurgical treatment of glaucoma shall refer to an ophthalmologist or other physician, for evaluation, any glaucoma patient who (1) presents with the presence of pediatric glaucoma or closed angle glaucoma, or (2) does not improve in response to treatment. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the emergency administration, prior to referral, of medication otherwise authorized under this section.

      (l) Each optometrist authorized pursuant to this section to practice advanced optometric care shall notify the Department of Public Health of his intent to engage in such practice. The Commissioner of Public Health shall develop license renewal forms that indicate whether a person holds himself out as authorized to practice advanced optometric care.

      (m) On and after January 1, 2005, no initial license to engage in optometry shall be issued unless the applicant meets the requirements of this section to practice advanced optometric care. The foregoing provision shall not apply to optometrists licensed in this state prior to January 1, 2005.

      (1949 Rev., S. 4488; P.A. 73-343, S. 1, 2; P.A. 86-13, S. 2, 4; P.A. 87-129, S. 1; P.A. 92-88, S. 1; P.A. 93-381, S. 9, 39; P.A. 95-257, S. 12, 21, 58; P.A. 96-70, S. 1; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, S. 146(d); P.A. 04-35, S. 1; 04-169, S. 17; 04-189, S. 1; P.A. 05-36, S. 1; P.A. 07-92, S. 1-4; 07-252, S. 79.)

      History: P.A. 73-343 replaced definition of optometry as "employment of any means other than drugs for the measurement of the power of vision and the adaptation of lenses for the aid thereof" with detailed definition; P.A. 86-13 added Subsec. (b) and amended Subsec. (a) to allow the use of diagnostic pharmaceutical agents for examination of the eye and analysis of ocular functions; P.A. 87-129 substituted reference to Sec. 21a-243 for Sec. 21a-242, repealed by the same act; P.A. 92-88 substantially revised the section including redefining optometrist and the practice of optometry, adding definitions of ocular agents-D, ocular agents-T and noninvasive procedures, authorized use of ocular agents-T, provided limits on use of ocular agents-T, added standard of care and included a posting requirement regarding use of ocular agents-T and ocular agents-D; P.A. 93-381 replaced department of health services with department of public health and addiction services, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 95-257 replaced Commissioner and Department of Public Health and Addiction Services with Commissioner and Department of Public Health, effective July 1, 1995; P.A. 96-70 added the definition of "practice of advanced optometric care", renumbering existing definitions, inserted new Subsec. (d) re requirements for the practice of advanced optometric care, Subsec. (f) re controlled substances, Subsec. (k) re referral requirements and Subsec. (l) re notification and license forms, relettering existing Subsecs. as necessary; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6 and P.A. 04-169 replaced Department of Consumer Protection with Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective July 1, 2004; P.A. 04-35 added Subsec. (m) re advanced optometric care requirements for initial license issued after January 1, 2005; P.A. 04-189 repealed Sec. 146 of June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, thereby reversing the merger of the Departments of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective June 1, 2004; P.A. 05-36 amended Subsec. (g) by designating existing provisions as Subdiv. (1) and amending same to allow optometrists to delegate certain duties re ocular agents, and by adding Subdiv. (2) prohibiting the delegation of prescriptive authority for ocular agents; P.A. 07-92 amended Subsec. (a)(1) to redefine "practice of advanced optometric care" to include removal of superficial foreign bodies of the cornea, amended Subsec. (a)(6) to redefine "noninvasive procedures" to include removal of superficial foreign bodies of the cornea, amended Subsec. (h) to delete requirement that optometrists refer patients with iritis or corneal ulcers who do not show "documented substantial" improvement within 72 hours after commencement of initial treatment and amended Subsec. (k) to delete referral requirements re patients who present with intraocular pressure over 35, patients with secondary glaucoma and patients who do not have "documented substantial" improvement in response to treatment; P.A. 07-252 amended Subsec. (a)(6) to insert "the treatment of iritis".

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      Sec. 20-128a. Board of examiners. Regulations. (a) There shall be within the Department of Public Health a Connecticut Board of Examiners for Optometrists. Said board shall consist of seven members appointed by the Governor, subject to the provisions of section 4-9a, as follows: Four practicing licensed optometrists in good professional standing who reside in this state and three public members. The optometrists appointed for terms beginning on and after January 1, 1997, shall be optometrists authorized under this chapter to practice at the highest level of their profession, except that any optometrist serving on the board on October 1, 1996, shall be eligible for reappointment on or after January 1, 1997, whether or not such optometrist is authorized to practice at the highest level of his profession. The Governor shall appoint a chairman from among such members. No member appointed on or after January 1, 1991, shall serve on the board for more than eight years.

      (b) Said board shall meet at least once during each calendar quarter and at such other times as the chairman deems necessary. Special meetings shall be held on the request of a majority of the board after notice in accordance with the provisions of section 1-225. A majority of the members of the board shall constitute a quorum. Members shall not be compensated for their services. Any member who fails to attend three consecutive meetings or who fails to attend fifty per cent of all meetings held during any calendar year shall be deemed to have resigned from office. Minutes of all meetings shall be recorded by the board. No member shall participate in the affairs of the board during the pendency of any disciplinary proceedings by the board against such member. No professional member shall be an elected or appointed officer of a professional society of optometrists or have been such an officer during the year immediately preceding his appointment.

      (c) The Commissioner of Public Health, with advice and assistance from the board, may make and enforce such regulations as the commissioner deems necessary to maintain proper professional and ethical standards for optometrists. The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, requiring each optometrist licensed pursuant to this chapter to complete a minimum of twenty hours of continuing education during each registration period, defined as the twelve-month period for which a license has been renewed pursuant to section 19a-88 and is current and valid. The board may revoke or suspend licenses for cause.

      (d) The Board of Examiners for Optometrists shall (1) hear and decide matters concerning suspension or revocation of licensure, (2) adjudicate complaints filed against practitioners licensed under this chapter and (3) impose sanctions where appropriate.

      (P.A. 80-484, S. 44, 46, 176; P.A. 81-471, S. 32, 71; P.A. 90-75; P.A. 93-296, S. 8, 10; 93-381, S. 9, 39; P.A. 95-257, S. 12, 21, 58; P.A. 96-123, S. 2; P.A. 98-143, S. 10, 24; P.A. 07-92, S. 5.)

      History: P.A. 81-471 changed "elected official" to "elected or appointed officer" as of July 1, 1981, and increased membership from three to seven members, adding two additional optometrist members and two additional public members; P.A. 90-75 required that newly appointed optometrist members whose terms begin on or after January 1, 1991, be authorized to use pharmaceutical agents and limited the length of time a person is able to serve on the board; P.A. 93-296 deleted board members' reimbursement for expenses, effective June 29, 1993; P.A. 93-381 replaced department and commissioner of health services with department and commissioner of public health and addiction services, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 95-257 replaced Commissioner and Department of Public Health and Addiction Services with Commissioner and Department of Public Health, effective July 1, 1995; P.A. 96-123 substituted optometrists authorized to practice at "highest level" for optometrists authorized to use certain pharmaceutical agents; P.A. 98-143 added quorum provision in Subsec. (b), effective July 1, 1998; P.A. 07-92 amended Subsec. (c) to require adoption of regulations requiring optometrists to complete a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education during each registration period, effective June 5, 2007.

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      Sec. 20-130. Qualifications for practice of optometry. Examination. Fees. Each person, before beginning the practice of optometry in this state, except as hereinafter provided, shall present to the Department of Public Health satisfactory evidence that such person has been graduated from a school of optometry approved by the board of examiners with the consent of the Commissioner of Public Health. The board shall consult, where possible, with nationally recognized accrediting agencies when approving schools of optometry. All applicants shall be required to successfully complete an examination prescribed by the Department of Public Health with the consent of the board of examiners, in theoretic, practical and physiological optics, theoretic and practical optometry, ocular pharmacology, treatment and management of ocular disease, and the anatomy and physiology of the eye; and said department shall determine the qualifications of the applicant and, if they are found satisfactory, shall give a license to that effect. Passing scores shall be established by the department with the consent of the board. The department may, upon receipt of four hundred fifty dollars, issue a license to any person who is a currently practicing competent practitioner who holds (1) a license issued to such person after examination by a board of registration in optometry in any other state or territory of the United States in which the requirements for registration are deemed by the department to be equivalent to, or higher than, those prescribed in this chapter, or (2) a Council on Endorsed Licensure Mobility for Optometrists certificate issued by the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry, or its successor organization. No license shall be issued under this section to any applicant against whom professional disciplinary action is pending or who is the subject of an unresolved complaint.

      (1949 Rev., S. 4491; 1959, P.A. 616, S. 46; June, 1971, P.A. 8, S. 57; 1972, P.A. 127, S. 39; P.A. 73-147; P.A. 74-59; P.A. 77-614, S. 302, 410, 610; P.A. 80-484, S. 47, 176; P.A. 86-13, S. 3, 4; P.A. 89-251, S. 90, 203; P.A. 93-381, S. 9, 39; P.A. 95-257, S. 12, 21, 58; P.A. 07-252, S. 30.)

      History: 1959 act increased fee for preliminary examination from $5 to $25, substituted license for certificate, doubled fee for same, increased examination fee from $35 to $50, making whole amount payable before examination, and deleted provision for reexamination; 1971 act raised fee for licenses without examination from $100 to $150; 1972 act reduced minimum age from 21 to 18 reflecting changed age of majority; P.A. 73-147 added provisions re acceptance of diploma of National Board of Examiners in Optometry in lieu of examination; P.A. 74-59 prohibited disapproval of school solely because it is outside United States, its territories or possessions and prohibited refusing application or license to qualified person solely because he is not a citizen; P.A. 77-614 replaced secretary of the state board of education with commissioner of education, transferred conduct of examination from board to department of health services, retaining board in supervisory role and required consent of health services commissioner for acceptance of National Board diploma, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 80-484 essentially transferred licensing powers to department, deleted requirement that applicant be over eighteen and "of good moral character", specified that waiver of examination applicable to currently practicing competent practitioners, required that board consult with recognized accrediting agencies and obtain consent of health services commissioner in approving schools, added provision re establishment of passing scores, prohibited issuing license to person involved in disciplinary action or unresolved complaint and required that board be notified annually of number of applications; P.A. 86-13 required that examination test knowledge of ocular pharmacology; P.A. 89-251 increased the fee from $150 to $450; P.A. 93-381 replaced department and commissioner of health services with department and commissioner of public health and addiction services, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 95-257 replaced Commissioner and Department of Public Health and Addiction Services with Commissioner and Department of Public Health, effective July 1, 1995; P.A. 07-252 deleted provision requiring applicants to present satisfactory evidence of graduation from 4-year course of study in a public high school, or its equivalent, deleted provision requiring 4-year course of study at a school of optometry, deleted criteria for approval of schools of optometry, rephrased examination requirements, added treatment and management of ocular disease as component of examination, deleted language allowing department to accept a diploma of National Board of Examiners in Optometry in lieu of requiring examination, rephrased qualifications for licensure for persons holding licenses in other jurisdictions and for persons holding Council on Endorsed Licensure Mobility for Optometrists certificate, deleted provisions re fees and deleted provisions requiring the department to annually inform board of the number of applications for licensure without examination.

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