CHAPTER 380*

OPTOMETRY

*See Sec. 19a-88b re renewal of certain professional and occupational licenses, certificates, permits or registrations which become void while the holder is on active duty in the armed forces of the United States.

Statutes not intended to control the business of opticians who manufacture or sell optical goods but who do not measure the vision of the eyes. 119 C. 675. Cited. 130 C. 345; 207 C. 674; 242 C. 1.

Table of Contents

Sec. 20-127. Definitions. Scope of practice. License renewal forms.

Sec. 20-128. Examining board.

Sec. 20-128a. Board of examiners. Regulations.

Sec. 20-129. Regulations. Meetings. Records. Reports.

Sec. 20-130. Qualifications for practice of optometry. Examination. Fees.

Secs. 20-131 and 20-132. License; fee for; display of. Regulations concerning license; duplicate licenses.

Sec. 20-132a. Renewal of licenses.

Sec. 20-133. Disciplinary action. Grounds.

Sec. 20-133a. Restrictions on employment of optometrists.

Sec. 20-133b. Professional liability insurance required, when. Amount of insurance. Reporting requirements.

Sec. 20-133c. Optometrists. Agreements, leases or other contracts. Prohibited provisions.

Secs. 20-134 and 20-135. Hearing on suspension or revocation of license. Appeal.

Sec. 20-136. Examination of school children.

Sec. 20-137. Exemption. Use of title “Doctor”.

Sec. 20-138. Penalty.

Sec. 20-138a. Construction of chapter. Penalty for practice without a license.

Sec. 20-138b. Interference with choice of physician or optometrist for vision care prohibited. Offer by health care center or preferred provider network of ophthalmologic care to include optometric care and equal access to plans and policies. Regulations.

Sec. 20-138c. Optometrists as members of certain advisory committees.

Sec. 20-138d. Coverage of services of optometrists under health insurance policies.


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 agents-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) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, 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 such substances is greater than a seventy-two-hour supply, the optometrist may dispense the minimum available quantity. A licensed optometrist authorized pursuant to this section to practice advanced optometric care may acquire, prescribe, dispense and charge for contact lenses that contain ocular agents-T, as defined in subdivision (5) of subsection (a) of this section.

(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; P.A. 09-58, S. 1; June 12 Sp. Sess. P.A. 12-2, S. 61.)

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”; P.A. 09-58 amended Subsec. (f) by adding provision re licensed optometrist’s authority to acquire, prescribe, dispense and charge for contact lenses that contain ocular agents-T and by making conforming and technical changes; June 12 Sp. Sess. P.A. 12-2 made a technical change in Subsec. (a)(5).

Cited. 119 C. 673.

Practice of optometry is a profession. 21 CS 332.

Sec. 20-128. Examining board. Section 20-128 is repealed.

(1949 Rev., S. 4489; 1957, P.A. 610, S. 1; 1959, P.A. 616, S. 44; P.A. 77-614, S. 408, 610; P.A. 80-484, S. 175, 176.)

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 twelve 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 shall approve all continuing education courses. 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; P.A. 08-184, S. 15; P.A. 10-117, S. 66.)

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; P.A. 08-184 amended Subsec. (a) by substituting “twelve” for “eight” years re maximum term of service on the board for a member appointed on or after January 1, 1991; P.A. 10-117 amended Subsec. (c) by requiring that board approve all continuing education courses.

See Sec. 4-9a for definition of “public member”.

Sec. 20-129. Regulations. Meetings. Records. Reports. The Commissioner of Public Health, with advice and assistance from the board, shall make regulations for the government of the board in the transaction of its business. The board shall, annually, on or before the first day of October, make a report to the Department of Public Health of its official acts, with such suggestions as it deems advisable with reference to the matters committed to its charge.

(1949 Rev., S. 4490; June, 1955, S. 2238d; 1959, P.A. 616, S. 45; P.A. 77-614, S. 409, 610; P.A. 80-484, S. 45, 176; P.A. 93-381, S. 9, 39; P.A. 95-257, S. 12, 21, 58.)

History: 1959 act deleted provisions re board’s receipts, fees and expenditures and compensation of members of the board and its secretary; P.A. 77-614 replaced department of health with department of health services, replaced references to president and secretary of board with “board” and transferred regulatory power re board government and transaction of business from board to commissioner of health services, retaining board in advisory role, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 80-484 deleted provisions re quorum, meetings and records of proceedings; P.A. 93-381 replaced commissioner of health services with 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.

See Sec. 4-40a re compensation and expenses of licensing boards and commissions.

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 five hundred sixty-five 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; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 09-3, S. 205.)

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; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 09-3 increased fee from $450 to $565.

See Sec. 10-5 re high school equivalency diplomas.

See Sec. 10a-43 re issuance of postsecondary education certificate.

Cited. 130 C. 347.

Partnership cannot be licensed to practice optometry. 21 CS 332.

Secs. 20-131 and 20-132. License; fee for; display of. Regulations concerning license; duplicate licenses. Sections 20-131 and 20-132 are repealed.

(1949 Rev., S. 4492, 4493; 1959, P.A. 616, S. 47; P.A. 77-614, S. 411, 610; P.A. 80-484, S. 175, 176.)

Sec. 20-132a. Renewal of licenses. Licenses issued under this chapter shall be renewed annually in accordance with the provisions of section 19a-88.

(P.A. 80-484, S. 48, 176.)

Sec. 20-133. Disciplinary action. Grounds. The board may take any of the actions set forth in section 19a-17 after notice and hearing, for any of the following reasons: (1) Conviction in a court of competent jurisdiction, either within or without this state, of any crime in the practice of optometry; (2) illegal or incompetent or negligent conduct in the practice of optometry; (3) publication or circulation of any fraudulent or misleading statement; (4) aiding or abetting the practice of optometry by an unlicensed person or a person whose license has been suspended or revoked; (5) presentation to the department of any diploma, license or certificate illegally or fraudulently obtained, or from an unrecognized or irregular institution or state board, or obtained by the practice of any fraud or deception; (6) violation of any provision of this chapter or any regulation adopted hereunder; (7) the effects of physical or mental illness, emotional disorder or loss of motor skill, including, but not limited to, deterioration through the aging process, upon the practitioner; (8) abuse or excessive use of drugs, including alcohol, narcotics or chemicals; (9) failure to maintain professional liability insurance or other indemnity against liability for professional malpractice as required by section 20-133b; or (10) failure to provide information to the Department of Public Health required to complete a health care provider profile, as set forth in section 20-13j. The Commissioner of Public Health may order a license holder to submit to a reasonable physical or mental examination if his physical or mental capacity to practice safely is the subject of an investigation. Said commissioner may petition the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford to enforce such order or any action taken pursuant to section 19a-17. The license of any optometrist who peddles optical goods, or solicits orders therefor, from door to door, or who establishes a temporary office, may be revoked, and said department may refuse to renew such license. The license of any optometrist who employs solicitors or obtains money by fraud or misrepresentation in connection with the conduct of the profession of optometry shall be revoked, and said department shall not renew such license. The violation of any of the provisions of this chapter by any unlicensed employee in the employ of an optometrist, with the knowledge of his employer, shall be deemed to be a violation thereof by his employer; and continued violation by such an unlicensed employee shall be deemed prima facie knowledge on the part of such employer. Nothing herein contained shall be construed as prohibiting the conducting of clinics or visual surveys when they are conducted without profit.

(1949 Rev., S. 4493, 4494; P.A. 77-614, S. 412, 610; P.A. 80-484, S. 49, 176; P.A. 81-471, S. 33, 71; P.A. 88-230, S. 1, 12; P.A. 90-98, S. 1, 2; P.A. 93-142, S. 4, 7, 8; 93-381, S. 9, 39; P.A. 95-220, S. 4–6; 95-257, S. 12, 21, 58; P.A. 96-133, S. 3; P.A. 08-109, S. 9.)

History: P.A. 77-614 added Subdiv. (g) allowing revocation or suspension of license for violation of chapter or related regulations, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 80-484 allowed disciplinary actions pursuant to Sec. 19-4s and revised grounds for such action, deleting crimes of moral turpitude, felonies and misdemeanors in Subdiv. (1), formerly (a), deleting immoral, fraudulent, dishonorable or unprofessional conduct, formerly (b), deleting “habitually” as modifier of “negligent” and “unprofessional” as modifier of “conduct” in Subdiv. (2), formerly (c), substituting “department” for “board” in Subdiv. (5), formerly (f) and adding Subdivs. (7) and (8) re physical or mental illness, etc. and drug abuse, added provisions re submission to physical or mental examination and re petitions to court for enforcement of orders or actions, replacing “board” with “department” as renewer of licenses and deleting prohibition against person other than optometrist operating under optometrical license; P.A. 81-471 changed wording slightly but made no substantive change; P.A. 88-230 replaced “judicial district of Hartford-New Britain” with “judicial district of Hartford”, effective September 1, 1991; P.A. 90-98 changed the effective date of P.A. 88-230 from September 1, 1991, to September 1, 1993; P.A. 93-142 changed the effective date of P.A. 88-230 from September 1, 1993, to September 1, 1996, effective June 14, 1993; P.A. 93-381 replaced commissioner of health services with commissioner of public health and addiction services, effective July 1, 1993; P.A. 95-220 changed the effective date of P.A. 88-230 from September 1, 1996, to September 1, 1998, effective July 1, 1995; 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. 96-133 added Subdiv. (9) making failure to carry liability insurance grounds for board action; P.A. 08-109 made a technical change and added failure to provide information for health care provider profile to list of grounds for disciplinary action, effective January 1, 2010.

“Immoral, dishonorable or unprofessional conduct” means the person guilty of it is intellectually or morally incompetent to practice or has committed an act likely to jeopardize the interests of the public. 119 C. 679. Cited. 130 C. 345. Advertising may be regarded as unprofessional conduct. Id., 353. Cited. 141 C. 288.

It is not unprofessional conduct for a licensed optometrist to practice his profession as an employee in charge of the optometrical department of a store; optometrist who manages the optometrical department of a store owned by a partnership may be violating section. 21 CS 332.

Sec. 20-133a. Restrictions on employment of optometrists. No licensed optometrist shall practice his profession as an employee of any unlicensed person, firm or corporation, provided that said prohibition shall not apply to health service organizations, hospitals, other optometrists or ophthalmologists. Nothing herein contained shall prohibit any registered optometrist or optometrists from continuing his employment in the mercantile establishment in which he or they were employed on June 28, 1963. No rule of the board shall prohibit the practice of optometry on a lessee or sublessee basis in or on the premises of a retail, commercial or mercantile establishment.

(1963, P.A. 429; P.A. 80-484, S. 165, 176.)

History: P.A. 80-484 replaced previous prohibitions against practicing as lessee or sublessee in mercantile establishment, against practicing on behalf of unlicensed person and against unlicensed persons practicing optometry with prohibition against practicing as employee of unlicensed person, firm or corporation and specifically allowed practice of optometry on lessee or sublessee basis on premises of retail, commercial or mercantile establishment.

Prior to statute, court, in considering Sec. 20-133, held legislature did not intend that corporation or other unlicensed person could not employ licensed optometrist at fixed salary to render optometrical services to persons whose obligation to pay for services would run to corporation. 150 C. 290.

Sec. 20-133b. Professional liability insurance required, when. Amount of insurance. Reporting requirements. (a) Each person licensed to practice optometry under the provisions of this chapter who provides direct patient care services shall maintain professional liability insurance or other indemnity against liability for professional malpractice. The amount of insurance that each such person shall carry as insurance or indemnity against claims for injury or death for professional malpractice shall not be less than five hundred thousand dollars for one person, per occurrence, with an aggregate of not less than one million five hundred thousand dollars.

(b) Each insurance company that issues professional liability insurance, as defined in subdivisions (1), (6), (7), (8) and (9) of subsection (b) of section 38a-393, shall, on and after January 1, 1997, render to the Commissioner of Public Health a true record of the names, according to classification, of cancellations of and refusals to renew professional liability insurance policies and the reasons for such cancellations or refusal to renew said policies for the year ending on the thirty-first day of December next preceding.

(P.A. 96-133, S. 2.)

Sec. 20-133c. Optometrists. Agreements, leases or other contracts. Prohibited provisions. On and after October 1, 2008, no agreement, lease or other contract entered into, renewed or extended between an optometrist and any other person shall contain any provision that: (1) Impedes an optometrist’s ability to gain access to his or her professional office or patient records, provided any such agreement, lease or other contract may contain a provision that provides a reasonable protocol for the optometrist to gain access to the premises during nonbusiness hours for medical emergencies; or (2) limits, inhibits or prevents an optometrist’s ability to communicate with his or her patients at any time.

(P.A. 08-184, S. 17.)

Secs. 20-134 and 20-135. Hearing on suspension or revocation of license. Appeal. Sections 20-134 and 20-135 are repealed.

(1949 Rev., S. 4495, 4496; 1971, P.A. 179, S. 11; 870, S. 59; P.A. 76-436, S. 423, 681; P.A. 77-603, S. 64, 125; 77-614, S. 413, 414, 610; P.A. 78-280, S. 37, 38, 127; P.A. 80-484, S. 175, 176.)

Sec. 20-136. Examination of school children. The examination and inspection of school children under the provisions of chapter 169, as far as such examination and inspection concern the vision, may be performed by any optometrist licensed under the provisions of this chapter, provided such optometrist shall be appointed for such purpose in the same manner as medical advisors are appointed under the provisions of said chapter.

(1949 Rev., S. 4497.)

See Sec. 10-205 re appointment of school medical advisors.

See Sec. 10-214 re vision, audiometric and postural screenings of public school students.

Sec. 20-137. Exemption. Use of title “Doctor”. The provisions of this chapter shall not be construed to apply to physicians and surgeons authorized to practice under the laws of this state, nor to any person who sells spectacles or eyeglasses on prescription from any such physician or certified optometrist; provided such person shall not attempt to measure the vision of the eye. No person granted a certificate under the terms of this chapter shall display or use the title “Doctor” or its synonym, either by way of prefix or otherwise, unless, at the same time, he appends to his name words indicating that he is an optometrist. Any person violating any provision of this section shall be subject to the penalties provided in section 20-138a.

(1949 Rev., S. 4498.)

Exemption in section does not apply to opticians act. 13 CS 147.

Sec. 20-138. Penalty. Section 20-138 is repealed.

(1949 Rev., S. 4499; 1959, P.A. 616, S. 47.)

Sec. 20-138a. Construction of chapter. Penalty for practice without a license. (a) No person shall engage in the practice of optometry in this state unless such person has first obtained a license from the Department of Public Health, but the provisions of this chapter shall not prevent a licensed optometrist from delegating optometric services to either a trained optometric assistant or to an optometric technician. Such delegated services shall be performed only under the supervision, control, and responsibility of the licensed optometrist, except that optometric assistants or optometric technicians shall not be authorized to refract eyes, detect eye health or prescribe spectacles, eyeglasses or contact lenses. A licensed optometrist may delegate to an optometric assistant, optometric technician or appropriately trained person the use and application of any ocular agent, provided such delegated service is performed only under the supervision, control and responsibility of the licensed optometrist. Optometric services that may be delegated to an optometric assistant or to an optometric technician may be delegated to an optometric assistant trainee, provided such services are performed only under the direct supervision, control and responsibility of the employing licensed optometrist.

(b) Any person in violation of this section shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than five years or both, for each offense. For purposes of this section each instance of patient contact or consultation which is in violation of any provision of this section shall constitute a separate offense. Failure to renew a license in a timely manner shall not constitute a violation for the purposes of this section.

(c) For the purposes of this section: (1) “Optometric assistant” means a person who has either completed two hundred hours of on-the-job training, an affidavit in support of which shall be kept by the employing optometrist on the premises, or graduated from a vocational program in optometric technicianry; (2) “optometric assistant trainee” means a person who has completed less than two hundred hours of on-the-job training and who is under the direct supervision, control and responsibility of an employing, licensed optometrist when performing optometric services which may be delegated to optometric assistants and to optometric technicians; (3) “optometric technician” means a person who has either completed a two-year college program in optometric technicianry, or passed the national optometric technician registration examination given by The American Optometric Association; and (4) “appropriately trained person” means a person who has completed on-the-job training in the use and application of ocular agents under the supervision, control and responsibility of an employing, licensed optometrist, an affidavit in support of which shall be kept by the employing optometrist on the premises.

(1959, P.A. 616, S. 48; P.A. 77-614, S. 323, 610; P.A. 80-484, S. 153, 176; P.A. 84-526, S. 10; P.A. 88-362, S. 11; 88-364, S. 92, 123; P.A. 93-381, S. 9, 39; P.A. 95-257, S. 12, 21, 58; P.A. 05-36, S. 2; P.A. 06-196, S. 249.)

History: P.A. 77-614 replaced department of health with department of health services, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 80-484 transferred licensing power to department from board of examiners, deleting obsolete reference to registration with department as provided in Sec. 19-45; P.A. 84-526 amended section by changing penalty for violation of any provision of section to a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment of not more than five years, and added provisions that each instance of patient contact or consultation shall constitute a separate offense and failure to renew license in timely manner is not a violation for purposes of section; P.A. 88-362 authorized licensed optometrists to delegate optometric services to trained assistants and technicians and added Subsec. (b) defining “optometric assistant”, “optometric assistant trainee”, and “optometric technician”; P.A. 88-364 made technical changes in Subsec. (b); 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. 05-36 amended Subsec. (a) by authorizing optometrists to delegate certain duties re ocular agents, designating existing language re penalties as new Subsec. (b) and making technical changes, redesignated existing Subsec. (b) as Subsec. (c) and amended same by adding Subdiv. (4) defining “appropriately trained person”; P.A. 06-196 made a technical change in Subsec. (a), effective June 7, 2006.

Sec. 20-138b. Interference with choice of physician or optometrist for vision care prohibited. Offer by health care center or preferred provider network of ophthalmologic care to include optometric care and equal access to plans and policies. Regulations. (a) No person shall interfere with the exercise by any other person of the person’s free choice in the selection of a licensee under either chapter 370 or this chapter for vision training or care.

(b) If any health care center, as defined in section 38a-175, or preferred provider network, as defined in section 38a-479aa, offers health care benefits that provide ophthalmologic care for any person, partnership, corporation, association or group, however organized, such health care center or preferred provider network shall provide optometric care. If the ophthalmologic care provided may be lawfully rendered by an optometrist, such health care center or preferred provider network shall provide the identical eye care coverage and benefits for its members when such care is rendered by an optometrist under contract with such health care center or preferred provider network.

(1) Such health care center or preferred provider network shall (A) contract with ophthalmologists and optometrists in a manner that will provide fair and sufficient representation of such providers in relation to the benefits provided by the health care center plan or preferred provider network, and (B) equally inform its members of the availability of ophthalmologic and optometric services.

(2) Such health care center or preferred provider network (A) shall provide ophthalmologists and optometrists equal access to all health plans offered by such health care center or health insurance policies offered by a health insurer with which such preferred provider network has entered into a contractual relationship, and (B) shall not restrict participation in such plans or policies based on limitations in services provided by individual ophthalmologists or optometrists. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as permitting any ophthalmologist or optometrist to perform or provide services beyond their scopes of practice permitted in chapter 370 and this chapter, respectively.

(c) The Insurance Commissioner may adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54, to carry out the provisions of subsection (b) of this section.

(1967, P.A. 598; P.A. 79-315; P.A. 80-482, S. 3, 345, 348; P.A. 87-126; P.A. 89-194; P.A. 93-358, S. 2; P.A. 99-284, S. 49; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-4, S. 22, 58; P.A. 11-38, S. 1.)

History: P.A. 79-315 added Subsecs. (b) and (c) re medical foundations; P.A. 80-482 reinstated insurance commissioner as department head of independent insurance department rather than as head of division of insurance within the department of business regulation (successor agency to previously independent insurance department), created by P.A. 77-614; P.A. 87-126 amended Subsec. (b) to require health care centers which provide ophthalmologic care to also provide optometric care, and deleted Subsec. (c) which had defined “medical foundation”; P.A. 89-194 amended Subsec. (b) to require health care centers to provide coverage and benefits for eye care lawfully rendered by an optometrist identical to the coverage and benefits provided for eye care when rendered by an ophthalmologist, to require fair representation of optometrists in relation to benefits under health care center plan, to require members be equally informed of availability of ophthalmologic and optometric services and added Subsec. (c) permitting the commissioner to adopt regulations to carry out the provisions of Subsec. (b); P.A. 93-358 amended Subsec. (b) to include preferred provider networks under the provisions of the Subsec.; (Revisor’s note: In 1997 a reference in Subsec. (c) to “Commissioner of Insurance” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Insurance Commissioner” for consistency with customary statutory usage); P.A. 99-284 made technical changes; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 01-4 amended Subsec. (b) by replacing reference to Sec. 19a-647b with reference to Sec. 38a-479aa and making technical changes; P.A. 11-38 amended Subsec. (b) by designating existing provisions re contracts and information as new Subdiv. (1), changing existing Subdiv. (1) and (2) designators to Subparas. (A) and (B) designators therein, adding new Subdiv. (2) requiring equal access to plans and policies, and making technical changes, effective January 1, 2012.

Sec. 20-138c. Optometrists as members of certain advisory committees. Wherever a committee, council or other body is appointed to serve in an advisory capacity in matters pertaining to vision for the Department of Public Health, the State Board of Education, the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Department of Social Services, the appointing authority shall include, as a member of such committee, council or body, a person licensed under the provisions of this chapter.

(1967, P.A. 342; P.A. 75-420, S. 4, 6; P.A. 77-614, S. 323, 521, 610; P.A. 93-262, S. 1, 87; 93-381, S. 9, 39; P.A. 95-257, S. 12, 21, 58.)

History: P.A. 75-420 replaced welfare department with department of social services; P.A. 77-614 replaced department of social services with department of human resources and department of health with department of health services, effective January 1, 1979; P.A. 93-262 authorized substitution of commissioner and department of social services for commissioner and department of human resources, effective July 1, 1993; 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 (Revisor’s note: A reference to “Motor Vehicle Department” was changed editorially by the Revisors to “Department of Motor Vehicles” for consistency with customary statutory usage).

Sec. 20-138d. Coverage of services of optometrists under health insurance policies. The provisions of section 20-138b shall apply to every individual or group hospital or medical expense insurance policy and every individual or group hospital or medical service plan contract delivered or issued for delivery or renewed in this state after October 1, 1975, which provides coverage or benefits for services or treatments which are within the definition of optometry as set forth in section 20-127. If any such policy or contract provides coverage or benefits for any such services or treatments when rendered by a person licensed under chapter 370, such policy or contract shall provide identical coverage or benefits for such services or treatments when rendered by a person licensed under this chapter, provided this section shall not alter or enlarge in any way the services or treatments which persons licensed under this chapter are authorized to perform.

(P.A. 75-117.)