senate Bill S1078

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Provides for the conducting of visual assessments by ophthalmic dispensers

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to higher education
Jan 09, 2013 referred to higher education

S1078 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A7978
Current Committee:
Senate Higher Education
Law Section:
Education Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §7121, Ed L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S3661, A3083
2009-2010: A4831

S1078 - Bill Texts

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Relates to the practice of ophthalmic dispensing by ophthalmic dispensers pursuant to a visual assessment; provides that the commissioner of education shall establish educational and examination requirements to certify ophthalmic dispensers to practice visual assessment.

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BILL NUMBER:S1078

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the education law, in relation to the practice of
ophthalmic dispensing

PURPOSE:

This bill authorizes opticians, who obtain an additional certification
from the State Education Department, to assess a person's visual
acuity, in order to determine the degree of correction necessary to
compensate for various vision deficiencies such as nearsightedness or
farsightedness through the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

This amends §7121 of the Education Law which defines opticians' scope
of practice, to authorize opticians to practice visual assessment
under certain conditions. The bill adds three additional subdivisions
to §7121 which define visual assessment, establish certain
educational requirements for opticians to meet in order to be
certified to practice visual assessment, and require opticians to
refer consumers whose vision cannot be corrected through the use of
lenses beyond a certain degree.

JUSTIFICATION:

Visual assessment is the skill necessary to determine the particular
type of lens (eyeglasses or contact lenses) necessary to correct the
usual causes of vision deficiencies. Visual assessment as such is a
mechanical process, not a medical procedure. However, visual
assessment is an essential component of vision care since it
determines the degree of correction lenses must provide in order to
correct the vision deficiencies. Visual assessment does not
constitute an examination of the interior of the eyeball for purposes
of determining pathologies or other medical conditions of the eye. As
a nonmedical process, but one which is essential to the dispensing of
corrective lenses, there is no reason that opticians who are
appropriately trained should not practice visual assessment. The vast
majority of consumers who have vision deficiencies described in this
bill do not have medical conditions attendant to or causing such
deficiencies. In these cases, the need for an eye examination, other
than assessing the consumer's visual acuity, is uncalled for and not
warranted.

The net effect of this bill will be to expand corrective vision
services to the consumer by expanding the number of eye care
practitioners who may perform visual assessment and thereby prescribe
corrective lenses.
This also allows the consumer to obtain prescribing services for correc-
tive lenses from the practitioner who, in the majority of cases, will
ultimately dispense the eyeglasses or contact lenses. The bill also
provides an additional consumer protection by requiring opticians who
perform visual assessment to refer consumers to an ophthalmologist or
optometrist if their vision cannot be corrected beyond a certain


point by lenses. It should be noted that visual assessment is not
foreign to the scope of practice of opticianry presently. Those
opticians who are certified to dispense contact lenses are
essentially skilled in and visually assess consumers presently in
order to properly fit contact lenses. This process is referred to as
over-refracting. In addition, practitioners who would practice visual
assessment must meet additional
education and clinical requirements and be certified by the
commissioner after passing an examination.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

None to the state.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

A.536/S.527 of 2003-2004.
A.1057/S.2509 of 2005-2006.
A.4831 of 2009-2010 - Referred to Higher Education
S.3661/A.3083 of 2011-12; Referred to Higher Education

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it
shall have become a law provided, however, the commissioner of
education is hereby authorized to promulgate regulations and take such
other actions necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act prior
to such date.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  1078

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. MAZIARZ -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Higher Education

AN ACT to amend the education  law,  in  relation  to  the  practice  of
  ophthalmic dispensing

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Section 7121 of the education law, as  amended  by  chapter
647 of the laws of 2005, is amended to read as follows:
  S  7121. Definition of practice of ophthalmic dispensing. 1. The prac-
tice of the profession of ophthalmic dispensing is defined  as  adapting
and  fitting  lenses, for the correction of deficiencies, deformities or
anomalies of the human eyes,  or  adapting  and  fitting  non-corrective
contact  lenses,  on  written prescriptions from a licensed physician or
optometrist OR PURSUANT TO A VISUAL ASSESSMENT PERFORMED BY AN OPHTHALM-
IC DISPENSER WHO IS CERTIFIED TO PERFORM VISUAL ASSESSMENT IN ACCORDANCE
WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISION THREE OF THIS  SECTION.  Replacements
or  duplicates  of  such  lenses  may  be  adapted and dispensed without
prescription. Contact lenses may be fitted by  an  ophthalmic  dispenser
only  under  the personal supervision of a licensed physician or optome-
trist.
  2. AN OPHTHALMIC DISPENSER MAY PRACTICE VISUAL ASSESSMENT ONLY  PURSU-
ANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION. VISUAL ASSESSMENT FOR PURPOSES OF
THIS  SECTION MEANS TO TEST A PERSON'S VISION, BY THE USE OF A SERIES OF
LENSES AND THEIR ROTATION, TO DETERMINE THE DEGREE OF CORRECTION  NEEDED
TO  COMPENSATE  FOR  HYPEROPIA,  MYOPIA,  PRESBYOPIA, ASTIGMATISM OR ANY
COMBINATION OF THESE.
  3. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL  ESTABLISH  BY  REGULATION  EDUCATIONAL  AND
EXAMINATION  REQUIREMENTS  TO  CERTIFY OPHTHALMIC DISPENSERS TO PRACTICE
VISUAL ASSESSMENT. SUCH EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS  SHALL  INCLUDE  NINETY
CONTRACT  HOURS  IN  THE  PRINCIPLES  OF  VISUAL ASSESSMENT OFFERED BY A

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02259-01-3

S. 1078                             2

DEGREE-GRANTING INSTITUTION ACCEPTABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT.  IN  ADDITION,
SUCH  REQUIREMENTS  SHALL  INCLUDE  TWENTY HOURS OF CLINICAL PRACTICE IN
VISUAL ASSESSMENT UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF  A  LICENSED  OPTOMETRIST  OR
LICENSED OPHTHALMOLOGIST.
  4. IF AN OPHTHALMIC DISPENSER IS UNABLE TO SELECT LENSES WHICH PROVIDE
20/30  VISION  IN  EACH  EYE  TO  THE  CLIENT, HE OR SHE SHALL REFER THE
CONSUMER TO A LICENSED OPHTHALMOLOGIST OR OPTOMETRIST.
  S 2. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision 3 of  section  7121
of  the  education law, as added by section one of this act, the commis-
sioner of education shall establish by regulation educational and  exam-
ination requirements to certify ophthalmic dispensers to practice visual
assessment  who  are licensed and registered prior to the effective date
of this act; provided, however, that such educational  requirements  may
include,  but not be limited to, courses, clinical practice, experience,
or any combination thereof, which is acceptable to such commissioner and
substantially meets the standards of the educational requirements estab-
lished pursuant to such subdivision 3 of such section 7121 of the educa-
tion law.
  S 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after
it shall have become a  law;  provided,  however,  the  commissioner  of
education  is  hereby authorized to promulgate regulations and take such
other actions necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act prior  to
such date.

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