Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 54.1. Professions and Occupations
Chapter 32. Optometry
2/25/2024

Article 3. Licensure of Optometrists.

§ 54.1-3212. Qualifications of applicants.

An application for a license to practice optometry shall be made in writing and shall be accompanied by satisfactory proof that the applicant has been graduated and received a doctor of optometry degree from a school of optometry approved by the Board.

Code 1950, § 54-382; 1972, c. 824; 1973, c. 90; 1988, c. 765.

§ 54.1-3213. License to practice optometry; requirements; renewal; fees.

A. Every candidate successfully passing the examination shall be licensed by the Board if such candidate possesses the qualifications required by law and regulation to practice optometry.

B. In order to be qualified for licensure as an optometrist, every applicant shall demonstrate competency for certification to prescribe for and treat diseases or abnormal conditions of the human eye and its adnexa with therapeutic pharmaceutical agents (TPAs). Requirements for TPA certification shall include:

1. Satisfactory completion of such didactic and clinical training programs for the treatment of diseases and abnormal conditions of the eye and its adnexa as are determined to be reasonable and necessary by the Board to ensure an appropriate standard of medical care for patients; and

2. Passage of such examinations as are determined to be reasonable and necessary by the Board to ensure an appropriate standard of medical care for patients.

C. Every license to practice optometry granted under the provisions of this chapter shall be renewed at such time, in such manner, and upon payment of such fees as the Board may prescribe.

Code 1950, §§ 54-383, 54-393, 54-394; 1970, c. 341; 1976, c. 32; 1977, c. 161; 1979, c. 39; 1988, c. 765; 2023, c. 268.

§ 54.1-3214. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2016, c. 92, cl. 1.

§ 54.1-3215. Board actions; reprimand, suspension, revocation, etc.

The Board may refuse to admit an applicant to any examination; refuse to grant or renew a license or certificate; reprimand, place on probation, or impose a monetary penalty on a licensee; or impose such terms as it may designate, suspend for a stated period of time, or revoke any license or certificate for any of the following causes:

1. Fraud or deceit in his practice;

2. Conviction of any felony under the laws of the Commonwealth, another state, the District of Columbia, or any United States possession or territory or of any misdemeanor under such laws involving moral turpitude;

3. Conducting his practice in such a manner as to endanger the health and welfare of his patients or the public;

4. Use of alcohol or drugs to the extent such use renders him unsafe to practice optometry or mental or physical illness rendering him unsafe to practice optometry;

5. Knowingly and willfully employing an unlicensed person to do anything for which a license to practice optometry is required;

6. Neglecting or refusing to display his license for the current year;

7. Obtaining of any fee by fraud or misrepresentation or the practice of deception or fraud upon any patient;

8. Advertising that directly or indirectly deceives, misleads, or defrauds the public, claims professional superiority, or offers free optometrical services or examinations;

9. Employing, procuring, or inducing a person not licensed to practice optometry to so practice;

10. Aiding or abetting in the practice of optometry any person not duly licensed to practice in the Commonwealth;

11. Advertising, practicing, or attempting to practice optometry under a name other than one's own name as set forth on the license;

12. Lending, leasing, renting, or in any other manner placing his license at the disposal or in the service of any person not licensed to practice optometry in the Commonwealth;

13. Splitting or dividing a fee with any person or persons other than with a licensed optometrist who is a legal partner or comember of a professional limited liability company formed to engage in the practice of optometry;

14. Practicing optometry where any officer, employee, or agent of a commercial or mercantile establishment, as defined in subsection C of § 54.1-3205, who is not licensed in the Commonwealth to practice optometry or medicine directly or indirectly controls, dictates, or influences the professional judgment, including but not limited to the level or type of care or services rendered, of the licensed optometrist;

15. Violating other standards of conduct as adopted by the Board;

16. Violating, assisting, inducing, or cooperating with others in violating any provisions of law relating to the practice of optometry, including the provisions of this chapter or of any regulation of the Board.

Code 1950, § 54-388; 1968, c. 505; 1976, c. 758; 1977, c. 161; 1979, c. 39; 1988, c. 765; 1990, c. 307; 1992, c. 574; 1999, c. 937; 2023, c. 268.

§ 54.1-3216. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2004, c. 64.

§ 54.1-3217. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1997, c. 556.

§ 54.1-3218. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2003, cc. 753 and 762.

§ 54.1-3219. Continuing education.

A. As a prerequisite to renewal of a license or reinstatement of a license, each optometrist shall be required to complete 20 hours of continuing education relating to optometry, as approved by the Board, each year. A licensee who completes more than 20 hours of continuing education in a year shall be allowed to carry forward up to 10 hours of continuing education for the next annual renewal cycle. The courses shall include, but need not be limited to, the utilization and application of new techniques, scientific and clinical advances, and new achievements of research. The Board shall prescribe criteria for approval of courses of study. Fulfillment of education requirements shall be certified to the Board upon a form provided by the Board and shall be submitted by each licensed optometrist at the time he applies to the Board for the renewal of his license. The Board may waive individual requirements in cases of certified illness or undue hardship.

B. Of the 20 hours of continuing education relating to optometry required pursuant to subsection A:

1. At least 10 hours shall be obtained through real-time, interactive activities, including in-person or electronic presentations, provided that during the course of the presentation, the licensee and the lecturer may communicate with one another;

2. No more than two hours may consist of courses related to recordkeeping, including coding for diagnostic and treatment devices and procedures or the management of an optometry practice, provided that such courses are not primarily for the purpose of augmenting the licensee's income or promoting the sale of specific instruments or products; and

3. For TPA-certified optometrists, at least 10 hours shall be in the areas of ocular and general pharmacology, diagnosis and treatment of the human eye and its adnexa, including treatment with new pharmaceutical agents, or new or advanced clinical devices, techniques, modalities, or procedures.

C. Nothing in this section shall prevent or limit the authority of the Board to require additional hours or types of continuing education as part or in lieu of disciplinary action.

1976, c. 32, § 54-394.1; 1988, c. 765; 2016, c. 89; 2023, c. 268.