CHAPTER 288

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO 475
AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NOS. 6, 7, 8 AND 9

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 21, TITLE 24 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO OPTOMETRY.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend §§2101 (a) and (b), Chapter 21, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by striking said subsections in their entirety and by substituting in lieu thereof new subsections (a) and (b) to read as follows:

"(a) The 'practice of optometry' is a learned profession and the same privileges, powers and duties shall attach thereto as the other learned professions. For purpose of this Chapter, the 'practice of optometry' is defined as the examination, measurement (by subjective or objective means), diagnosis, treatment and prevention of conditions of the human eye, lid, adnexa and visual system. The 'practice of optometry' includes but is not limited to the adapting and fitting of all types of lenses or devices, including contact lenses; the determination of refractive error and/or visual, muscular, or anatomical anomalies of the eye; the use of prescription of pharmaceutical agents for the diagnosis and treatment of ocular disease; the removal of superficial foreign bodies from the human eye and its appendages (appendages shall include cornea, conjuctiva lid, adnexa or lacrimal system); and the providing of vision, developmental and perceptual therapy, and shall include the utilization of any method or means which the optometrist is educationally qualified to provide as established by the Delaware State Board of Examiners in Optometry; provided that the 'practice of optometry' does not include surgery or the use of narcotics, or therapeutic lasers.

"(b) For purpose of this Chapter, the classifications of the practice of optometry' shall be defined as:

"(1) Non-diagnostically certified optometrist shall be permitted to practice optometry as defined in (a) of this subsection. However, a non-diagnostically certified optometrist may not utilize any diagnostic or therapeutic pharmaceutical agent or remove superficial foreign bodies from the eye and its appendages.

"(2) Diagnostically certified optometrists shall be permitted or perform the duties of a non-diagnostically certified optometrist, In addition, he/she may use the following drug groups:

"i. Topical anesthetics.

"i. Mydriatics.

"i. Cycloplegics.

"i. Miotics.

"(3) Therapeutically certified optometrists shall be permitted to perform the duties of a diagnostically certified optometrist. In addition, a therapeutically certified optometrist may use and/or prescribe the following pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of ocular diseases and conditions:

"i. Topical and oral administration:

(a) Antihistamines and decongestants.

(b) Antiglaucoma.

(c) Analgesics (non-controlled).

(d) Antibiotics,

"ii. Topical administration only:

(a) Autonomics.

(b) Anesthetics.

(c) Anti-infectives, including antivirals and antiparasitics.

(d) Anti-inflammatories.

In administering this Chapter, the State Board shall, by rule or regulation, specify those acts, services, procedures, and practices which constitute the 'practice of optometry' within the definitions of this Section.

Section 2. Amend §2102(b), Chapter 21, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by striking the first sentence of §2102(b) and substitution in lieu thereof the following:

The Board shall be appointed by the Governor and shall consist of 3 therapeutically certified optometrists engaged In the actual practice of optometry and residing in the state. However, any current Board member who is not therapeutically certified when this act becomes effective, shall serve out the remainder of his/her term. The Board shall also contain 2 public members who shall also be residents of the State."

Section 3. Amend §2107, Chapter 21, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by

striking §2107 in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof a new §2107 to read:

"§2107. Qualifications.

Any applicant for a license as an optometrist must meet the following requirements:

(a) Have received a degree of 'Doctor of Optometry' from a legally incorporated and accredited optometric college or school which has been approved by the appropriate accrediting body of the American Optometric Association.

(b) Have submitted to the Board a sworn statement by the applicant that he/she has not been convicted of a felony, been professionally penalized or convicted of drug addiction, violated the optometric practices act of another state, engaged in the practice of optometry without a license, prescribed pharmaceuticals unlawfully, willfully violated the confidence of a patient or has been professionally penalized or convicted of fraud.

(c) Have submitted to the Board an application in writing in such form as shall be required by the Board, accompanied by an examination fee of $75.00.

(d) Pass the professional examination administered by the State Division of Professional Regulation pursuant to §2108 of this Chapter.

(e) Possess current CPR certification."

Section 4. Amend §2108, Chapter 21, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by

striking it in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof a new §2108 to read as follows:

"§2108. Examinations.

(a) Examinations shall be given at least once each year.

(b) The examination shall be in the English language and shall consist of tests in practical optics, theoretical optics,
physiological optics, orthoptics, ocular anatomy, physiology and pathology, general anatomy, general physiology, pathology, and hygiene.

(c) Any optometrist licensed prior to July 10, 1975, may not use diagnostic pharmaceutical agents until he/she shall have completed a course in pharmacology as it relates to the use of diagnostic drugs in the practice of optometry, given by an institution accredited by a regional or professional accrediting organization which is recognized by the Delaware State Board of Examiners in Optometry.

(d) In addition to the requirements set forth in subsections (b) and (c) of this Section, each diagnostically certified optometrist licensed when this Act becomes effective and desiring to be Certified in the use and prescription of therapeutic pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of eye disease shall:

(1) Pass a nationally recognized, standardized test on the diagnosis, treatment, and management of ocular diseases that is approved by the State Division of Professional Regulation and complete 40 hours of clinical experience in the treatment and management of ocular disease supervised by a therapeutically certified optometrist, M.D. or D.O..

(e) After the examination, the Board shall promptly determine whether or not each applicant has qualified for licensure."

Section 5. Amend §2110, Chapter 21, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by

adding a new paragraph to be added between the first and second paragraphs to read as follows:

"All newly licensed optometrists shall be required to be

therapeutically certified. Their six month internship should be done with a therapeutically certified optometrist, M.D. or D.O.. However, if a therapeutically certified optometrist, M.D. or D.O. is not available, the intern may do an internship with a nontherapeutically certified optometrist provided, the intern complete an additional 100 hours of clinical experience in the treatment and management of ocular disease, supervised by a therapeutically certified optometrist, M.D. or D.O. during their internship and pass a nationally recognized standardized test on diagnosis, treatment and management of ocular disease that is approved by the State Board. A therapeutically certified optometrist is not to be held to any lesser standard of care than is applicable to a physician prescribing the same therapeutic agents. In any case where the prescribing of therapeutic drugs is an issue, the testimony of an ophthalmologist practicing in Delaware shall be admissible."

Section 6. Amend §2111, Chapter 21, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by

striking it in its entirety and substitution in lieu thereof a new §2111 to read as follows:

"§2111. Certification and registration for successful applicants.

All persons successfully passing the examinations, for licensure as required by the Chapter shall be registered in the Board Register, which shall be kept by the Division of Professional Regulation, as licensed to practice optometry and shall also receive a certificate of such registration. Any optometrist who shows proof of qualifying for therapeutic drug use and prescription as described in 2108 of this Chapter shall receive and endorsement to such certificate stating that the optometrist is certified in therapeutic drug use and prescription for the treatment of ocular disease. Nothwithstanding the requirements of §2108 of this Chapter, an optometrist holding a Delaware certificate or license who is a licensed Delaware M.D. or D.O. shall qualify for the endorsement as described in this section. The certificate of endorsement, if any, shall be signed by the President and Secretary of the Board and shall be filed as provided in this Chapter."

Section 7. Amend §2112, Chapter 21, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by inserting after the second sentence of the second paragraph, the following:

"Optometrists who are authorized to use and prescribe therapeutic pharmaceutical agents shall be required to attend 12 additional hours of courses in ocular pharmacology, diagnosis, or treatment of ocular disease, approved by the Board, in each two year period.

Section 8. Amend §2116, Chapter 21, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by striking said Section in its entirety, and by renumbering the remaining subsections accordingly.

Approved June 30, 1994.