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Government Affairs

As a professional society representing the interests of all licensed ophthalmic dispensers, the New York State Society of Opticians maintains a presence at the New York State Legislature to protect and expand the livelihood of the Licensed Optician.



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2019 NYSSO Legislative Agenda


Retail Establishment
The purpose of this legislation is to place responsibility on optical establishments, as well as the license for adhering to existing laws, rules, and regulations.


Current law, rules and regulations do not apply to the professional conduct of optical stores. Rather, they are concerned solely with licensed professionals employed in said optical establishments. This bill would extend responsibility to owners of optical establishments to adhere to the same professional conduct laws, rules and regulations as their licensed employees. It is imperative that both be accountable in order to ensure that residents of the State of New York receive the best eye care possible.


The bill was refered to the Senate Higher Education Committee on January 3, 2018 for consideration.  

Visual Assessment Bill

We continue as part of our legislative agenda to look for the authorization of 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.


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 corrective 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.

Contact Lens Pricing Bill
The purpose of this legislation is to amend current general business law that prohibits distributors and manufacturers of contact lenses from creating unilateral pricing policies or agreements. By prohibiting contact lens manufacturers and distributors from issuing a “minimum price” under UPP, this bill protects the interests of contact lens consumers. 


Large contact lens manufacturing companies have been advocating for unilateral pricing policy but in some states, eye care professions and drug companies have joined together to prevent legislation from being adopted. Assemblyman Dinowitz, Chair of the Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee introduced this bill which is now pending legislative action.


This bill is currently in the Assembly Codes Committee and Senate Consumer Protection Committee.


From May 7, 2017 – Executive Secretary & State Board Before NYSSO

Executive Secretary Thania F. Fernandez and Members of the State Board for Ophthalmic Dispensing met NYSSO Members and NYS Opticians at the NYS Opticians Professional Development Symposium at Turning Stone Resort & Casino.  They presented updated information to attendees and answered many questions.  

The PowerPoint presentation offered is available to all NYSSO Members by clicking here. 



From August 9, 2016 – PD Measurements


Over the last several months, NYSSO has received a number of inquiries from members concerning pupillary distance measurements and whether or not an Optician has to include the PD measurement when a patient requests a copy of their prescription in response to these inquiries, NYSSO has been counseling Ophthalmic Dispensers using an interpretation from the State Board that was provided to NYSSO by then Executive Secretary Claudia Alexander in December 2009.  In her communication to NYSSO, Alexander stated:


One thing we [the State Board] did discuss is whether or not a PD has to be part of the prescription, and the answer to that was that it does not.  It is usually a measurement that the Ophthalmic Dispenser takes and not the optometrist or ophthalmologist.  At times, it is included by the prescriber, but that is rare from what I understood the Board to say.  The Optometry Board also agrees with this interpretation.


This is a major interpretation since the PD is necessary (or should be) to get glasses from a web-based entity.  As a result of our inquiries to SED and the Office of the Profession, NYSSO received a communication from the Executive Secretary of the State Board for Ophthalmic Dispensing Seth Rockmuller, concerning PD measurements.


Click here to view the letter from SED.


We are providing this information to our members to help avoid further confusion on this matter.  If you have any questions regarding this clarification from SED, please contact the State Board and Executive Secretary Thania Fernandez by e-mail, by phone at (518) 474-3817 ext. 180 or fax at (518) 402-5944.  Please share your communication with NYSSO, so we can follow-up with the State Board.  You can cc: NYSSO on e-communications at






Contact NYSSO


Phone: 518-694-4581

Fax: 518-432-1712



136 Everett Road

Albany, NY 12205 

An Open Letter to Opticians


NYSSO writes to all Opticians in New York State to help our fight against unlicensed Opticians.
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