Panel Approves Change In Optometrist Certification

Dec 6, 2017

The Senate Health Policy Committee on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow the Florida Board of Optometry to offer practical and written “certification” examinations to applicants.

The bill would assist optometrists who were licensed before July 1993 and, therefore, were not required to be “certified.”

Florida law allows certified optometrists to prescribe pharmaceuticals for the treatment of glaucoma. However, licensed optometrists who aren't certified cannot prescribe those drugs and are required to post in their offices a sign that states, “I am a Licensed Practitioner, not a Certified Optometrist, and I am not able to prescribe ocular pharmaceutical agents.”

Before unanimously approving the bill (SB 520), the Senate Health Policy Committee added an amendment that removed part of the bill that would have allowed students who are attending optometry school to apply for licensure examination so long as they are within two years of graduation.

The bill is also slated to go to the Senate Appropriations and Rules committees. There is no companion bill filed in the House.