THE BOARD OFFICE IS CLOSED

through the month of April, in compliance with Governor Cooper's Executive Order No. 122 https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO121-Stay-at-Home-Order-3.pdf. Please leave messages at 919-420-1390 for staff members' call-back.

 

EMERGENCY / TEMPORARY RULEMAKING IN PROCESS

The Board of Opticians filed Emergency Rule 21 NCAC 40 .0113 Waiver, effective April 9, 2020, found below.

The notice for the proposed temporary rulemaking for this Rule has been posted on the OAH website.

https://files.nc.gov/ncoah/documents/Rules/21-NCAC-40-.0113-proposed-temporary-rule.pdf


Opticians Association of America

Special Notice

RE: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

TO: All Opticians Association of America (OAA) Members
FROM: Dibby Bartlett, President, Opticians Association of America

Our commitment to the safety and well-being of our members and their patients has long been a part of our core values and operating procedures.

The Opticians Association of America is dedicated to doing our best to provide information on creating a safe and healthy working environment for our members and their patients. While efforts to contain COVID-19 continue to evolve, OAA recommends following the suggestions published from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and implementing these proactive steps to prevent the spread of the disease in your dispensary and community.

Click Here for the CDC’s recommendations for office disinfection.

Click Here for the CDC's recommendations for employers. Some offices are choosing to close their doors for a time, others have chosen to remain open. Each office should look to the CDC, their state, community and family members for guidance on these decisions.

Click Here for the CDC guidelines for the workplace.

Click here CDC recommendations on postponing routine eyecare visits.

Be prepared and stay informed on COVID-19 by obtaining regular updates at www.cdc.gov.

In response to the crisis, OptiCon, Vision Expo East, State Association meetings, and many other national and regional education seminars have been canceled or postponed. OAA will continually update our website’s calendar, as information is received, in order to give you the latest live education opportunities. If your state allows online continuing education credits, there are many opportunities available for you. OAA offers online continuing education offerings on our website.

With concerns for continuing education credits, please keep in mind that all opticians nationwide are in a similar situation concerning their education requirements. When this medical crisis is behind us, OAA believes there will be ample opportunities to get those credits. All licensed and certified professional opticians are affected by this crisis.

For updates on certification testing, please visit abo-ncle.org.

The OAA continues to meet virtually with our committees and do the work that you have entrusted us to do (strengthen state associations, help establish new state associations, continue our branding efforts, monitor legislation, communicate with our supporting corporate partners and more).

The OAA will continue publishing our monthly eNewsletter in order to remain in consistent communication and contact with our members. We will monitor and communicate any and all relevant information as we learn it.

Please remember that your membership, safety and health are extremely important to us. Stay well and stay safe - OAA

 

Dispensary Operational Changes

The following optical dispensaries have notified the Board of changes to their operations, but this should not be taken to mean that dispensaries are open; with the advanced spreading of the virus, anyone needing help from an optical dispensary should first call to see if they're open and able to assist.

3/18/2020

Costco - No new eyewear orders will be placed; clients with orders in progress will be notified when eyewear is in, for dispensing to be completed.

Eyemart Express - All locations will be closing from March 21st through at least April 6th; reopening date subject to change.

Sam's Clubs - No new eyewear orders will be placed; clients with orders in progress will be notified when eyewear is in, for dispensing to be completed.

Wal Mart - No new eyewear orders will be placed; clients with orders in progress will be notified when eyewear is in, for dispensing to be completed.

3/20/2020

National Vision (vision centers located in Wal-Marts) - No new eyewear orders will be placed; clients with orders in progress will be notified when eyewear is in, for dispensing to be completed.

BJ's Optical - Dispensaries closing this date. Existing eyewear orders will be mailed to customers, with a note encouraging them to come in when dispensary reopens to have eyewear properly fitted.

3/23/2020

America's Best - Dispensaries operating on greatly-reduced staff and hours. Existing eyewear orders will be mailed to customers, with a note encouraging them to come in when dispensary reopens to have eyewear properly fitted.

3/25/2020

Stanton Optical - Dispensaries operating on greatly-reduced staff and hours. Existing eyewear orders will be mailed to customers, with a note encouraging them to come in when dispensary reopens to have eyewear properly fitted.

4/1/2020

Eyemart Express - Suspended nationwide operations effective April 1.


Continuing Education for NC Opticians during COVID-19 Concerns

Thankfully, there remains three-fourths of the year in which licensees can obtain the required CE hours for license renewal. The Board continues to monitor events and may consider other courses of action at a later date - including online education provision and/or waiver of CE hours for 2020. For the present, however, seminar-presentation remains at the discretion of the ConEd providers, and individual licensees should make their own prudent decisions regarding attendance.

Providers of licensees' continuing education are evaluating national- and state-public health directives, and have made decisions regarding education seminars based on the best info available. As seminars are postponed or cancelled, the providers are notifying the Board and registrants, and the Board will make every effort to post information here on our site about those changes.

Reschedulings and/or Cancellations

March 15 - CEDO, Charlotte - CANCELLED, provider will be in touch with rescheduling info. https://cedoinc.com/


March 26-29 - Vision Expo East 2020, New York City - To be CONSOLIDATED with VE West 2020, Las Vegas. east.visionexpo.com


March 29 - CEDO, Raleigh - CANCELLED, provider will be in touch with rescheduling info. https://cedoinc.com/


April 5 - NCOA, Raleigh/RTP - CANCELLED, provider will be in touch with rescheduling info. https://www.ncopticians.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Corona-Virus-Notice-03172020.pdf


April 26 - NCOA, Charlotte - CANCELLED, provider will be in touch with rescheduling info. https://www.ncopticians.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Corona-Virus-Notice-03172020.pdf

May 17 - McDonald & Associates, Wilmington - CANCELLED, provider will be in touch with rescheduling info. 910-818-1146

 

Precautions for Certification and Licensure Testing

The ABO/NCLE has info on its website about its testing schedule https://www.abo-ncle.org/ABO/Default.aspx?hkey=ef58974b-0beb-4053-83b3-af6d27b911fd&WebsiteKey=d5d228e8-d8eb-4bf2-b9ae-b3574a126f73, and has recently issued an update provided by the Prometrics Testing Centers regarding its own scheduling at those facilities. https://www.prometric.com/corona-virus-update

It is currently anticipated that the May, 2020 Examination Window will be eliminated (or at least substantial portions) as a result of the current COVID-19 crisis.

Testing registrants are encouraged to go directly to the ABO/NCLE site for the latest info on testing schedules.

 

General Eye Health Information

Notice from the ABO & NCLE, March 13, 2020

Dear Eyecare Professional,

As COVID-19 (the Corona virus) continues to impact the global community, we want to update you on the steps to take to ensure safety for all eyecare professionals.

Based on guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center For Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), several reports suggest that the virus can cause conjunctivitis and possibly be transmitted by aerosol contact with conjunctiva. Patients who present for conjunctivitis who also have fever and respiratory symptoms including cough and shortness of breath could represent cases of COVID-19 even if they have not traveled internationally or been in contact with anyone that has traveled internationally. Although viral conjunctival infection is usually caused by adenovirus, COVID-19 may cause ocular signs and symptoms, including photophobia, irritation, conjunctival injection and watery discharge. These are predominantly self-limited but may require supportive care. Ocular discharge and tears are a potential source of contamination and the eye is also a route of exposure, so personal protection is required for the patient and their care team.

Protection for the mouth, eyes and nose when caring for patients is recommended, whether they are potentially infected with corona virus or not. The virus that causes COVID-19 is very likely susceptible to the same alcohol and bleach-based disinfectants that ophthalmic offices commonly use to disinfect ophthalmic instruments and office furniture. The same disinfection practices already used to prevent office-based spread of other viral pathogens are recommended before and after every patient encounter. As eyecare professionals, you are touching faces and ears, pulling back hair to see the temple fit - all things that could easily pass on the COVID-19.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Vigilance and good hygiene-thorough handwashing, using gloves, eye protection, appropriate face mask, disinfecting equipment and other recommendations provided by the CDC-in the office when in contact with bodily fluids, such as tears, can help prevent infection. It is important to proactively reinforce such infection mitigation techniques with doctors and staff, no matter the size of the office setting. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Close contact can occur while caring for a patient, including: being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a patient with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time; having direct contact with infectious secretions from a patient with COVID-19. Infectious secretions may include sputum, serum, blood, and respiratory droplets. If close contact occurs while not taking all recommended vigilance and good hygiene precautionary measures, healthcare personnel may be at risk of infection.

Healthcare personnel caring for patients with confirmed or possible COVID-19 should adhere to CDC recommendations for infection prevention and control: Assess and triage these patients with acute respiratory symptoms and risk factors for COVID-19 to minimize chances of exposure, including placing a facemask on the patient and placing them in an examination room with the door closed; Use Standard and Transmission-Based Precautions when caring for patients with confirmed or possible COVID-19; Perform hand hygiene with alcohol-based hand rub before and after all patient contact, contact with potentially infectious material, and before putting on and upon removal of protective gear, including gloves. Use soap and water if hands are visibly soiled.

Please have a talk with your office manager or doctor and/or staff. We will be working hard to communicate with all certificants and will send emails and post updates as necessary.

Together we will get through these challenges.

Sincerely,
Board of Directors and Staff at ABO-NCLE

ABO-NCLE, 217 N. Upper Street, Suite 201, Lexington, KY 40507

March 13 at 6:36 PM
Public

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The NC State Board of Opticians welcomes you to information regarding training, licensure and opticianry regulations and education in the state. Check us out often for a "clear vision" of opticianry in North Carolina.

Established by the NC General Assembly in 1951, the seven-member Board is comprised of five (5) dispensing opticians, and two (2) public members, all of whom serve three-year terms. Members are appointed by the Governor.

The Board's primary functions, defined by state statute and administrative rule, are the administration of the licensure process (including the licensure exam), and the oversight of regulations pertaining to optical businesses and training establishments. The Board has disciplinary authority over licensees and those participating in opticianry training processes. It reviews continuing education hours submitted by educational entities, and approves those hours it considers appropriate to enhance NC opticians' professional knowledge while complying with statutory requirements regarding CECs.

In accordance with the Open Meetings Law, the Board's meetings are open to the public, and minutes are recorded and available by written request.

The offices and staff of the Board are headquartered in Raleigh; hours can vary with staff assignments and availability. The office is closed for State holidays. If you're planning an office visit, please call ahead for staff assistance.

The Board invites your comments on this site, and how it can be made more productive and informative.

BOARD RULEMAKING ONGOING

Many of the Board's recently-revised rules revisions were 'housekeeping' - where slight/technical corrections were made. Others had text inserted to clarify Board processes for registrations and/or applications; one rule was repealed; and another rule was created to outline the procedures by which military personnel and their spouses apply for an NC optician's license.

Rules revisions went into effect OCTOBER 1 for the following citations of 21 NCAC 40:

.0101 Location - Updates the Board's current (physical) address

.0108 Fees - Rule repealed since GS 90-246 was amended to set the exact amount of fees to be charged

.0212 Duty to Provide Direct Supervision - Revised to put Business in line of responsibility (and disciplinary action) to have licensees scheduled to work any time dispensing is to occur; better defines that any employee of optometrists and ophthalmologists is covered under licenses except for those employees registered with the Board as trainees when the OD- or MD- practice is registered Training Establishment

.0302 Licensure Examination Fees - Combined some particulars of fee do’s and don’ts (i.e., no prorating, requirement to pay by certified check or money order); discontinued availability of transferring fees paid to a subsequent Exam (since the Board no longer administers the Exam)

.0303 License Exam Process - Refines Exam process for adoption of national Exam

.0320 License Renewal Information - Lays out process for renewal, including required information and fee to be included; establishes Inactive Status (All licensees received information on the new status via e-blast on November 12).

Those revisions of 21 NCAC 40 that went into effect DECEMBER 1 include the following:

.0104 Information and Application - Recognizes Board website as repository for all applications; requires certified transcripts for high school and optical certificate completion

.0109 Election of Members - Revised to show the Chair's authorization to name individuals other than Board Members to the Elections Committee (i.e., staff members, former Board Members), so long as they are not nominees for election

.0209 Display of Registration and License - Combines requirements for Licensees, Trainees, Business and Training Establishments to display licenses/registrations in a visible and public area

.0314 Apprenticeship and Internship Requirements: Registration - Clarifies training applications and processes; changes the definition of 'full time' for trainees to be 32 hours, rather than the previous 35; requires trainers to complete a Certification of Completion for trainees

.0319 Applicants from Other States - Cleaned up and combined processes for 90-241(a) and (b) applicants

.0323 Affidavit of Applicant - Eliminates notarization ('under oath') on applications; gives Board authorization for background checks

.0325 Licensure for Military-Trained Applicant; Licensure for Military Spouse - Outlines requirements for those applicants who have military-training in Opticianry; requirements given for spouses of military personnel

Finally, a new Rule in 21 NCAC 40 was created (effective MARCH 1) for administration of Training Establishments:

.0321 Training Establishment Requirements - Puts required equipment and reference books in Rule; details skills for training, & hours spent for each; requires 6-month 'review tests' by Board; Authorizes Board to create/require training logs; Shows that trainee and Board Inspector will acknowledge and sign on inspection forms to any deficiency in equipment or documentation (cause for disciplinary action)

For text of these and all Administrative Rules, click on the Laws & Rules tab to the left.

Inactive License Status application is attached -