THE BOARD OFFICE IS OPERATING ON LIMITED HOURS

in compliance with Governor Cooper's Executive Order No. 138. https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO138-Phase-1.pdf

Please leave messages at 919-420-1390 for staff members' call-back or to schedule an office appointment.

 

Board Actions Taken to Aid Licensees, Trainees, Businesses and Training Establishments

Even before the NC General Assembly drafted and passed legislation to help businesses, public facilities and NC citizens that have been so greatly affected by COVID-19 concerns, the State Board of Opticians reviewed news information and data, discussed options with neighboring states and considered options for how to ease burdens for those regulated by Board statute and rule.

Having received approval on April 9 for Emergency Rule 21 NCAC 40 .0113 Waiver, the Board took the following actions at its meeting on April 22:

  • Licensee ConEd Requirements Waived for 2020 - Attendance at ConEd seminars, and obtaining CE hours for renewal is not required during 2020.

    • Licensees who obtained CECs prior to issuance of Stay at Home Order may use the credits for renewal before December 31, 2021.
    • Education providers may, at their discretion, reschedule and conduct earlier-approved but cancelled seminars, so long as they adhere to any continuing State and/or Local Orders regarding seminar capacity, environmental hygiene and attendee distancing. As seminars are rescheduled, the Board will update the Approved CE Events listing information found on this site.
      • Licensees who attend such seminars after the easing or cancellation of State and/or Local Orders may use the credits for renewal before December 31, 2021.

Rulemaking has begun...

...for permanent changes to Business/OIC rule, and changes to licensees' ConEd requirements, all proposed to be effective November, 2020.


Rule 21 NCAC 40 .0202 Registration of Place of Business and Optician in Charge
was inadvertently not completed as Permanent, being resubmitted with this action for completion as Permanent Rule.

Rule 21 NCAC 40 .0206 Professional Responsibility; Continuing Education has revisions proposed for changes to licensees' required continuing education, allowing a maximum of 50% of total required ConEd hours to be obtained online. Categorization of required hours, methods for attendance-verification and course approval are contained in the revision. Licensees received an e-blast with details on July 15.

The Public Comment Period for these two actions has been established as July 16 - September 14.

  • Written comments (referencing Rule .0202 and/or Rule .0206) may be submitted to the Board by mail to PO Box 6758, Raleigh NC 27628-6758.

  • Comments (with appropriate Rule references) can be emailed to shodgin@ncopticiansboard.org.

  • Concerned individuals may also present comments at a Public Hearing scheduled for Tuesday, August 4th, beginning at 10:30 AM via teleconference. For participation, call in (605) 472-5447 and enter access code 906806.


Opticianry Emerging from the Pandemic

The State Board of Opticians encourages optical places of business to adhere to all State and Local Orders regarding distancing and hygiene practices. Though public protection is foremost among the Board' responsibilities, it recognizes that the dispensaries keeping to quality protective-practices will benefit both the facilities, the employees and the public.

The Opticians Association of America (OAA) has published guidance for dispensaries as they transition into operation in the post-COVID world. It contains helpful info from the CDC, and some educational articles and suggestions from peer-opticians.

Preparing to Re-open Click Here The practice of opticianry is going to look a little different for a while.

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.

 

Dispensary Operational Changes

Anyone needing help from an optical dispensary should first call to see if they're open, able to assist and have specific requirements for visiting the dispensary.

 


Precautions for Certification and Licensure Testing

Working with Prometrics, the ABO/NCLE has made registration, testing-date and testing-processes changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the May testing window. Prometrics has initiated remote-proctoring availability for the Basic portions of the testing. These changes have been approved by the NC State Board of Opticians.

Testing registrants are encouraged to go directly to the ABO/NCLE site for the latest info on schedules and processes. https://www.abo-ncle.org/ABO/Default.aspx?hkey=ef58974b-0beb-4053-83b3-af6d27b911fd&WebsiteKey=d5d228e8-d8eb-4bf2-b9ae-b3574a126f73

 

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.