Optometry Scope of Practice and Legislation in New York

nysoaUpdated: March 2020

As you know, optometry is a legislated profession and what optometrists can and can’t do is governed by state law. In the state of New York, the Trustees and members of the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA) have been working hard to expand the scope of practice for optometrists in the state. In addition to continual focus on fighting disruptive technologies and monitoring the federal Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA) and Unilateral Pricing Policy legislation in New York, the NYSOA has been hard at work with legislators and ophthalmologists on our oral medications bill (New York is one of only TWO states without this authority – the other being Massachusetts). Here is an overview of optometry’s current robust scope of practice in New York:

New York State Optometrists CAN:

  • Perform dilation and irrigation
  • Diagnose and treat glaucoma with topical drugs
  • Co-manage surgical patients

New York State Optometrists CANNOT:

  • Prescribe oral medications of any kind (including oral steroids)
  • Perform injections of any kind (including treatment for anaphylaxis)
  • Perform laser surgery, such as YAG, LASIK, PRK, SLT, and LPI
  • Perform foreign body removals and punctual occlusions
  • Order imaging such as an MRI, CT scan, or X-ray

The optometrists in the state of New York work hard to progress the scope of optometry forward. This is proof that the doctors who advocate in the state legislature for optometry aren’t doing it for themselves. They are doing it for us, the future optometrists, and more importantly, for their patients. It is our responsibility as future doctors to preserve optometry’s professional health for the next generation of ODs through involvement and membership in the AOSA and in state affiliates of the AOA. By joining a professional organization like the NYSOA, you take an active role in preserving the health and longevity of our profession.

For more information about the scope of practice of optometry in other states, check out other articles in our legislative series and this infographic by newgradoptometry.com!

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