Optometry Board Heading
Licensing Doctors of Optometry and Regulating the Practice of Optometry

Information Topics
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A ADAB Board CertificationC CED Deaf Patients
 Addictions Board Meetings Child Abuse DEA Registration
 Address (change) Business Type Children Disability License Plates
 AIDS Complaint Sign Disaster
 Advertising Complaints Disciplinary Action
 Confidential Information DPS Permit
 Contact Lens "Dr."
 Controlled Substances Drivers (auto)
 Corporation Drug
 Criminal Conviction 
E EmergencyF Family ViolenceH HIVI Inactive License
 Fees HIPAA Inspections
 Finding Optometrist House Bill 300
 Free Eye Exams
 Free Glasses
L LawM Medicare / MedicaidN Name (change/display)O Opening Office
 Licenses Mental Health Newsletters Opticians
 Lists (optometrists) Military Service NPI Number Optometric Glaucoma Spec.
 Minor Children
P PartnershipR Renewal CertificateS Sales TaxT "T"
 Patient, Confidential Info Renewals "TG"
 Patient Records Retired License Tamper Resistant Rx
 Permits Rules Therapeutic License
 Poison Control
 Professional Identification
U UPIN or NPI NumberV Verification
 Vision Screening

This information is provided as a service to licensees by Board Staff. It is not intended as legal advice and should not be considered as an official statement, opinion, order or rule of the Board. The Board does not control or verify the information provided in links to other organizations.
ADA Americans With Disabilities Act: An optometrist's office may be a public accommodation under the ADA and required to provide services without discrimination to people with disabilities. The United States Department of Justice enforces the law. Their website listing ADA publications is at this link: DOJ website. See also "HIV" and/or "Deaf Patient" below.
Addiction Optometrists or Students: Licensees and optometry school students may utilize the Board's Peer Assistance Program.
Patients: The Pharmacy Board Website has information on the dangers of prescribing pain medication.
Address Changes: State law requires all licensees to notify the Board within 30 days of any address change -- home or office. Changes are accepted by fax (512-305-8501), telephone (512-305-8500), mail or an e-mail to the address on the bottom of every page of the website.
Address Changes to Profile: See "Profile" below.
Texas Optometry Board Address: Texas Optometry Board, 333 Guadalupe Street, Suite 2-420, Austin, Texas 78701.
Advertising The Board Newsletters contain important information on advertising. The February 2012 Newsletter is focused on advertising issues. See Sections 351.155, 351.403, 351.404 of the Optometry Act.
AIDS See "HIV" below.
Board Certification Voluntary procedure available to doctors which is not a requirement for renewing or maintaining a Texas optometry license. Optometrists certified by readily identifiable organizations may advertise that they are certified, provided that the same advertisement specifically identifies the organization that awarded the certification. The Board does not certify optometrists. See Board Rule 279.9.
Board Meetings The Optometry Board meets four times a year (see Calendar) to propose and adopt new rules, approve CE courses, and conduct disciplinary conferences.
Business Organization An optometrist may practice using one of several different types of business organizations. Each type of organization has very different tax consequences and different exposures to financial liability. In Section 351.366 of the Optometry Act, optometrists are given the authority to jointly own a business organization with a physician. Only optometrists or physicians can be owners of a business organization. For example, an optician cannot be a partner of an optometrist's professional partnership. This is a complex area and may require the advice of an attorney and/or an accountant.
CE Approved Courses: A list is available on website under the Table of Contents Entry: Continuing Education. All courses, including Internet courses, must be approved by Board.
Basic Requirements: See Continuing Education.
Checking Number of Hours: After the licensee has submitted the original CE certificate to the Board, an entry is made in the Board's database, and the information is then placed on the website so that every licensee can check on the CE hours they have submitted to the Board. Simply click on the link at the top of the Board's Home Page. The number of individual CE hours is also available by telephoning the Board. For a written report, see "Written Report" below.
Exemption: The first license renewal is exempt from continuing education.
Professional Responsibility: One hour in Professional Responsibility must be obtained each year. See CE Information page.
Submitting Course Attendance: The original document given to course attendees must be sent to the Board or faxed (512-305-8501). Some courses submit a list of attendees to the Board. Certificates for Internet courses must also be sent to the Board.
Written Report of Hours: A written report of courses taken is available for $15.00. See CE Report page.
Child Abuse An optometrist is required to report suspected child abuse or neglect within 48 hours of discovering the abuse. Section 261.101 of the Family Code. See the Department of Family and Protective Services website.
Children Consent to Treatment: Chapter 32 of the Family Code sets out the requirements for consent to treatment by a minor child or someone other than the parent.
Complaint Sign The Optometry Act requires the posting of a complaint sign visible to the public at every office. Board Rules allow as an alternative the display of the Patient Information Brochure. A complaint sign and a master copy for the brochure were included with your license. Contact the Board if you need a sign. The brochure is available on the Downloads page.
Complaints If a complaint is received against a licensee, the Board will send a copy of the complaint to the licensee and request that the licensee respond in writing to the complaint. The Board's investigator, in conjunction with the Investigation-Enforcement Committee (made up of Board Members) and the executive director, will investigate the complaint to determine whether there is a violation of the Optometry Act or Board Rules. Board rules require the licensee to respond within 14 days.
Contact LensDispensing Issues:
Federal: The Federal Trade Commission enforces the federal law. Their telephone number: 877-382-4357
Rx (including obligation to release): See Prescriptions
Therapeutic Contact Lens: House Bill 1740 amended the Pharmacy Act to allow optometrists to dispense contact lenses that contain medication. See the 2009 Board Newsletter
Confidential Information See Patient, Confidential Information below.
Controlled Substances Prescribing: For required permits please see Prescription Requirements. See these web pages for links to Board Rules (280.5 and 280.10) listing controlled substances that may be prescribed or administered by a therapeutic optometrist or an optometric glaucoma specialist.
Corporation See "Business Organization" above.
Criminal Convictions Criminal convictions, including deferred adjudications and probation, must be reported to the Board within 30 days of the court's action. See Board Rule 273.8.
Deaf Patients Requirements for Optometrists: The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires a doctor's office to provide auxiliary aids and services to patients who are deaf or hard of hearing. This may be as simple as using written materials, but may require contracting with a qualified interpreter for a particular patient. For specific information, call the federal government, 800-514-0301 (Department of Justice, ADA Matters), visit the DOJ website (this link is to ADA publications), call the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services: 512-407-3250 (office can refer to an interpreter if required), or the Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities: 512-463-5739.
DEA Registration Number Applications: For instructions and requirements, please see Prescribing Information.
Disability License Plates/Placards An optometrist is authorized to issue documents that would allow individuals (or persons on their behalf) with mobility problems caused by vision impairments to obtain disability placards or specialty license plates. A completed application along with a notarized statement or written prescription may be required. Please use this link for the application and instructions. For the text of the law, use this link: Senate Bill 1367.
Disaster See "Emergency" below.
Disciplinary Action Obtaining Information: Members of the public can either telephone the Board office and ask whether an optometrist has had disciplinary action, or may use this website to find the information under the Table of Contents heading "Disciplinary History." Insurance companies and verification companies may do the same.
DPS Permit Controlled Substance Permit. The DPS no longer issues a permit (as of August 31, 2016). See Prescribing Information.
"Dr." Use in Advertising, on Documents and any Professional Identification Subject to very strict requirements of state law (Healing Arts Identification Act). See especially the February 2012 Newsletter at the Newsletter page of the website. Permissible uses are also presented at the beginning of the Rules Booklet and the Texas Optometry Act Booklet available on this website.
Drivers Disability Tags: See "Disability License Plates/Placards" above.
Patients Who May be Impaired Drivers: An optometrist may report a patient who is not physically able to drive, but apparently is not required to do so by state law (however, check with legal counsel regarding malpractice liability for not reporting patient). The report may be made to DPS Medical Advisory Board.
Vision Requirements: See Department of Public Safety Rule 15.51.
Drugs Addiction: see "Addiction" above.
Controlled Substances: See "Controlled Substances" above.
General Information: The FDA has a general information page: FDA Drugs Site.
Oral Drugs: Only an optometric glaucoma specialist may prescribe oral drugs. See website.
Prescribing: Prescribing requirements, including categories of drugs that may be prescribed by therapeutic optometrists and glaucoma specialists, may be found on this web page.
Emergency Preparedness and Response: Information regarding measures that may be taken to prepare for an emergency such as a natural or man-made disaster may be found on this website at the Texas Department of State Health Services. The website includes information on responding to emergencies as well as information on volunteer opportunities at the Texas Disaster Volunteer Registry.
Family Violence An optometrist who treats injuries he or she suspects were caused by family violence is required to report the treatment in the patient records and give the patient information on nearest shelter and the statement required in Section 91.003 of the Family Code.
Fees Lists of Optometrists: $65.00; Verifications of license and good standing for other states and verifications of CE for other states: $15.00; Duplicates of lost licenses and renewal certificates: $25.00. Send check made out to "Texas Optometry Board" with request. 2016 license renewal fee is $209.00 for an active licensee and $209.00 for an inactive licenses.
Finding Optometrist See "Profiles" below.
Free Eye Exams Permissible, but advertisement needs to include all restrictions, such as "fee will be charged if glasses are not needed."
Free Glasses An optometrist cannot advertise or give away free eyeglasses (also applies to contacts). Can advertise "buy one pair, get one free." Section 351.404, Rule 273.3.
HIV Information from the Department of Justice states that individuals with HIV are protected under the ADA. Since an optometrist's office may be a public accommodation under the ADA, an optometrist may not be able to discriminate against patients with HIV/AIDS. This link is to a publication by the Department of Justice regarding this issue: HIV Publication. The website for the DOJ also lists other ADA publications: DOJ website.
HIPAA Federal law protecting privacy of a person's medical records. Since HIPAA is a federal law, questions should be directed to the federal government. Links are provided on the Optometry Board's Website: HIPAA.
HB 300 State law, regulating personal health information, found in Chapter 181 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, imposes additional duties, including staff training requirements, deadlines for providing copies of electronic records, and notice requirements for electronically transmitted records (See amendments to state law in House Bill 300).
Inactive LicenseA doctor not practicing optometry in Texas may renew as "inactive." An inactive license pays a reduced fee and is not required to obtain Continuing Education.
Inspections The Board has investigated offices and initial patient examinations for over 30 years. The current procedure requests doctors to give the Board's investigator copies of a few recent patient records -- only records of first time patients for whom an ophthalmic prescription was issued. These records are reviewed for compliance with Section 351.353 and Board Rule 277.7.
Law Practice of Optometry: The Texas Optometry Act is the source for the Optometry Board's regulation of optometry. Licensees must also comply with Board Rules adopted by the Optometry Board. Other laws affect the practice of optometry, including the Texas Contact Lens Prescription Act, the federal Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act, FTC rules regarding contact lens and spectacle dispensing, and HIPAA.
Changes: Changes to the Optometry Act and Board Rules are posted on the website under Board Meeting/ Agenda /New Rules after each Board Meeting and summarized yearly in the August Newsletter.
Licenses Copies The Board does not provide copies of licenses or renewal certificates for posting at additional offices. The Optometry Act requires display of the license and renewal certificate at the holder's principle office. Copies are available for a fee if the original license has been destroyed or lost, or the license holder's name has been legally changed.
Expiration: All licenses expire on December 31. The renewal procedure is discussed below at: "Renewals"
Verification: A license may be verified on the state's website
Verification for another state: When applying for a license to another state, a common requirement is to submit official license verifications from states in which the applicant is currently licensed or has been licensed. See Verification of License
Upgrades: Information on upgrading a license to therapeutic can be found at this page. Licensees wishing to upgrade from therapeutic to optometric glaucoma specialist should use the same link.
Lists Of Optometrists: Use this link
Medicare/ Medicaid Information on enrolling in Medicare: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Website, or CMS website for general information. Information on enrolling in Medicaid: Texas Medicaid & Healthcare Partnership (TMHP) website. Information on tamper resistant prescriptions: Prescriptions.
Mental Health Optometrists or Students: Licensees and optometry school students may utilize the Board's Peer Assistance Program.
Military Service Optometrists serving in the military are exempt from license fees and continuing education, but may "register" their license each year for credentialing purposes. Note: Certain branches of the military require their officers to obtain a least one fully paid license. In order to practice off base in Texas, a full active license fee must be paid. Rule 273.14 has an expedited licensing procedure for veterans, current members of armed services, and spouses of a person serving on active duty.
Minor Children Consent to Treatment: See "Children" above.
Moving To another state: See "Licenses" above regarding license verification. Links to other state websites can be found here: ARBO.
Closing an office: See August 2006 Newsletter.
NameChange: Doctors who change their name (by marriage or court order) should contact the Board to determine the effect of the change on their license.
Display: State law is very specific regarding the display of an optometrist's name on the office door, in advertising, or on prescription pads and billing statements. See "Dr." above.
Newsletters Annual newsletters are available on the website under the Table of Contents Entry: Newsletters. August 2016 is the most recent. The newsletters contain copies of new rules, important information regarding practice of optometry in compliance with the law, and disciplinary action.
NPI Number Unique identification numbers issued to doctors. Required, beginning in 2007, by HIPAA for some transactions. Issued by an organization, known as the enumerator, that the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services contracts with. Please go to this website for information on applying for: NPI Number.
Opening Office If the office is your principal office, your optometry license must be displayed. Every office must display a complaint sign or consumer pamphlet. See "Complaint Sign" above. The Governor's Website is a very good source for information on opening an office and starting a business. The website also discusses in general terms what type of permits may be required. Insurance on the premises and, of course, malpractice insurance, are also considerations.
Opticians Certification: There is no official certification in Texas by a state agency. The Commission on Paraoptometric Certification (a section of the American Optometric Association) does offer certifications. For information contact CPC at 800.365.2219 ext. 210, or the AOA's website.
Licensing: Opticians in Texas are not licensed.
Practice Information: Use this link.
Optometric Glaucoma SpecialistApplication for License: Applicants must complete an approved course (new graduates may be exempt - see requirements) and complete a skills evaluation. The University of Houston has been a sponsor in the past. Other sponsors are listed on Approved CE Page. Forms are available on the website.
Partnership See "Business Organization" above.
Patient, Confidential Information Confidentiality of Patient Information: An office will collect and maintain information from patients that is made confidential by state or federal law. See HIPAA above for information on the confidential status of patient records. Additional information obtained from patients, such as driver's license numbers and social security numbers, may also be confidential. See Chapter 521 of the Business and Commerce Code. Since much of this information is stored on computers, doctors should be aware of notice requirements should computer security be breached. See Chapter 521 of the Business and Commerce Code.
Copies / Release of Patient Records: Section 351.352 sets out the procedure for a patient to request a copy of his or her patient record. If the records are requested in electronic form, House Bill 300 imposes a deadline to comply with the request. The federal government imposes additional requirements under HIPAA (see HIPAA above).
Patient Creating Record -- Requirements: See Board Rule 277.7.
RecordsRetention: There is no specific requirement in the Texas Optometry Act on the length of time that a patient record must be retained. The following factors should be considered:
  • HIPAA has a six year requirement for maintaining notices, restriction requests and information release records: See 45 CFR 164.524, 164.528 and 164.530 and HIPAA reference above. Also see this information from Health and Human Services regarding a general retention requirement and record destruction requirements.
  • Malpractice lawsuits - statute of limitations (records for children might need to be maintained for a longer period). Check with attorney or malpractice insurance carrier for specific time requirements
  • Investigations by the Board - Section 351.501(b) limits disciplinary action for willfully or repeatedly violating the Optometry Act or Board Rules to acts occurring within four years of filing of a complaint by Board.
  • Third party providers - audit requirements of the provider
  • IRS - check with accountant or attorney for record keeping requirements
Permits See "Opening Office" above.
Poison Control Information on contacting Poison Control.
Prescriptions Contacts, spectacle, and drug prescription requirements are referenced at: Prescriptions. The link also discusses current federal requirements for tamper resistant Medicaid Prescriptions. Computer generated signatures are permissible, but only if the guidelines in Rules 279.2, 279.4 and 280.5 are followed. See page 7 of the August 2013 Newsletter.
Professional Identification See "Dr." above.
Profile Every optometrist (and health provider) has a practice profile on the Texas Professional Profiling System. Licensees may provide current information to Profiling System. The Board's website provides a link to the profiles page so that the public may access the profile. This website does not link to the Optometry Board. To comply with state law, first report any address changes directly to the Optometry Board (see "Address Changes" above).
Renewal Certificate Issued to each licensee after license is renewed. Duplicates can be provided upon payment of a $25 fee.
Renewals All licenses expire on December 31. Postcards are sent out the last week of October each year with instructions on renewing licenses. Licenses may be renewed on the Internet through this website starting November 1 of each year. If you wish to renew by mail, you can request a paper renewal form beginning November 1 of each year. Instructions on renewing are also in each August Newsletter.
Retired License The only retired license available is a license for doctors whose practice is limited to providing volunteer charity care. See "Volunteer" below. Doctors not practicing in Texas may renew as "inactive." There is a license renewal fee for inactive licenses.
Rules Adopted by the Board to clarify the Optometry Act. The rules are available on this page.
Sales Tax Contact the local office of the Comptroller of Public Accounts (in telephone book or 1-800-252-5555). You may search for "optometrist" on the Comptroller's website, but the website warns users to verify with the Comptroller whether the documents found are still correct.
T A "T" after license number shows the public and pharmacists that doctor can practice as a therapeutic optometrist.
TG A "TG" after license number shows the public and pharmacists that doctor can practice as a therapeutic optometrist and an optometric glaucoma specialist.
Tamper Resistant Prescriptions Use this link: Prescriptions. The link discusses current federal requirements for tamper resistant Medicaid Prescriptions.
Therapeutic License Upgrading: Information on upgrading a license to therapeutic can be found at this page.
UPIN or NPI Numbers See "NPI Number" above under "N".
Contact Lens Prescription: See "Contact Lens Rx" above.
VerificationLicense: A license may be verified on the state's website.
License (for another state): To obtain verification of license for another state, mail a request to the Board with $15.00 payment (check only). See the verifications page of the website.
Vision Screening License from Texas Department of State Health Services may be necessary to conduct required vision screenings (optometrists may be exempt). Some day care and possibly all entering school children must be screened. Reference: www.dshs.state.tx.us/vhs/rules.shtm
Volunteer License: A special retired license is available to doctors whose practice is limited to providing volunteer charity care. Requirements for this license are contained in Rule 273.7.
Emergency Response: See "Emergency" above.

The Board and the State of Texas make no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness, reliability or fitness for a particular use of the information on this web site. The user assumes all liability and waives any and all claims or causes of action against the Board and the State of Texas for all uses of, and any reliance on, this information. This paragraph shall accompany all distributions of this information and is incorporated into this information for all purposes.

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Last Updated: 10/20/2016
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