CONNECTICUT OPTICIANS ASSOCIATION

Welcome to the Connecticut Opticians Association

Since our founding in 1935, the Connecticut Opticians Association has been dedicated to promoting the highest possible standard of honor, integrity, and professionalism for opticianry in the state of Connecticut.  Due to the diligence of our founding members, Connecticut was the first state in the nation to license opticians, and we consider our obligation to the profession and to the patients of Connecticut to be an ongoing process of improvement and maintenance of the highest possible standards.

Experience Counts!    click to see A History of Our First 50 Years.

There is only one Connecticut Opticians Association. Don't be confused by any other organization in Connecticut using a similar name. 

We hold that opticians and opticianry are a vital part of the health care delivery system, and as a professional organization representing all opticians, no matter who you are, or where you practice, we encourage, provide, and promote standards of optical competence, knowledge and performance through the development of educational programs, training, and credentialing of optical personnel.

We encourage all practicing Connecticut opticians and students of opticianry to join us in our efforts. 
We support you, no matter who you are or where you practice!

Announcements

WARBY PARKER SEEKS STATUTORY CHANGES  (January 25, 2021)

Warby Parker has drafted a proposal, hoping to have it presented to the Public Health Committee of the Connecticut legislature. If passed it will change the way opticianry is practiced in Connecticut.
 
Founded in 2010, Warby-Parker began operating exclusively as an online retailer of prescription eyewear and sunglasses. In 2013, they opened their first brick-and-mortar store. Headquartered in New York City, they currently have three physical stores in Connecticut
 
Having “found it challenging to find licensed, qualified opticians to staff our two stores,” Warby Parker has requested changing the Connecticut optician scope of practice by, Updating Connecticut’s Dispensing Optician Statute.
 
PROPOSAL OVERVIEW
 
Updating Licensing Requirements
 
• Splitting our scope of practice by separating eyewear and contact lenses. This would create a two tier license. Contact Lenses would become an optional license obtained after successful completion of an exam administered at no additional charge.
 
• Reduce apprenticeship from 4 years to two years and allow for a combination of an 18 month apprenticeship with the completion of one year education program approved by the Board. 
 
• Licensing exams to be administered quarterly.
 
Updating Optician Regulation
 
• Waive education & training requirements for opticians “duly” licensed in other states
 
• Erroneously states that apprentices are not allowed to dispense glasses, “even under the supervision of a licensed optician.”
 
• Allow registered apprentices to dispense glasses during “customary absence [of the optician] such as sick days and vacation, etc."
 
• In addition to the “proposed exemption for customary absences, [of the optician] stores should be allowed to remain open to try-on frames and picking up on-line orders, etc.
 
If this proposal finds a sponsor and is ultimately made into law, it will have a negative impact on opticianry school graduates and current license holders. If adopted, it will contradict our statutory mandate to protect public health, welfare and safety. (CGS Chpt 381; Sec 20-139)
 
The Connecticut Opticians Association founded in 1934 and representing the majority of opticians in Connecticut, opposes the restructuring of our educational standards and scope of practice to satisfy the request of an out-of-state corporation for its own pecuniary benefits.
 
Be assured, your COA has been, and will continue to be, diligent in following the progress of this proposal as Warby Parker seeks a sponsor.

LICENSING EXAM UPDATE  (December 09, 2020)

At its regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 7th The CT Board of Examiners for Opticians met to discuss ways to safely move forward with the practical exam and to discuss requirements for continuing education credits. The BOE was presented with three options to move forward with licensing.
 
The Board had developed a plan to hold the practical exam with methods it felt were within safety guidelines issued by the Governor. However, the Department of Public Health determined that given the current state of the COVID pandemic it would be unsafe to offer a face-to-face practical exam. Recognizing that Connecticut’s positivity rate is climbing, the Board agreed with the department’s assessment.
 
After much discussion seeking alternatives, the BOE agreed to temporarily accept the ABO & NCLE virtual practical exams only during the current state of emergency in the state. Historically and unanimously, the board has repeatedly rejected use of the ABO/NCLE virtual exam to replace the current practical examination.
 
Once the emergency orders are lifted, the BOE voted to reinstate the standard practical exam. This seems to be the most prudent and fair way to move forward.
 
Jim Morris, Executive Director of the ABO-NCLE, and the Department requested that candidates wishing to take the virtual exam, wait a few days to provide sufficient time to get the paperwork in place. Candidates eligible for licensure may then contact the DPH to inquire about procedures to complete licensing. 
 
Some eligible (state exam) candidates have already taken the virtual exams in case this decision was made. They should also allow ample time for the DPH to sort out necessary procedures.
 
The normal requirements for sitting for the state licensure exam still apply (successful completion of a board approved 2 year Associate’s Degree from an accredited opticianry program, or 8,000 hours/4 years of supervised apprenticeship and successful completion of both the ABO and NCLE basic certification exams.
 
There are currently 32 applicants eligible for the eyewear (ABO) practical exam and 23 eligible for the contact lens (NCLE) practical exam.
 
Candidates may take the ABO/NCLE virtual practical exam when they chose. There is no set time required by the State of Connecticut.
 
Again, this is a temporary situation until the emergency orders by the governor are lifted.
 
On the topic of Continuing Education Requirements, the BOE requested a clarification of CT. Gen. Statute 20-146(c)-3; which states in part that CEC’s must be “…face-to-face didactic instruction…” .
 
It was determined that with current technology, a “Zoom” type seminar qualifies as face-to-face instruction. The sponsoring agency must have a method to periodically monitor course attendance and will only grant a CEC after completion of the full seminar requirements. All courses must be approved by ABO/NCLE.
We will keep you informed when more information is available.
 
Stay safe.
 
Jenney T. Rivard, LO, FCLSA
Member, Board of Examiners for Opticians

LICENSE RENEWAL DURING COVID  (November 06, 2020)

State of CT Department of Public Health – Public Health Services

Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 7O on March 27, 2020, which authorized the Department of Public Health commissioner to suspend license renewal and inspection requirements during the COVID-19 civil preparedness emergency.   

The DPH commissioner issued an order on March 30, 2020, suspending the requirements for license renewal which became effective immediately and will continue through the duration of the COVID-19 civil preparedness emergency. 

If a license was active on or after March 30, 2020, the license will not expire during the COVID-19 civil preparedness emergency.

Licensees will be able to renew the license at any time now and during the six-month period following the date of the resumption of the renewal requirements.

DPH will continue to send you renewal notices periodically that will allow you to renew your license should you choose not to at this time. 

When the time comes for renewal, licensees will be responsible for paying all back fees due