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General Laws

Section 66B. Any registered optometrist, qualified by examination for practice under the provisions of section 68 subsequent to January 1, 1994, duly certified in accordance with the provisions of section 68B and duly registered to issue written prescriptions in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (h) of section 7 of chapter 94C may, for the purpose of preventing, correcting, managing or treating ocular diseases or abnormalities, utilize and prescribe therapeutic pharmaceutical agents; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall be construed to permit optometric use of therapeutic pharmaceutical agents which are: (a) controlled substances as described by Title 21 U.S.C. Section 812 or in chapter 94C, except for those listed in schedule VI; (b) pharmaceutical agents administered by subdermal injection, intramuscular injection, intravenous injection, subcutaneous injection or retrobulbar injection; (c) pharmaceutical agents for the specific treatment of systemic disease; and (d) invasive surgical procedures.

If, during the course of examining or treating a patient with the aid of a diagnostic or therapeutic pharmaceutical agent, an optometrist, exercising professional judgment and that degree of expertise, care and knowledge ordinarily possessed and exercised by optometrists under like circumstances, determines the existence of the signs of previously unevaluated disease which requires treatment not included in the scope of optometric practice as defined in section 66, such optometrist shall refer such patient to a licensed physician or other qualified health care practitioner. Optometrists may utilize and prescribe nonlegend agents.

For the purposes of this section and section 68B, the term “therapeutic pharmaceutical agents” shall mean those topical pharmaceutical agents in schedule VI required for the diagnosis, prevention, management or treatment of abnormal ocular conditions or diseases as defined in section 66, except glaucoma.

This section shall not be construed to prohibit an optometrist from the in-office dispensing and sale of therapeutic contact lenses as long as the medication contained in such lenses is within the profession’s designated scope of practice.

For the purposes of this section, “therapeutic contact lenses” shall mean contact lenses which contain 1 or more medications and which deliver such medication to the eye.

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