Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the difference between an optometrist, ophthalmologist, and an optician?
A: Doctors of optometry (i.e. OD’s) are independent primary health care providers who examine, diagnose, treat (if TPA certified) and manage diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures. Optometrists are highly educated and trained to diagnose disease and pathological conditions manifested in the human eye, such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. An ophthalmologist is a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating eye diseases. They also perform eye surgery and may prescribe corrective lenses. An optician fills prescription orders written by optometrists and ophthalmologists.
Q: Can I have my prescription for eyeglasses?
A: Yes. According to a Federal Trade Commission ruling, optometrists are required to give a patient a copy of his or her prescription immediately following an eye exam.
Q: Can I have my prescription for contact lenses?
A: Yes. The Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act, effective, February 4, 2004, requires an optometrist to release the contact lens prescription to the patient immediately following an eye exam and the contact lens fitting. A contact lens fitting is defined to mean the process beginning after an initial eye examination and ending when a successful fit has been achieved or, in the case of a renewal prescription, ending when it is determined that no change in prescription is required.
Q: How long does it take to become licensed?
A: The Board meets quarterly and reviews applications for license. All applications and supporting documents must be in the board office three weeks prior to the board meeting.
Q: How do I change my address?
A: You may contact the board office by fax (859) 246-2746 or e-mail
Q: How many hours of CE are required?
A: Fifteen (15) hours annually are required for therapeutic licenses; eight (8) hours annually for all others. Of the 15 hours required for therapeutic licenses, 7 hours must therapeutic hours.
Q: What is the timeframe for obtaining CE?
A: Continuing education is to be taken January 1 thru December 31 preceding the expiration date of March 1.
Q: What continuing education is acceptable for license renewal?
A: To be acceptable, the continuing education must be sponsored by a state, regional (multi-state like SECO) or national optometric association, an accredited school of optometry or an accredited school of medicine.
Q: Other than lecture classes, what other method can one use to complete acceptable continuing education for license renewal?
A: You can choose to take two hours annually from one of the following as long as the education is sponsored by a board-approved sponsor: 2 hours from the internet; or CD Rom; or correspondence; or audio digest.
Q: Can CE be carried over to the next renewal?
Q: How long does the Board keep copies of my continuing education certificates?
A: The Board office keeps the continuing education certificates for two years. You are encouraged to keep a copy of your CE certificates in order to document your education for other entities.
Q: How often is the HIV-AIDS course required for license renewal?
A: An approved one-hour HIV-AIDS course for optometrists is required every ten years. You will be required to take this course in 2009 for 2010 renewal. To obtain a list of approved courses from the Health and Family Services Cabinet, go to http://chs.ky.gov/publichealth/hiv-aids.htm and click on “Approved HIV-AIDS Continuing Education Courses.”
Q: How long are we responsible for patient records?
A: There is nothing in our law that addresses this. Some optometrists keep the records as long as they keep their business records for the IRS (generally 7-9 years) and some optometrists keep the records forever.
Q: Can I use the term “optometric physician”?
A: You may not use the term “optometric physician” without violating KRS Chapter 311. KRS 311.720 (9) states: “Physician” shall mean any person licensed to practice medicine in the Commonwealth or osteopathy pursuant to the provisions of KRS Chapter 311.
Q: How do I apply for a DEA application?
A: The number to call for a DEA mid-level practitioner application is 1-800-882-9539.
Q: Can I put my license in inactive status?
A: No. Kentucky does not have any provision in the law for inactive status for a license.
Q: Do I have to have a separate entrance to my practice?
A: KRS 320.350 states “No person shall practice optometry on premises not separate from premises whereon eyeglasses, lenses, eyeglass frames or any other merchandise or products are sole by any other person. Any room or suite of rooms in which optometry is practiced shall be considered separate premises if it has a separate and direct entrance from a street or public hallway or corridor within a building, which corridor is partitioned off by partitions from floor to ceiling.”
Q: Can I use the term “Board Certified”?
A: No. The Board only licenses optometrists who meet licensure requirements. There is no category of licensure status in Kentucky that would permit the use of the term “Board Certified”.