Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Practice Information
- Practice Information (below)
- Telehealth Information (scroll down)
- Board Staff Telecommuting Information (scroll down)
- Live Continuing Education Requirements (scroll down)
Practice Information: COVID-19 Guidance
Optometrists should follow the applicable infectious control procedures including:
- Create and implement COVID-19 optometric office procedures that include:
- Patient pre-schedule screening protocol;
- In office screening protocol for patients and optometric personnel;
- Office transmission-based infection control precautions; and
- Protocol if optometric personnel suspect an exposure to COVID-19.
- Conduct optometric personnel training regarding your COVID-19 office procedures.
- Optometric personnel should adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Standard Precautions which address hand hygiene, use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), having properly disinfected instruments and devices, and cleaning and disinfecting environmental surfaces.
Optometrists should follow the applicable infectious control procedures in:
- Governor’s Report To Open Texas (https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/organization/opentexas/OpenTexas-Report.pdf)
- Infection Control Guidance for Healthcare Professionals recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/infection-control-recommendations.html)
- OSHA Guidance for Specific Industries (https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/controlprevention.html#interim)
See this specific link regarding CDC information on wearing masks and if appropriate, additional personal protective equipment. This document includes work restrictions should a patient or practitioner/office personnel not wearing appropriate face/eye protection subsequently confirms as positive for COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-risk-assesment-hcp.html
This is an additional link to CDC recommendations regarding patient screening and use of masks by patients and staff: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/infection-control-recommendations.html
CDC guidance for the facilities of a health care provider that might be useful: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/pharmacies.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fhealthcare-resources%2Fpharmacies.html
The Texas Department of State Health Services website has a special section devoted to COVID-19 (www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus)
Optometrists may also want to review:
- CMS Recommendations Re-opening Facilities to Provide Non-emergent Non-COVID-19 Healthcare: Phase I (https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-flexibility-reopen-essential-non-covid-services.pdf)
- AOA Optometry Practice Reactivation Preparedness Guide (https://www.aoa.org/optometry-practice-reactivation-preparedness-guide)
Rule §279.15: The Board adopted on an emergency basis these amendments in response to the Governor’s Executive Order GA 19:
§279.15. Board Interpretation Number Fifteen.
. . .
(b) Practice during the period covered by the Governor’s COVID-19 Disaster Declaration. The minimum standards for safe practice for optometrists during the COVID-19 disaster shall be compliance with the appropriate Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines and The Governor’s Report to Open Texas.
The Governor has authorized the temporarily suspension of Sections (a) – (g) of Board Rule 22 T.A.C. §279.16. The temporary suspension will allow a therapeutic optometrist with a preexisting practitioner-patient relationship to, within the scope of the therapeutic optometrist’s license, provide telehealth services to a patient at a different physical location than the therapeutic optometrist by using telecommunications or information technology. The therapeutic optometrist must obtain clinical information from the patient’s relevant medical records and clinically relevant photographic or video images, including diagnostic images; or from the patient’s relevant medical records and laboratory or pathology results. The telehealth service is subject to the standard of care that would apply to the provision of the same health care service or procedure in an in-person setting.
This suspension is in effect until terminated by the Office of the Governor or until the March 13, 2020 disaster declaration is lifted or expires.
Optometry Board Staff Information
Staff members of the Optometry Board are currently telecommuting to work.
Please use the following link to contact the Board by e-mail: Board E-Mail
Unfortunately, during this period we will be unable to answer your telephone inquiries, so please e-mail the Board. We also will not be able to look at faxes on a regular basis. You can scan documents and attach to an e-mail, or take a picture with your phone and attach to an e-mail.
Board Staff appreciates your cooperation.
Live Continuing Education Requirements
The Board approves Live Webinars for live CE Credit. A live webinar allows interaction between the presenter and attendees. Courses are listed on the Board’s website with the location listed as “Live Webinar.” Note that live credit may only be obtained by attending the course on the dates listed. There may be COPE approved Live Webinars that are not listed but will be subsequently approved by the Board for live credit.
Who is my optometrist?
He is a Doctor of Optometry licensed and educated to determine powers of vision and write contact lens and eyeglass prescriptions. She most likely is licensed as a Therapeutic Optometrist and an Optometric Glaucoma Specialist.
Your Therapeutic Optometrist treats eye disorders and disease, prescribes medication, and may provide pre and post-op care for laser surgery.
Your Optometric Glaucoma Specialist is a Therapeutic Optometrist licensed to treat glaucoma.
What is the Optometry Board?
The Texas Optometry Board is a state agency authorized by the Texas Optometry Act to regulate the practice of optometry. The Optometry Act requires the Board to carefully screen applicants for an optometry license, insure that optometrists are eligible to renew their license on an annual basis, set fees, and investigate complaints. The Board has adopted rules to explain and enforce state law.
Use the “Quicklinks” or the top pull-down menus to find the information you need.