B.C. Reg. 33/2009
M46/2009
Deposited February 26, 2009
effective March 1, 2009

Health Professions Act

Optometrists Regulation

Note: Check the Cumulative Regulation Bulletin 2014
for any non-consolidated amendments to this regulation that may be in effect.

[includes amendments up to B.C. Reg. 200/2012, August 1, 2012]

Point in Time

Contents
 1 Definitions
 2 College name
 3 Reserved titles
 4 Scope of practice
 5 Restricted activities
 6 Limits or conditions on services and restricted activities
 7 Patient relations program
 8 Health profession corporations
Schedule

Definitions

1  In this regulation:

"Act" means the Health Professions Act;

"contact lens" means a lens or mold designed or offered for the purpose of being placed on the cornea or other anterior surface of an eye to correct the refractive error of, or induce physiological change in, the eye;

"contact lens fitter" has the same meaning as in the Opticians Regulation, B.C. Reg. 287/2008;

"contact lens record" means the record, prepared by a person authorized under the Act to fit a contact lens, of the contact lens specifications derived from fitting a contact lens using information contained in a prescription for a corrective eyeglass lens;

"diagnostic drug" means a drug that is

(a) specified in Schedule I or II of the Drug Schedules Regulation, B.C. Reg. 9/98,

(b) included in a category in the Schedule of this regulation, and

(c) to be administered in accordance with section 5 (1) (d);

"dispense"  

(a) in respect of a diagnostic drug or therapeutic pharmaceutical agent, has the same meaning as in the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act, but excludes a sale, as defined in that Act, and

(b) in respect of a vision appliance, means to design, prepare, fit, adjust, verify or supply the vision appliance;

"electronic" has the same meaning as in the Electronic Transactions Act;

"fit" means, in respect of a contact lens,

(a) to select or recommend the design and type required, or

(b) to perform any tests related to assessing physiological safety or suitability;

"interpupillary distance" means one or more measurements of the distance between the pupils of the eyes, as will be required for the proper fitting of corrective eyeglasses;

"optometry" means the health profession in which a person provides the services of

(a) assessment of the eye or vision system through the use of instruments, devices, diagnostic drugs or other means,

(b) treatment, management or prevention of

(i)   disorders of refraction,

(ii)   sensory or ocular motor disorders, or

(iii)   diseases or disorders of the eye or anatomical structures directly related to the vision system, and

(c) dispensing vision appliances;

"prescribe" means,

(a) in respect of a therapeutic pharmaceutical agent, to issue a "prescription" as defined in the Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act, and

(b) in respect of a vision appliance, to issue an authorization to dispense for use by a named individual;

"prescription" means, in respect of a vision appliance, the record of an authorization to dispense for use by a named individual, but does not include a contact lens record;

"prescription for a corrective eyeglass lens" means the record, derived from an eye health examination and prepared by a registrant, of an authorization to dispense a corrective eyeglass lens for use by a named individual, that sets out

(a) the lens power required to correct the refractive error of an eye, and

(b) reading add, prisms, back vertex distance and contraindications;

"primary care practitioner" means the medical practitioner or nurse practitioner who is a patient's primary health care provider;

"qualified medical practitioner" means a medical practitioner who is authorized under the Act to provide eye and vision system health services;

"substance" includes water and excludes a drug specified in Schedule I, IA, II or IV of the Drug Schedules Regulation;

"supply" does not include a wholesale transaction;

"therapeutic pharmaceutical agent" means a drug that is

(a) specified in Schedule I or II of the Drug Schedules Regulation,

(b) included in a category described in the Schedule of this regulation, and

(c) to be administered

(i)   topically in accordance with section 5 (1) (e), or

(ii)   orally in accordance with section 5 (1) (f);

"verify" means to inspect and confirm, before supplying to the named individual, that the following specifications are met:

(a) in the case of a corrective eyeglass lens, the specifications set out in the prescription for the corrective eyeglass lens;

(b) in the case of a contact lens, the specifications set out in the contact lens record;

"vision appliance" means an appliance or a device designed or offered for a vision condition,

(a) including a corrective eyeglass lens, contact lens or low vision aid, and

(b) excluding complete ready-to-wear eyeglasses not designed or offered for use by a named individual.

[am. B.C. Regs. 93/2009, ss. (a) to (c); 117/2010, s. 1; 200/2012, s. 1.]

College name

2  The name "College of Optometrists of British Columbia" is the name of the college established under section 15 (1) of the Act for optometry.

Reserved titles

3  (1) The titles "optometrist" and "doctor" are reserved for exclusive use by registrants.

(2) This section does not prevent a person from using

(a) the title "doctor" in a manner authorized by another enactment that regulates a health profession, or

(b) an academic or education designation that the person is entitled to use.

Scope of practice

4  A registrant may practise optometry.

Restricted activities

5  (1) A registrant in the course of practising optometry may do any of the following:

(a) make a diagnosis identifying, as the cause of signs or symptoms of an individual,

(i)   a disorder of refraction,

(ii)   a sensory or ocular motor disorder, or

(iii)   a disease or disorder of an eye or an anatomical structure directly related to the vision system;

(b) for the purpose of removing a superficial foreign body from an eye, perform a procedure on tissue

(i)   below the dermis,

(ii)   below the surface of a mucous membrane, or

(iii)   in or below the surface of the cornea;

(c) administer a substance by irrigation for the purpose of treating a disorder of a tear duct;

(c.1) apply ultrasound for the purpose of measuring the thickness of a cornea;

(d) for the purpose of making a diagnosis under paragraph (a),

(i)   dispense a diagnostic drug in a form to be administered topically, or

(ii)   administer topically a diagnostic drug;

(e) for the purpose of general therapeutic treatment or care,

(i)   prescribe or dispense a therapeutic pharmaceutical agent in a form to be administered topically, or

(ii)   administer topically a therapeutic pharmaceutical agent;

(f) for the purpose of emergency treatment only of angle closure glaucoma,

(i)   prescribe or dispense a therapeutic pharmaceutical agent in a form to be administered orally, or

(ii)   administer orally a therapeutic pharmaceutical agent;

(g) prescribe a vision appliance;

(h) fit a contact lens;

(i) supply a contact lens for the purpose of fitting a contact lens.

(2) Only a registrant may provide a service of optometry as set out in this regulation if, on the day before this section comes into force, the provision of the same service under the Optometrists Act by anyone other than a person authorized under that Act was prohibited.

(3) The following services may be provided only by registrants or under the supervision of a registrant by persons who are not registrants:

(a) fitting a contact lens;

(b) supplying a contact lens for the purpose of fitting a contact lens.

(4) Despite subsection (2), nothing in this regulation prevents a person from doing anything described in section 5 (3) of the Opticians Regulation.

[am. B.C. Regs. 93/2009, s. (d); 117/2010, s. 2; 200/2012, s. 2.]

Limits or conditions on services and restricted activities

6  (1) A registrant may prescribe, dispense or administer a therapeutic pharmaceutical agent only if the registrant has successfully completed a certification program established, required or approved under the bylaws to ensure that registrants are qualified and competent to perform those restricted activities.

(2) A registrant must notify a patient's primary care practitioner, if known to the registrant, on prescribing, dispensing or administering a therapeutic pharmaceutical agent for or to the patient.

(2.1) A registrant, in respect of a patient,

(a) may perform an activity described in section 5 (1) (f) only

(i)   if a qualified medical practitioner is not readily available to examine the patient, and

(ii)   to the extent reasonably required for emergency treatment until the patient can be examined by a qualified medical practitioner, and

(b) must refer the patient to a qualified medical practitioner immediately after performing an activity described in section 5 (1) (f).

(3) A registrant must provide, free of charge, a legible written or electronic copy of the following to the named individual, whether or not requested by the named individual, and to another person specified by the named individual, if requested by the named individual:

(a) the prescription for a corrective eyeglass lens, if any, on completion of the eye health examination, and

(b) the contact lens record, on completion of the fitting.

(4) In a prescription for a corrective eyeglass lens provided under subsection (3), a registrant

(a) must not, in any manner, express or imply that only a registrant or qualified medical practitioner, or a person acting under delegation from or supervision of a registrant or qualified medical practitioner, is authorized or qualified to dispense a corrective eyeglass lens using information contained in the prescription,

(b) must inform the named individual that the prescription is not a prescription for a contact lens,

(c) must, unless a specific contraindication for the wearing of contact lenses by the named individual is set out in the prescription, inform the named individual that

(i)   a contact lens may be fitted and dispensed using information contained in the prescription, and

(ii)   only a registrant, qualified medical practitioner or contact lens fitter, or a person acting under delegation from or supervision of a registrant, qualified medical practitioner or contact lens fitter, is authorized to fit a contact lens,

(d) must advise the named individual to return to a registrant or qualified medical practitioner if the individual experiences any persistent physiological problems with a corrective eyeglass lens or contact lens that has been dispensed using information contained in the prescription, and

(e) must set out the named individual's interpupillary distance, as measured at the time of the eye health examination.

(5) Subsection (4) (e) does not apply to a registrant

(a) who does not engage in the dispensing of corrective eyeglass lenses, and

(b) whose practice of optometry is not associated or affiliated with another person who engages in the dispensing of corrective eyeglass lenses.

(6) A registrant must provide to an individual, free of charge and whether or not requested by the individual, a legible written or electronic copy of any prescription or contact lens record provided to the registrant by the individual for the purpose of dispensing a vision appliance.

[am. B.C. Regs. 93/2009, s. (e); 117/2010, s. 3; 200/2012, s. 3.]

Patient relations program

7  The college is designated for the purposes of section 16 (2) (f) of the Act.

Health profession corporations

8  Part 4 of the Act applies to optometry.

Schedule

[am. B.C. Reg. 200/2012, s. 4.]

Diagnostic Drugs and Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agents

Category Description
1 Mydriatics
2 Cycloplegics
3 Miotics
4 Anti-allergy medications
5 Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications
6 Corticosteroids
7 Anti-bacterial and anti-viral medications
8 Topical anaesthetics
9 Anti-glaucoma medications

[Provisions relevant to the enactment of this regulation: Health Professions Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 183, sections 12 (2) and 55]