Advocacy

The AOA and the NYSOA are the only organizations advocating for both your patients’ health and your professional success. We are shaping the way optometry is viewed by the media, government, our medical colleagues, insurers and industry, as well as the public at large.

The NYSOA is headquartered in Albany and keeps a close eye on key decision-making and regulatory operations affecting optometrists in New York State. Each legislative session we track and monitor dozens of bills, and we retain an outstanding team of legal and legislative counsel with special expertise in areas affecting the practice of optometry. Our Annual Optometry Advocacy Day event brings optometrists and students from across the state to meet with legislators and educate them on important issues.

In addition to legislation, numerous state agencies and authorities regulate the practice of optometry and impact your ability to make a living. The NYSOA serves as your watchdog and representative with the State Board for Optometry, NYSED Office of the Professions, Department of Health, Department of Financial Services, Office of the Attorney General and others.

Our priorities include:

  • Securing scope of practice gains
  • Keeping patients safe and ensuring patient access
  • Fighting discrimination by insurers and third parties
  • Addressing telehealth and new technologies

Orals Bill Update: Timeframe for Action

The New York State legislation to authorize optometrists to prescribe certain oral medications in the treatment of their patients’ eye conditions overwhelmingly passed the State Assembly in June, following a near-unanimous approval by the State Senate in March.  The next step in the process is for the bill to be delivered to Governor Andrew Cuomo for approval (or veto).  There is no specific date for the bill to be delivered to the Governor, and it may be delivered to him up until December 31, 2021; although we expect it will be sooner than the very end of the calendar year. 

Once the bill is signed into law, as we hope and expect, it will take effect 2 years thereafter.  During that intervening two-year period, the State Education Department will adopt regulations to implement the provisions of the bill and create the course and examination for optometrists who wish to become certified to use oral medications.  The NYSOA will be working closely with the State Education Department during this period and we will have additional updates throughout this process.

NYSOA Achieves Landmark Passage of Orals Bill by NYS Legislature

On June 9, 2021, the New York State Assembly passed legislation (A.1921/S.1519) which would authorize optometrists to prescribe certain oral medications in the treatment of their patients. This action followed that of the State Senate, which passed the bill in March. The bill passed the Assembly by an overwhelming margin of 138 Assemblymembers in favor and only 10 opposed.

Although the bill must still be acted upon by the Governor, which we expect will occur sometime in the next few months, this is an important milestone for the optometric profession in New York State.   

We are especially grateful for our bill sponsors, Assemblymember Amy Paulin and Senator Jamaal Bailey, for their tireless efforts on our behalf. We are also deeply appreciative of the many sponsors and supporters of this legislation in the Senate and the Assembly – as their demonstrated support and “yes” votes allowed the bill to progress through a gauntlet of five committees and two floor votes this year.

Our biggest thanks is for the leadership and members of the NYSOA who, over the years this legislation has been pending, have participated in hundreds of meetings with, and sent thousands of emails and made numerous phone calls to, legislators – all in an effort to educate them about the practice of optometry and the importance of having oral medications available to treat their patients’ eye conditions. This bill is a critical step in ensuring all patients in need of medical eye care have access to the treatment that is the standard of care throughout the nation.

If approved by the Governor, the State Education Department will be responsible for implementing the law, and the NYSOA will work closely with the agency to ensure that it does so timely and effectively. Please click the links below to familiarize yourself with the specific changes to New York's optometry law that will take place once bill is enacted.

Orals Bill Resources

Video Update: Current Legislative Priorities

Please click below for additional information about our current initiatives!