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


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 authorizes 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.  Governor Hochul signed the bill into law on October, 25th, 2021.

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.

Next Steps - Implementing the Orals Bill

The NY 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. 

The orals certification course and exam will be available in 2023.  The earliest an optometrist can prescribe an oral medication, after successfully completing the course and passing the exam, will be October 25th, 2023.  We will keep the optometric community updated on the course and exam rollout.

Video Update: Current Legislative Priorities

NYSOA is happy to report that as of today, June 29th 2022, NYS added a new class of drugs, Rho kinase inhibitors, to the list of drugs that an optometrist certified to use phase two therapeutic pharmaceutical agents may use and prescribe to treat patients, in accordance with the Commissioner of Health’s recommendation.  Please see the update to our scope in the NYS Register available here.

Ensuring optometrists can provide the best and most current care to our patients, this victory follows the passage of our orals bill in 2021 - which will go into effect in 2023.  Be on the lookout for more updates regarding the orals course and exam as they become available later this year.  

If you have any questions, please contact NYSOA's Executive Director, Thomas J. Coté, MBA, CAE at [email protected].