The Board of Registration in Optometry voted on March 16, 2011 to issue the following guideline.

Policy No. : 11-010

Purpose: To provide guidance to optometrists, non-optometrists and public regarding the advertisements of optometric services in Massachusetts.

Policy : Reminder that all advertisements for optometric services shall include the name or names of the licensed optometrist providing services at the advertised location.

Discussion:

It has come to the attention of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Optometry ("the Board") that some paper and web-based advertising companies are listing individuals and/or businesses under the heading "optometrist" who are not licensed to practice optometry within Massachusetts. Please be advised that Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 112, Sections 66 to 72A, prohibits anyone who does not possess a current Massachusetts optometry license from practicing or offering to practice optometry in the Commonwealth. [1] In addition, Section 72 of Chapter 112 requires that if optometric services are advertised under a trade or service name, the names of the optometrist(s) providing the advertised services must be "prominently displayed . . . in all print advertisements that identify the location or locations where optometric services are provided." See G.L. c. 112, § 72.

In light of the above law, all advertisements for optometric services shall include the name or names of the licensed optometrist providing services at the advertised location. Inclusion of non-licensed individuals under the heading "optometrist" is misleading to the public because the public could construe that the individuals listed under such heading are licensed optometrists. Furthermore, inclusion of the names of unlicensed individuals or businesses without a licensed optometrist under the heading "optometrist" could expose such individuals and business to allegations that they are engaged in the unlicensed practice of optometry.



[1] Limited exceptions to the licensure requirement can be found in G.L. c. 112, s. 73.