Mass. General Laws c.112 § 66C

Optometrists; prescriptions; referrals; medical error reduction

This is an unofficial version of a Massachusetts General Law. For more information on this topic, please see Law about prescription medication.

Table of Contents


Added by St.2020, c.260, § 30, effective January 1, 2021.



A registered optometrist who is qualified by an examination for practice under section 68, certified under section 68C and registered to issue written prescriptions pursuant to subsection (h) of section 7 of chapter 94C may: (i) use and prescribe topical and oral therapeutic pharmaceutical agents as defined in section 66B that are used in the practice of optometry, including those placed in schedules III, IV, V and VI pursuant to section 2 of said chapter 94C, for the purpose of diagnosing, preventing, correcting, managing or treating glaucoma and other ocular abnormalities of the human eye and adjacent tissue; and (ii) prescribe all necessary eye-related medications, including oral anti-infective medications; provided, however, that a registered optometrist shall not use or prescribe: (A) therapeutic pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of systemic diseases; (B) invasive surgical procedures; (C) pharmaceutical agents administered by subdermal injection, intramuscular injection, intravenous injection, subcutaneous injection, intraocular injection or retrobulbar injection; or (D) an opioid substance or drug product.


If an optometrist, while examining or treating a patient with the aid of a diagnostic or therapeutic pharmaceutical agent and exercising professional judgment and the degree of expertise, care and knowledge ordinarily possessed and exercised by optometrists under like circumstances, encounters a sign of a previously unevaluated disease that would require treatment not included in the scope of the practice of optometry, the optometrist shall refer the patient to a licensed physician or other qualified health care practitioner.


If an optometrist diagnoses a patient with congenital glaucoma or if, during the course of examining, managing or treating a patient with glaucoma, the optometrist determines that surgical treatment is indicated, the optometrist shall refer the patient to a qualified health care provider for treatment.


An optometrist licensed under this chapter shall participate in any relevant state or federal report or data collection effort relative to patient safety and medical error reduction coordinated by the Betsy Lehman center for patient safety and medical error reduction established in section 15 of chapter 12C.

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Last updated: January 1, 2021

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