Regulating and Licensing Optometry in Wisconsin
Optometry is defined under Wisconsin statute 449 as 'the employment of any optometric means, including topical ocular diagnostic pharmaceutical agents, to determine the visual efficiency of the human visual system, including refractive and functional abilities, or to diagnose the presence of ocular disease or ocular manifestations of systemic disease and other departures from normal; the diagnosis and treatment of the refractive and functional ability of the visual system and enhancement of visual performance by prescribing, furnishing, fitting or employing ophthalmic lenses, contact lenses, frames, aids or prosthetic materials."
The statutes go on to include administering visual training, orthoptics, visual therapy or any other optometric means, prescribing or administering drugs for ocular therapeutic purposes or removing superficial foreign bodies from the eye or an appendage to the eye. Optometry includes examining into the fact, condition or cause of ocular health or disease, or treating or rendering advice regarding a condition or cause of ocular health or disease, by any optometric means or instrumentality; and applying principles or techniques of optometric sciences in the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of a condition or cause of ocular health or disease.
Finally, the statute states that except as provided under s. 449.02, Wis. Stats., no person may engage in the practice of optometry, unless such person holds a current optometry license and a valid certificate of registration issued by the Optometry Examining Board.
The Wisconsin Optometry Examining Board (OEB) is the state’s regulatory authority within the Department of Regulation and Licensing responsible for the licensing of doctors of optometry. The function of the OEB is to protect the citizens of Wisconsin by ensuring the safe and competent practice of licensed doctors of optometry. The authority of the OEB is spelled out in Chapter 227 of the Wisconsin Statutes.
The OEB is a seven member Board consisting of five professional members (ODs) and two public member. Public members can not be linked to optometry by professional license or employment. The Board serves the public and the profession of optometry by regulating education, experience, examination requirements, setting professional practice standards, and ensuring compliance by enforcing the professional licensing laws impacting optometry.
If you want more information regarding the OEB, please go to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services Web site at http://drl.wi.gov/ or call (608) 266-2112.