This statutory database is current through the 2004 Regular Session of the South Carolina General Assembly. Changes to the statutes enacted by the 2005 General Assembly, which will convene in January 2005, will be incorporated as soon as possible. Some changes enacted by the 2005 General Assembly may take immediate effect. The State of South Carolina and the South Carolina Legislative Council make no warranty as to the accuracy of the data, and users rely on the data entirely at their own risk.
Title 40 - Professions and Occupations
Persons deemed to be practicing optometry.
A person is deemed to be practicing optometry within the meaning of this chapter who:
(1) displays a sign or in any way advertises as an optometrist;
(2) employs any means, other than the use of drugs except as provided in this chapter, for the measurement of the powers of vision or the adaptation of lenses for the aid of vision;
(3) in the sale of spectacles, eyeglasses, or lenses, uses lenses in the testing of the eye therefore other than lenses actually sold;
(4) examines the human eye by the employment of any subjective or objective physical means, without the use of drugs except as provided in this chapter, to ascertain the presence of defects or abnormal conditions for the purpose of relieving them by the use of lenses, prisms, or other physical or mechanical means;
(5) practices orthoptics or prescribes or fits contact lenses;
(6) administers pharmaceutical agents, including pharmaceutical agents for topical application, for the diagnosis of ocular and ocular adnexal eye disease as provided in this chapter; or
(7) administers or prescribes, or both, pharmaceutical agents, including oral and topically applied medications, for the diagnosis and treatment of ocular and ocular adnexal eye disease as provided in this chapter.
South Carolina Board of Examiners in Optometry; members; nomination; appointment; vacancies; general duties; terms; removal.
(A) There is created the South Carolina Board of Examiners in Optometry which consists of seven members. Five members must be licensed optometrists appointed by the Governor upon nomination by all licensed optometrists in this State through an election conducted by the board. The Governor may reject any or all of those nominated upon satisfactory showing of the unfitness of those rejected. If the Governor declines to appoint any of the nominees submitted, additional nominees must be submitted in the same manner. Vacancies must be filled in like manner by appointment by the Governor for the unexpired portion of the term. Two members of the board must be members of the general public who do not derive their income or support from any optical or related business or who are not related to any members of these professions. These public members may be nominated by any individual, group, or association, and are appointed by the Governor.
(B) The board is responsible for examining applicants for optometric licenses and for diagnostic and therapeutic certifications, for investigating complaints, and for investigating and prosecuting violations of this chapter.
(C) The members of the board are appointed for terms of four years and until their successors are appointed and qualify. No person may serve more than two consecutive four-year terms on the board, except that if a person is appointed to fill an unexpired term on the board, the person may be reappointed for two additional four-year terms. The Governor may remove a member of the board who has been guilty of continued neglect of board duties or who is found to be incompetent or for just cause. No member may be removed without first giving the member an opportunity to refute the charges filed against the member, who must be given a copy of the charges at the time they are filed.
Oath of members; officers; quorum; meetings.
The members of the board shall qualify by taking the oath of office before a notary public or other officer empowered to administer oaths in the county in which each one, respectively, resides. At the first meeting of the board, after each annual appointment, the board shall elect a president, vice-president and secretary-treasurer. A majority of members of the board shall constitute a quorum. Regular meetings shall be held at least once a year, at such time and place as shall be deemed most convenient. Special meetings may be held upon the call of the president.
If a board member is disqualified and his absence results in the lack of a quorum or an adequate number of board members to perform official functions, then the Governor is authorized to deputize an individual to replace the disqualified board member during the period of disqualification. The individual deputized must take the same oath as required of other members of the board.
Compensation of members.
Each member may receive for his services and expenses such per diem and mileage as is provided by law for members of state boards, commissions and committees for each day actually engaged in the duties of his office, including a reasonable number of days for the preparation and reviewing of examinations, in addition to such time actually spent in conducting examinations.
Official seal; regulations and bylaws; administration of oaths; subpoena power.
The South Carolina Board of Examiners in Optometry may adopt an official seal, prescribe regulations and bylaws for its proceedings and government and for the practice of optometry and for the examination of applicants for the practice of optometry.
The board or any member thereof may administer oaths for all purposes requiring the discharge of its duties. For the purpose of any investigation or proceeding under the provisions of this chapter, the board or any person designated by it may subpoena witnesses, take evidence, and require the production of any documents or records which the board deems relevant to the inquiry. In the case of contumacy by or refusal to obey a subpoena issued to any person, an administrative law judge as provided under Article 5 of Chapter 23 of Title 1, upon application of the board may issue an order requiring the person to appear before the board, or a person designated by it, and produce documentary evidence and to give other evidence concerning the matter under inquiry.
Disposition of funds; assessments, fees and licenses to equal appropriations and allocations.
All revenues and income from licenses, examination fees, other fees, sale of commodities and services, and income derived from any other board source or activity shall be remitted to the State Treasurer as collected, when practicable, but at least once each week, and shall be credited to the general fund of the State. All assessments, fees, or licenses shall be levied pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act in an amount sufficient to at least equal the amount appropriated in the annual general appropriations act for the board, plus any additional funds allocated by the Budget and Control Board for implementation of the state's personnel compensation plan.
Annual report of Board.
The board shall make an annual report in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 73, Title 40 of the 1976 Code.
Application for examination; fee.
Any person desiring to be examined by the board must make application to the board, in a manner prescribed by the board, at least thirty days prior to the holding of the examination. Each applicant on making application shall pay to the board a fee as determined by regulation of the board.
Qualifications for registration as optometrist.
(A) A person is qualified to receive a certificate of registration as a registered optometrist who:
(1) has a minimum of two academic years at an accredited college or university;
(2) was graduated from an accredited school or college of optometry which required four years' attendance and which grants the degree of doctor of optometry (O.D.), provided all schools and courses are approved by the board;
(3) has satisfactorily passed an examination recognized by the board; or has passed the National Board of Optometry Examination or an equivalent examination and has practiced for five years in another state or states and is in good standing in the state in which he was last actively engaged in the practice of optometry;
(4) has satisfied all of the requirements to be therapeutically certified as provided for in Section 40-37-103(B);
(5) has not been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; the record of conviction or a copy of the conviction certified by the clerk of the court in which the conviction occurred is conclusive evidence of the conviction.
(B) Notwithstanding subsection (A)(4) an optometrist who holds a valid registration or who is diagnostically certified pursuant to Section 40-37-103(A) is not required to be therapeutically certified as a condition of maintaining the registration or diagnostic certification or obtaining renewal.
Every applicant to practice optometry in this State shall pass the examination of the National Board of Optometry, or if such is not available, an equivalent examination prepared or selected by the board. The board may also require a relevant practical or oral examination which shall not be substantially duplicative of the National Board examination.
Requirements for diagnostic and therapeutic certification.
(A) The board shall certify a licensed optometrist as a diagnostically certified optometrist if the optometrist has:
(1) complied with the educational requirements promulgated by the board; and
(2) passed a pharmaceutical agent examination which must be approved by the board
(B) The board shall certify a licensed optometrist as a therapeutically certified optometrist if the optometrist has:
(1) satisfied the requirements for diagnostic certification;
(2) passed the Treatment and Management of Ocular Disease Examination approved by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry;
(3) taken at least one hundred ten hours of board-approved optometric education courses since December 31, 1988, and after graduation from optometry school, of which at least forty hours must have been clinical instruction specifically related to the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma and must have been taken under the supervision of an ophthalmologist who must submit a written certification to the Board of Examiners in Optometry that the optometrist has completed the forty hours of clinical instruction required by this item;
(4) submitted to the board an affidavit stating that the optometrist has had at least twelve hundred hours of clinical training.
Topical application of pharmaceutical agents; use of miotics; certification.
(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a diagnostically certified optometrist may purchase, possess, and administer pharmaceutical agents, including pharmaceutical agents for topical application, other than controlled substances as defined in Section 44-53-110, for diagnostic purposes in the practice of optometry. For the purposes of this subsection, "pharmaceutical agent" means: anesthetics, mydriatics, cycloplegics, miotics, dyes, and over-the-counter drugs. Miotics may be used only pursuant to the following restrictions:
(1) miotics may not be used for treatment purposes;
(2) miotics may be used only for emergency purposes involving the buildup of pressure within the eyeball and immediately upon this emergency use, the optometrist shall refer the patient to an ophthalmologist and file with the South Carolina Board of Examiners in Optometry a written report of the incident in the manner prescribed by the board by regulation; and the South Carolina Board of Examiners in Optometry shall ensure that the quality and quantity of miotics possessed by a diagnostically certified optometrist is consistent with the use of miotics only for emergency purposes involving the buildup of pressure within the eyeball.
(B) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a therapeutically certified optometrist may purchase, possess, administer, supply, and prescribe pharmaceutical agents, including oral and topically applied medications other than Schedule I and II controlled substances as defined in Section 44-53-110, for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes in the practice of optometry, except that:
(1) when prescribing oral and topically applied medications, a therapeutically certified optometrist is limited to these oral pharmaceutical agents: antihistamines, antimicrobial, antiglaucoma, over-the-counter drugs, and analgesics for the treatment of ocular and ocular adnexal eye disease. An optometrist may only prescribe these medications for the treatment of ocular and ocular adnexal eye disease;
(2) when prescribing medications for the treatment of ocular and ocular adnexal disease, documentation in the patient's chart and appropriate consultations and referrals must be in keeping with the standard of care in accordance with Section 40-37-108;
(3) when prescribing analgesics, the prescription must be limited to a seven-day supply;
(4) when prescribing topical steroids, if after twenty-one days of treatment it is necessary to continue this medication, the optometrist shall communicate and collaborate with an ophthalmologist;
(5) no medications may be given by injection or intravenously.
Establishment of pharmacy in optometry office; sale of pharmaceutical agents by optometrist.
(A) An optometrist may not establish a pharmacy in an optometry office or sell pharmaceutical agents prescribed in treatment unless there is a licensed pharmacist on staff and present when these prescriptions are filled. However, nothing in this section or in any other provision of law prohibits an optometrist who is diagnostically certified from administering pharmaceutical agents to a patient or an optometrist who is therapeutically certified from administering or supplying pharmaceutical agents to a patient, without charge for the pharmaceutical agents, to initiate appropriate treatment.
(B) Notwithstanding subsection (A) or any other provision of law, an optometrist may purchase, possess, administer, sell, prescribe, or dispense contact lenses, contact lens solutions, and topically applied dyes.
Referral of patient to physician or to other optometrist; treatment by optometrist; surgery prohibited.
(A) In the diagnosis and treatment of ocular and ocular adnexal eye disease, documentation in the patient's chart and appropriate consultations and referrals must be in keeping with the standard of care in accordance with Section 40-37-108.
(B) In the diagnosis or treatment of eye disease an optometrist, using judgment and that degree of skill, care, knowledge, and attention ordinarily possessed and exercised by optometrists in good standing under like circumstances, shall refer a patient to an appropriate medical or osteopathic doctor including, but not limited to, corneal, glaucoma, or retinal ophthalmological specialists when additional evaluation or treatment is necessary. However, any optometrist may refer a patient to a therapeutically certified optometrist when additional evaluation or treatment is necessary or to a medical or osteopathic doctor as provided for in this section, and any optometrist may refer a patient to another optometrist for the purpose of fitting or dispensing eye glasses, contact lenses, or low vision aids. The South Carolina Board of Examiners in Optometry shall promulgate regulations for the maintenance of records of referrals by optometrists in accordance with this section.
(C) Notwithstanding subsection (B) in treating and managing glaucoma, a therapeutically certified optometrist must strive to achieve a stable range of intraocular pressures considered unlikely to cause further optic nerve damage in that patient. Once this range of pressures is selected based on conditions presented by the patient, the therapeutically certified optometrist must enter this range in the patient's chart. If no measurable progress is achieved in realizing the selected range of pressures within sixty days of initiating treatment, the optometrist shall refer the patient to an ophthalmologist. However, when treating acute angle closure glaucoma, a therapeutically certified optometrist shall immediately initiate treatment after which an appropriate referral must be made to an ophthalmologist.
(D) An optometrist is prohibited from performing surgery. For purposes of this section, surgery includes, but is not limited to, an invasive procedure using instruments which requires closure by suturing, clamping, or other similar devices or a procedure in which the presence or assistance of a nurse anesthetist or an anesthesiologist is required. Laser surgery is prohibited. However, nothing in this section or any other provision of law may be construed to prohibit an optometrist from removing superficial ocular and ocular adnexal foreign bodies; removal of other foreign bodies must be referred to an ophthalmologist.
Standard of care for therapeutically certified optometrist; malpractice insurance.
A therapeutically certified optometrist must be held to the same standard of care as persons licensed under Title 40, Chapter 47, Physicians, Surgeons and Osteopaths and shall maintain a minimum of one million dollars in malpractice insurance coverage.
For purposes of this chapter "supply" is limited to pharmaceutical agents given to a patient by a therapeutically-certified optometrist for the purpose of initiating treatment until the patient's prescription can be filled by a registered pharmacist.
Registration of licensees; certificate; fee.
All persons successfully meeting the requirements of licensure shall be numbered and registered in the board's register, which shall be kept by the secretary of the board upon payment to the secretary of the board of a fee established by regulation sufficient to cover the costs of printing, publication, and processing of the certificate.
Display of certificate of registration; duplicate displayed in secondary place of practice.
Every person to whom a certificate of registration is granted under this chapter shall display it in a conspicuous place in his principal place of practice. A duplicate, certified by the secretary of the board, shall be displayed in any secondary place of practice.
Effect of failure to display certificate.
Any failure, neglect, or refusal on the part of any person holding such a certificate of registration to display it as herein provided, for three months after the issuance of such certificate, shall ipso facto work the forfeiture of such certificate of registration and it shall not be restored except upon the payment of twenty-five dollars to the board.
Annual renewal of license; renewal fee; termination for default; reinstatement of license; reinstatement fee; continuing education required.
(A) An optometrist practicing in this State who desires to continue to be licensed annually shall pay before the second day of October of each year a renewal fee to be fixed by regulation. In case of default in making this payment the license of an optometrist is automatically terminated provided the board gives the licensee thirty days' notice in writing before the imposition of the mandatory termination. The deposit of this notice in the United States Post Office addressed to the licensee at the licensee's last current address as registered with the board, with postage prepaid, is due and legal service of the notice. If within the thirty-day period the licensee pays a penalty that the board may impose, not to exceed fifty dollars, and the renewal fee, the license must be renewed. A person whose license is terminated because of a failure to pay a renewal fee may apply to have it reinstated upon payment to the board of all renewal fees that should have been paid had the license remained active and a penalty of one hundred dollars. If the license has lapsed for more than two years, the licensee shall appear before the board who shall then determine whether or upon what conditions the license may be reinstated.
(B) An optometrist annually shall attend a minimum of twenty hours of continuing educational courses or meetings. The instruction must be on subjects relative to optometry, exclusive of office management or administration, at board-approved and recognized educational seminars and courses or accredited institutions of learning. For optometrists diagnostically or therapeutically certified, eight of the twenty hours must be pharmacology related. Satisfactory proof of compliance with this requirement is a prerequisite for annual license renewal.
Renewal of license of person serving in armed forces during war or national emergency; refund of renewal fee.
Any person licensed to practice the profession of optometry in this State who is serving in the armed forces of the United States in time of war or preparation for war during any national emergency shall not thereby forfeit his current license or registration. Any such person who has paid an annual renewal registration fee shall be refunded that portion of such annual renewal fee for the time that he has served in the armed forces of the nation. Any such person, upon presentation of his discharge from such service within one year from the date thereof and upon payment of the fee prescribed by law for the portion of the current renewal period only, shall be entitled to a renewal of his license or registration as though such renewal had been made prior to the expiration of his last preceding renewal and as though all intermediate renewal fees had been paid.
Visual testing by licensed optometrists; discrimination by state agencies prohibited; fees for services; exceptions.
Whenever it is required by law that a visual test of the eye be made or optometric care of the eye be required of any person by any school or college, state or county board or other agency of the government, such test or care may be made or had by an optometrist duly licensed in this State. When any person is required to furnish evidence of visual efficiency a report of any such optometrist shall be a compliance with the law requiring such certificate or report.
All agencies of the State and its subdivisions, and all commissions, clinics, and boards administering relief, public assistance, public welfare assistance, social security or health services under the laws of this State, shall accept the services of licensed optometrists for all services that they are licensed to perform relating to any person receiving benefits from such agencies or subdivisions. All of the governmental agencies or agents, officials or employees thereof, including the public schools, may counsel with and advise the persons needing eye care as to the type of service needed and as to those qualified to render such service, but no attempt shall be made to steer an individual seeking vision care to either an optometrist or a physician. The patient shall be given free choice in his selection of a specialist to serve his vision-care needs, in examinations, vision screening, or other vision services. Provided, that an exception shall be made in emergency cases of obvious eye injury or disease where delay in obtaining the services of a physician might endanger the patient's visual health. Provided, further, that in recognized instances of disease or anomalies disclosed in the original physical evaluation by the State agency, such cases may be referred directly to specialists, ophthalmologists or optometrists as deemed appropriate by the evaluating agency.
There shall be no differential in the fee schedule for vision-care services, whether performed by an optometrist or a physician, that is, for like services common to both professions.
No funds appropriated for vision care shall be used by any agency that practices discrimination between a licensed optometrist or a licensed physician.
Nothing in this section shall prevent a nurse, school teacher, or welfare worker, employed in public service, from ascertaining the probable need of visual services, provided such person does not attempt to diagnose or prescribe or to recommend any particular practitioner or system of practice.
Use of title "Doctor."
Any person practicing optometry shall be prohibited from using the prefix "Doctor" to his name, unless he has received a degree from a duly accredited college, authorized to grant the title.
Unlawful advertising and business promotion acts.
It is unlawful for any person to disseminate, directly or indirectly, or cause to be disseminated any untruthful, deceptive advertisement or representation concerning eye examinations, ophthalmic goods, ophthalmic services, or the practice of optometry. In addition, it is unlawful for a person, partnership, or corporation to disseminate, directly or indirectly, or cause to be disseminated any untruthful, impossible, improbable, misleading, or deceptive advertisement or representation concerning the terms, guarantee, or warranty which relates to the procurement of ophthalmic goods or services.
It is unlawful for a person to offer or give eye examinations, eyeglasses, spectacles, lenses, or any part used in connection with them, as a premium or bonus with merchandise or in any other manner to induce trade. The provisions of this section do not prohibit giving ophthalmic products incidental to the use of the product being offered nor the offering of a reduced price, sale, or discount on purchases if the following disclosures are made with the offer:
(1) If the offered price is represented as being a reduced price, sale price, or discounted price, the offer must disclose whether the reduced price, sale price, or discounted price is from the offeror's regular selling price, or must disclose any other price and its source which serves as the standard from which the offeror represents the offered price as being a reduced price, sale price, or discounted price.
(2) The date the offer terminates.
It is unlawful for a person to disseminate price information concerning ophthalmic goods and services without including:
(a) whether an advertised price for eyeglasses includes single vision or multi-focal lenses;
(b) whether an advertised price for contact lenses refers to hard or soft contact lenses;
(c) whether an advertised price for ophthalmic materials includes all dispensing fees;
(d) whether an advertised price for ophthalmic materials includes an eye examination;
(e) whether an advertised price for eyeglasses includes both frame and lenses.
Nothing in this chapter prevents a person from using third-party solicitation which does not involve uninvited, in-person solicitation of persons who, because of their particular circumstances, may be vulnerable to undue influences.
Nothing in this chapter prevents a person from making truthful, nondeceptive claims of qualifications and professional affiliations.
Unlawful to permit license to be used by unlicensed person; assistants under direct supervision of licensed optometrist.
It shall be unlawful for any such licensee to permit his license to be used by any unlicensed person and shall be a violation of the terms hereof for any unlicensed person to practice or attempt to practice or conduct his business under the rights and privileges conferred upon some other person duly licensed. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an optometrist may delegate tasks to his assistants working under his direct supervision. As used herein, "direct supervision" means that a licensed optometrist shall be on the premises at all times. Nothing herein shall preclude such optometrist from being absent from the practice for reasonable periods during the working day, such as lunch or other customary, practice-related absences. No contact lenses shall be dispensed during his absence. Provided, however, that under no circumstances will these assistants be allowed to make a refraction for eyeglasses or give a contact lens fitting. Provided, however, nothing herein shall be construed to interfere with the operation of offices in accordance with Section 40-37-290.
Complaints to Board against licensed optometrists; accusation; notice; hearing; confidentiality of proceedings; privileged communications.
(A) The board shall receive complaints by any person against a licensed optometrist and shall require a complaint to be submitted in written form. Upon receipt of the complaint the secretary or another person as the president may designate shall investigate the allegations in the complaint and make a report to the board concerning the investigation. If the board proceeds further, it may file a formal accusation charging the optometrist with a violation of a provision of this chapter. The accusation must be signed by the president or the vice-president on behalf of the board. When the accusation is filed and the board sets a date for hearing, the secretary of the board shall notify the accused in writing not fewer than thirty days before the hearing and a copy of the accusation must be attached to the notice. The accused may appear and show cause why his license should not be suspended or revoked. The accused has the right to be confronted with and to cross-examine the witnesses, and he has the right to counsel. For the purposes of these hearings, the board is empowered to require by subpoena the attendance of witnesses, the production of documents, and to administer oaths and hear testimony, either oral or documentary, for and against the accused. In instances where a board member has made the initial investigation or complaint, the board member may not sit with the board at the hearing of the complaint.
(B) The notice required by subsection (A) may be sent to the accused by certified mail, return receipt requested, directed to the last mailing address furnished to the board. The post office registration receipt signed by the accused, the accused's agent, or a responsible member of the accused's household, or office staff, or, if not accepted by the person to whom addressed, the postal authority stamp showing the notice "refused" is prima facie evidence of service of the notice.
(C) All investigations and proceedings undertaken under the provisions of this chapter are confidential.
Every communication, whether oral or written, made by or on behalf of a complainant to the board or its agents or a hearing panel or a member of a hearing panel, pursuant to this chapter whether by way of complaint or testimony, is privileged; and no action or proceeding, civil or criminal, may be brought against a person, by whom or on whose behalf the communication was made.
Grounds for revocation or suspension of license, or other disciplinary action by Board.
The board may revoke, suspend, reprimand, or otherwise restrict the license of any optometrist when it is established that the license holder is guilty of misconduct as defined herein.
Misconduct which constitutes grounds for a revocation, suspension, reprimand, or other restriction of a license or a limitation on or other discipline of an optometrist shall be a satisfactory showing to the board of any of the following:
(1) That any false, fraudulent, or forged statement or document has been used, and any fraudulent, deceitful, or dishonest act has been practiced by the holder of a license or certificate in connection with any of the license requirements.
(2) That the holder of a license has been convicted of a felony or any other crime involving moral turpitude. Forfeiture of a bond or a plea of nolo contendere shall be considered as the equivalent of a conviction.
(3) That the holder of a license practiced optometry while under either the influence of alcohol or drugs to such a degree as to adversely affect his ability to practice optometry.
(4) That the holder of a license uses alcohol or drugs to such a degree as to adversely affect his ability to practice optometry.
(5) That the holder of a license has knowingly performed any act which in any way assists a person to practice optometry illegally.
(6) That the holder of a license has caused to be published or circulated directly or indirectly any fraudulent, false, or misleading statements as to the skill or methods of practice of any optometrist.
(7) That the holder of a license has failed to provide and maintain reasonable sanitary facilities.
(8) That the holder of a license has sustained any physical or mental impairment or disability which renders further practice by him dangerous to the public.
(9) That the holder of a license has violated the principles of ethics as adopted by the board and published in their Rules and Regulations.
(10) That the holder of a license has engaged in conduct that is deceptive, fraudulent, or harmful to the public.
(11) That the holder of a license is guilty of obtaining fees or assisting in obtaining such fees under deceptive, false, or fraudulent circumstances.
(12) That the holder of a license is guilty of the use of any intentionally false of fraudulent statement in any document connected with the practice of optometry.
(13) That the holder of a license has been found by the board to lack the professional competence to practice optometry.
(14) That the holder of a license has violated any provision of this chapter regulating the practice of optometry.
(15) That the holder of a license has been guilty of using third-party solicitation which is untruthful, deceptive, and coercive to obtain patronage.
In addition to all other remedies and actions incorporated in this chapter, the license of an optometrist adjudged mentally incompetent by any court of competent jurisdiction shall be automatically suspended by the board until he is adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction or in any other manner provided by law as being restored to mental competency.
Disciplinary action by Board; notice; review.
If the board shall be satisfied that the optometrist is guilty of any offense charged in the formal accusation provided for in this chapter, it shall thereupon revoke, suspend, reprimand, or otherwise take any other reasonable action short of revocation or suspension, such as requiring the licensee to undertake additional professional training subject to the direction and supervision of the board. The board may also impose such restraint upon the licensee as circumstances warrant until the licensee demonstrates to the board adequate professional competence. In all cases where disciplinary action is taken by the board, written notice of such action shall then be mailed by the secretary of the board to the accused at his last known address as provided to the board.
Any decision by the board to revoke, suspend, or otherwise restrict the license shall be by majority vote of the entire board qualified and serving at the time and shall be subject to review by an administrative law judge as provided under Article 5 of Chapter 23 of Title 1 upon petition filed by the licensee with an administrative law judge as provided under Article 5 of Chapter 23 of Title 1 and a copy thereof served upon the secretary of the board within thirty days from the date of delivery of the board's decision to the licensee. Such review shall be limited to the record established by the board's hearing.
Penalties for violations of chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any person to practice optometry within the meaning of this chapter in violation of the provisions hereof and any person committing such a violation shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than two years, or both, in the discretion of the court. Each violation shall constitute a separate offense. The penalties provided in this section shall apply to any corporation, association or person aiding and abetting in a violation.
Any person violating any other of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction in a court of competent jurisdiction, be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars and not exceeding one hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not less than twenty days and not exceeding thirty days.
Prima facie evidence of violation.
The possession of optical supplies or instruments, equipment or appliances for the examination of the eye shall be prima facie evidence of working as an optometrist for conviction under the provisions of this chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in the practice of optometry in this State unless such person shall be licensed by the South Carolina Board of Examiners in Optometry.
This chapter shall not apply to:
(1) Any bona fide student of optometry, medicine, or osteopathy in the clinic rooms or an approved program of an accredited school of optometry, medicine or osteopathy;
(2) Any commissioned officer in the Armed Services who is engaged in the practice of optometry in the State of South Carolina insofar as such practice is in the performance of his military duties;
(3) An individual licensed in another jurisdiction who is in the State of South Carolina to make a clinical demonstration before a professional society, convention, professional association, school or college, or agency of the government.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to apply to (a) physicians authorized to practice under the laws of this State, in the due course of their professional practice, except that they shall be subject to the provisions of Sections 40-37-180, 40-37-190, and the first sentence of Section 40-37-200 and the penalties for violation thereof; (b) persons who sell as merchandise from a regular established place of business ready-made eyeglasses or spectacles if such person shall not aid the purchaser in the fitting thereof.
"Physicians", as used in this section, shall be construed to mean any person licensed to practice medicine under the provisions of Chapter 47 of this title.
Nothing in this chapter shall preclude a licensed optician from practicing opticianry as defined by the laws of this State.
Construction of chapter as to price of eyeglasses.
Nothing contained in this chapter or any other provision of law shall be construed as restricting or setting the price that may be charged for eyeglasses.
Construction of chapter as to maintenance of private laboratory by licensed optometrist.
Nothing in this chapter or any other provision of law shall be construed to prevent an optometrist licensed under this chapter from maintaining and operating a laboratory required for his private professional practice.
Construction of chapter as to number of offices permitted; registration certificate required for each location; office hours; mobile units.
(A) Nothing in this chapter may be construed to limit the number or to prescribe or restrict the location of offices each individual optometrist or group of optometrists may operate. Every optometrist must display a separate registration certified by the board in each location in which the optometrist practices. Duplicate registrations may be obtained from the board by filing an application on a form prescribed by the board and paying the prescribed fees.
(B) Each office shall post in a conspicuous place the office hours that will be maintained. Office hours must be determined as those hours in which a licensed optometrist is actually present on the premises. This section may not prevent the office from being open for the purpose of accepting appointments or payments or performing other duties that by law do not require the presence of a licensed optometrist. Advertisements or any other public announcement of office hours must specify those hours in which a licensed optometrist is present on the premises.
Mobile units may be used. However, an optometrist practicing in a mobile unit shall obtain a registration for the mobile unit from the board. A mobile unit must be limited to visiting and providing services to licensed health care facilities within the State.
(C) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (A), the board may promulgate regulations regarding optometrists' offices so as to provide for:
(1) adequate and appropriate office facilities for the practice of optometry;
(2) the proper handling of patient records; and
(3) appropriate sanitation for office facilities.
Board members, officers and employees immune from liability for official acts.
No member of the Board, or its Secretary, its committees, special examiners, agents, and employees shall be held liable for acts performed in the course of official duties except where actual malice is shown.