Melissa Magstadt, South Dakota Secretary of Health

South Dakota Board of Examiners in Optometry

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an optometrist, ophthalmologist, and optician?
An optometrist (also called doctor of optometry) is a health care practitioner trained to diagnose signs of ocular, neurological, and systemic health problems and to treat vision disorders. A properly certified optometrist may treat eye diseases and injuries, prescribe topical drugs and perform other procedures such as foreign body removal. All optometrists may prescribe glasses and contact lenses.

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor trained in eye surgery and eye disease. Ophthalmologists may prescribe glasses, contact lenses, and perform eye surgery such as cataract surgery. The South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners licenses and regulates ophthalmologists.

An optician is an eyewear provider trained to select, manufacture, and dispense spectacles. They may sell or deliver contact lenses upon a written prescription by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Opticians are not licensed or regulated in South Dakota.

What are my rights as a patient regarding my prescription for glasses and contacts?

Are decorative contact lenses safe?

Does South Dakota offer endorsement licensure for optometrists?
Yes, where the candidate:

    1. is licensed in good standing in a state or territory under U.S. jurisdiction that required passage of a written, entry level examination at the time of initial licensure;
    2. is licensed at the highest level of prescriptive authority possible in that jurisdiction;
    3. has actively engaged in the practice of optometry for the five immediately preceding years;
    4. submits directly to the Board all transcripts, reports, or other information the board requires;
    5. passes the written examination regarding the optometry laws and administrative rules governing optometrists in the state;

The candidate must request the optometry licensing agency in which the applicant is licensed or has ever been licensed to practice optometry to provide reports directly to the South Dakota Board of Examiners in Optometry describing current standing and any past or pending actions taken with respect to the applicant's authority to practice optometry. consecutive years.

Does South Dakota have a continuing education requirement for licensed optometrists?
Yes.  All licensees must complete 45 hours of continuing education classes every three years beginning the date the license is issued.  Optometrists certified to use topical pharmaceutical agents (DPA or TPA) must complete five (5) hours annually of continuing education related to ocular disease.  The five (5) hours of annual ocular disease education count toward the 45 hours per three years.

What is the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program?
The South Dakota Department of Health supports practitioner participation in the SD PDMP program to improve patient care and reduce the misuse and abuse of controlled substances. Visit to learn how to register for an account in PMP AWARxE. If you have any questions about the SD PDMP, please contact Melissa DeNoon at the South Dakota Board of Pharmacy (605) 362-2737.

Where can I find more information regarding the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency? (DEA)

I’m an optometrist and I currently have a DEA license. How do I renew that?

Revised Announcement Regarding DEA Renewal Applications
Starting January 2017, DEA will no longer send its second renewal notification by mail.  Instead, an electronic reminder to renew will be sent to the email address associated with the DEA registration.

At this time, DEA will otherwise retain its current policy and procedures with respect to renewal and reinstatement of registration. This policy is as follows:

  • If a renewal application is submitted in a timely manner prior to expiration, the registrant may continue operations, authorized by the registration, beyond the expiration date until final action is taken on the application.
  • DEA allows the reinstatement of an expired registration for one calendar month after the expiration date. If the registration is not renewed within that calendar month, an application for a new DEA registration will be required.