Frequently Asked Questions - Registered Dispensing Optician Program

What is the difference between a Registered Spectacle/Contact Lens Dispenser and an assistant in a medical office?

A person who works for a physician or optometrist is called an assistant and is not required to be registered in California. The fitting and adjusting they perform are supervised by the attending physician or optometrist. All liability is covered under the physician's or optometrist's license. A person registered as a spectacle or contact lens dispenser works for a business that is registered as a dispensing optician.


Can a lens dispenser's registration be placed on inactive or retired status?

No, there is no provision in law for this type of status. If a renewal fee is not paid, the registration will continue to reflect a delinquent status for a period of 5 years, at which time if the license is not renewed, the system will automatically cancel the registration. Once registration is canceled, to be registered in California, a new application must be submitted and the applicant must meet the requirements of the law for registration.


Can an SLD or CLD get a copy of their certificate for another work location?

No, a duplicate is only available when the original is lost, stolen, or destroyed. If an SLD/CLD works for more than one employer, they will need to take their certificate with them for display at the business where they are fitting and adjusting.


Are there continuing education requirements to maintain registration?

No, an SLD/CLD renewal of registration does not require continuing education. If an SLD/CLD maintains current certification with the American Board of Opticianry (ABO), then they must meet ABO continuing education requirements.


Can an RDO, SLD or CLD be affiliated with a doctor or optometrist?

No, according to Business and Professions Code sections 654 and 655, a doctor or optometrist cannot have any membership, proprietary interest, co-ownership, landlord-tenant relationship or any profit-sharing arrangement, directly or indirectly, in any form with an RDO, SLD or CLD.


How can a consumer obtain a list of California RDOs?

A list can be purchased from the Department of Consumer Affairs, Public Sales Office by calling (916) 574-8150.


How long does the application process take?

The average time for review of a complete application is 8 weeks; factors, such as fingerprint clearance, can vary processing time.