Frequently Asked Questions - Opticians

Completing Applications

We are here to help you with the application process! Please contact the Board’s Registered Dispensing Optician Program at (916) 575-7186 or email if you have any questions.

1. Which application is the right application for my professional goals?

Depending on your goals, you may need to complete one or more of the following applications:

  • Registered Dispensing Optician: a small business or corporation that dispenses prescription lenses.
  • Spectacle Lens Dispenser (SLD): an individual who fits and adjusts spectacle lenses (glasses) inside a Registered Dispensing Optician business.
  • Contact Lens Dispenser (CLD): an individual who fits and adjusts contact lenses inside a Registered Dispensing Optician business.
  • Nonresident Contact Lens Seller (NCLS): a small business or corporation that dispenses contact lenses from outside of California.

If you have questions regarding the appropriate license type for you, please contact us.

2. Should I use a specific web browser when completing the application via BreEZe, or can I use my mobile device?

BreEZe usually functions best when using Internet Explorer on a desktop computer. Although mobile web browsers can access the BreEZe website, results may vary and have resulted in incomplete and delayed applications. Therefore, Internet Explorer on a desktop computer is strongly recommended.

3. What address and contact information should I include on the SLD/CLD application?

If the Board needs to contact you, we have found that phone numbers and email addresses are usually more efficient. It is also beneficial to use your home address or a PO Box to receive notifications from the Board.

It is important to keep your address and contact information up-to-date with the Board. BCP § 136 requires licensees to update their address within 30 days after a change.

4. What is the registration number the application is asking for and where do I find it?

If you are a SLD or CLD applicant, the registration number is the license number for the Registered Dispensing Optician business where you are employed. If the store’s application is pending, indicate that in the box for the registration number. If you are applying for a Dispensing Optician license for your business, the registration number is that of your employee. You can use the public license search on the Board’s website to look up a registration number.

5. What fees should I expect for the application?

Upon finishing the initial application, a $150 application fee is due in order for the Board to review your license. Once the application is approved, a $200 registration fee is due in order to register your license with the Board.

To maintain your license after the application and registration process is complete, a biennial renewal including a renewal fee of $200 are required.

6. What do I do after I complete the application?

The Live Scan background check form should be completed directly after the application is completed and the application fee is paid. Contact to request a copy of the Live Scan form once the application has been submitted. An application is not

7. Do I need to do another Live Scan if I had already completed one when I applied for a previous license type (SLD/CLD) within the Dispensing Optician Program?

If you had the Live Scan process done during an application with the Board under the Dispensing Optician Program, you likely do not need to complete another one when completing another application. However, if you completed the Live Scan process for a non-Dispensing Optician profession, you will need to complete the process again. Please contact the Board if you have any questions before completing this process.

8. As a business owner, do I need to submit documents other than the application?

Yes, Registered Dispensing Optician businesses and NCLS applicants will need to submit various documents based on entity type.

  • Sole Proprietor: Ownership information, copy of Business License.
  • Partnership: Formation agreement, copy of Business License, ownership information.
  • Corporation: Ownership information, articles of incorporation, list of officers, letter of good standing from Secretary of State from the state in which it was formed, foreign corporation documentation if applicable.

All Registered Dispensing Optician business will have to submit a copy of the fully signed lease agreement for the location you are applying for. A Registered Dispensing Optician business with Optometrists and/or Ophthalmologists practicing at that location will need to submit a copy of the Sublease and/or maintenance agreements.

Please note: The Board does not provide legal advice on forming these entity types or how to complete these documents. You may wish to consult with an attorney, accountant, or professional association.

Optical businesses in California are not permitted to register as Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs).

9. Do I need to submit a notarized copy of the application? Do I need to submit a picture?

The notary and picture are no longer requirements for the application. You do not need to send a paper application to show these have been completed.

10. What are the processing times for applications?

Information on the processing time of various applications can be found here.

11. What is the status of my application?

The status of your application can be viewed on your BreEZe account. If your status says ‘pending’ your application is may still be awaiting review. You can also view your application documents to see if there was a deficiency notice sent to you. (The Board sends deficiency notices from the email address or via mail if an email address was not provided. Adding our email address to your list of acceptable emails addresses will ensure you receive our emails.) If your application says ‘License Eligible’ you can pay the registration fee.

12. I received notice that my application was approved, what do I do now?

Upon receiving the approval notice, please follow the instructions on the notice to complete and pay for the registration of your license. The application to complete your registration is located in the lower left of your BreEZe online account. The application fee and the registration fee are two separate fees and must be paid within the respective application.

13. How do I find out about the laws and regulations that govern my profession?

The Board strongly recommends becoming familiar with the laws and regulations pertaining to Registered Dispensing Opticians: Link to Laws and Regulations

14. Applying for Licensure with a Conviction or Past Disciplinary Action?

Applicants with convictions or disciplinary action on a professional license need to go through some extra steps in the review process when they apply for a license or registration with the Board. This does not necessarily mean that they won’t get licensed or registered; many go on to either receive full licensure or registration or are granted a license or registration with certain probationary conditions to ensure public protection.

The reason for the review is that the Board is tasked with the protection of consumers in California. Therefore, the Board has the responsibility to make sure that all licensees and registrants are safe to practice. Find out more here CSBO Conviction or Past Disciplinary Action FAQ.

Optician Program Questions

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.