North Carolina State Board of Examiners in Optometry
General Information.All of the equipment and the instruments necessary to take this examination are furnished to the candidate. However, any candidate wishing to do so will be allowed to use his/her own binocular indirect ophthalmoscope and condensing lenses, provided the ophthalmoscope is equipped with a teaching mirror. With this one exception at the procedures station, candidates are not allowed to carry brief cases, books, paper or other paraphernalia into an examination station. Candidates are required to furnish their own patient, who will be anesthetized and dilated for the purposes of the examination. A release form must be executed by the candidate and the patient at the time they register at the examination site. Patients must be at least eighteen years of age and may not be a graduate of, or a student enrolled in, a school or college of optometry or medicine.
Examination Format. There are five examination stations through which candidates rotate. There is a brief break between sessions in order for the examiners to complete their evaluations and for the candidate to move to their next assignment. The five examination stations are designated as Stations A, B, C, D and E. Station A is dedicated to procedures and this is where the patient will be utilized. In this one station candidates are allowed a total time of twenty-six minutes to prepare their patient and to demonstrate their proficiency in performing the following procedures: binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy (including scleral depression), anterior segment biomicroscopy, and gonioscopy. The candidate is expected to perform each procedure as he/she would perform them in a private office setting on a patient presenting solely for the particular examination. The three procedures stand alone and are evaluated separately.
In the remaining four stations (B, C, D, and E), candidates will be presented with patient scenarios, three scenarios in each station for a total of twelve. They will include patients with ocular disease, ocular degenerations and dystrophies, neuro-ocular disease, ocular manifestations of systemic disease, ocular side effects of systemic medications, systemic manifestations of ocular disease, trauma, pre- and post-operative management of surgical patients, and ocular irritations. Each patient presentation, evaluation, and questions will follow the S.O.A.P. format. Presentations and findings will be presented in a straightforward manner by the clinical examiners. Candidates are free, at any time, to ask for additional information, findings, or clarification. They should be mindful, however, that there are three scenarios to be presented within the twenty-one minute time span requiring the examiners to move forward when necessary in order to remain on schedule. It is to the candidates’ advantage not to delay too long in an area where they may be having difficulty, so that there will be ample time available for areas where they may have greater strength. Where time permits, the clinical examiners will return to any area where the candidate may have had difficulty.
Scoring. The examination is scored based upon four parts. Parts I through III consist of each stand-alone procedure and Part IV consists of the four scenario stations (comprised of three scenarios each). Parts I through III are scored separately and then combined as a single procedures score. The procedures score is then averaged with the combined scores of the four scenarios stations (Part IV) to determine the final score on the examination. To pass the examination, an applicant must obtain an overall grade of 75 on the combined parts; provided, however, no applicant who has received a grade of less than 60 on any part of the clinical/practicum examination shall be considered eligible for licensure even though the overall grade may average 75 or higher.
Applications to Take the Examination for Licensure. To obtain an application send a check in the amount of $ 50.00 made payable to the Board (a non-refundable fee) at 109 North Graham Street, Wallace, NC 28466 along with a statement as to which Examination you would like to apply; e.g. Summer 2008, Winter 2009, Summer 2009, etc. On receipt of the application fee an application for the examination for which you are applying will be sent to you. This application along with the remainder of the examination application fee in the amount of $ 750.00 must be received in the Board office no later than sixty (60) days prior to the scheduled start of the Examination for which you are applying. In the instance you are unable to appear for the examination as scheduled you may request a one time delay to the next regularly scheduled examination, provided such request is received by the Board prior to the date you are scheduled to appear.
Location. The Board’s examinations are held in Raleigh, North Carolina at the Jane McKimmon Center located on the Campus of North Carolina State University. At the time the applicants check in at the McKimmon Center, they are furnished an envelope containing a sheet of paper with their candidate and social security numbers printed on it. The purpose of this paper is for the candidate to make any comments or critique they wish concerning their examination. While they are not required to make any statement, they are advised that in the event that they wish to review their examination results with representatives of the Board in the future, their comments or lack of comments will be an integral and very important part of that review. Comments are expected to be made solely by the candidate without consultation or discussion with anyone, including their patient, other candidates or other person(s) who might accompany them to the examination site. Because of the time constraints imposed by the examination schedule, candidates are advised that they might want to make notes/comments during the brief break periods between stations; however, they may have whatever additional time they need to complete their comments when they return to the Board’s administrative room to check out.
The Optometry Laws of North Carolina, including Rules and Regulations of North Carolina Board of Examiners in Optometry, can be accessed through the Board’s website at www.ncoptometry.org . Applicants should become familiar with all the laws regulating the practice of optometry in North Carolina including the Rules and Regulations of the North Carolina Board of Optometry. Those taking the Board’s Clinical/Practicum Examinations are advised to carefully read and be guided by NCGS 90-118(c). Violations of this section subjects one to dismissal from the examination and/or the refusal to score the results by the Board.
Prohibited Devices. The following electronic devices including, but not limited to, hand-held computers, Blackberry devices, palm pilots/PDAs (personal digital assistants), cell phones, cameras, laptops, pagers, I-pods, etc., will not be allowed on site during the times of the examinations and are to be left behind as applicants and those persons accompanying them (including patients) enter the McKimmon Center.