Closing or Leaving a Practice

Due care should be exercised when closing or departing from an optometric practice, whether it is temporary or permanent. Not only does this ensure a smooth transition from the current optometrist to the new optometrist, but it also reduces the liability of “patient abandonment.”

It is the responsibility of all optometrists and other parties who may be involved with the transition to ensure that:

Patients are notified of changes in the optometric practice.

This is best done with a letter to patients by the optometrist explaining the change, including the final date of practice. To inform inactive patients or those who have moved away, the SBO recommends placing an advertisement in a local newspaper.

Patients are advised as to where their medical records will be stored and how they may access them.

To facilitate the transfer of medical records to the new optometrist, an authorization form should be included in the letter.

Patients can be referred.

If the practice is being taken over by another optometrist or another can be recommended, the patients can be referred to that optometrist.

A fictitious name permit is not transferable if an optometric practice is purchased by another optometrist.

The former owner should submit a written notice to cancel the permit, and the new owner must submit a permit application.

Certificates previously issued to the former owner should be sent to the Board or be destroyed. If electing to destroy the certificates, it must be stated in the cancelation request that the original certificates have been destroyed. The new owner must submit a FNP application. Both documents should be included submitted at the time of application to ensure the name will be available to the new owner.

Send cancellation letter to:


2450 Del Paso Road, Suite 105

Sacramento, CA 95834

An optometrist who purchases an optometric practice may use the practice name or names of the former optometrist for up to two years providing:

  • The acquisition of the ownership in the practice of the predecessor optometrist or optometrists includes permission to use his/her or their names.

  • The acquisition of the ownership includes the active patient records and prescription files of the practice.

  • In any signs, professional cards, envelopes, billheads, letterheads, or advertising of any nature, the name or names of the successor optometrist or optometrists shall appear first and be followed by the term "succeeding," "successor to," or "formerly" and then the name or names of the predecessor optometrist or optometrists which shall not appear in letters larger than the letters in the name or names of the successor optometrist or optometrists.


If you are considering retirement, please email the State Board of Optometry at least 90 days beforehand to begin the process of retiring your license.

When retiring in California, you have three options when it comes to your license:

  1. You can maintain your current license to practice optometry and continue take the required CE.

  2. You can apply for a “Retired-Volunteer Service Designation” license that only costs $50 to renew. You are required to take CE but your services must be limited to voluntary, unpaid optometric services.

  3. You can apply for a “Retired Optometrist” license that only costs $25 to renew and does not require CE. You are prohibited from practicing optometry but are allowed to use the titles “retired optometrist” or “optometrist, retired.”