New law would allow optometrists to operate
25th April 2013 · 0 Comments
By J. Kojo Livingston
The Louisiana State Medical Society and the Louisiana Opthalmology Association are opposing a bill that would allow optometrists to perform actual eye surgeries.
Opponents of House Bill 527 say that optometrists lack the training to perform surgeries and would pose a serious risk to patients. Ophthalmologists have to complete eight years of training and 17,000 hours of clinical training. they insist that the use of scalpels, lasers and other surgical equipment should be reserved for those with the training and a medical degree. Optometrists complete a four-year program that covers vision exams, contact lens fitting and other services but nothing as involved as surgery.
The proposed law appears to give the state Board of optometry the power to decide which procedures fall under optometry. Until now the State Board of Medical Examiners has determined who could practice surgery.
A public hearing will be held by the Health and Welfare Committee.
The bill was co-sponsored by representatives Hoffmann, Anders, Barrow, Berthelot, Broadwater, Hazel, Hensgens, Hill, Hodges, Katrina Jackson, Lebas, Mack, Pope, Pugh, Reynolds, St. Germain, and Willmott.
This article originally published in the April 22, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.