• Preserving High Surgical Standards Nationwide

    In January, we told you that as many as 29 U.S. states and territories were facing an unprecedented surgical scope grab by optometry during the 2019 legislative season.

    Why unprecedented? Because we’ve never witnessed so many states threatened by such brazen attempts at a wide variety of surgical privileges. The Academy has supported the efforts of ophthalmologists and their state societies as we’ve fought to preserve high surgical standards that our patients deserve.

    2019 Status 

    Number of States 

    States/Territories 

    Patient-Safety Victory 

    9

    WY, MD, AL, IA, MN, NE, NV, TX, VT 

    Optometry Win 

    1

    AR 

    States Still in Play 

    3

    MA, PR, PA 

    On the Academy’s Watch List 
    States where OD bills remain possible, but not yet introduced

    5 FL, IL, UT, CT, CA
    David F. Chang, MD, during a photo shoot for the Academy’s Surgical Scope Fund
    A behind-the-scenes look at renowned cataract surgeon David F. Chang, MD, during a photo shoot for the Academy’s Surgical Scope Fund. Dr. Chang is one of the fund’s biggest champions, his support of which helps states preserve high surgical standards by providing money and lobbying support to combat optometric scope expansion.

    Optometry is employing similar tactics nationwide, proving that this is a coordinated, strategic campaign.

    Each proposal seems to be based on a single bill template that is similar to one used in North Carolina several years ago. The bills contain a broad range of optometric scope expansion provisions including:

    • Autonomous optometric board authority, in which optometry would be free to define optometrists’ future foray into medicine or surgery
    • Permission to perform injections and scalpel and laser surgery, along with authorization of other surgical instruments
    • Use of the word “procedures” as opposed to “surgery”
    • Prohibiting “invasive procedures” but then defining between 11 and 18 surgical procedures that are excluded

    So far this year, the Academy has supported the successful efforts of ophthalmologists to derail these optometric efforts in following states:

    • Alabama
    • Iowa
    • Maryland
    • Minnesota
    • Nebraska
    • Nevada
    • Texas
    • Vermont
    • Wyoming

    Know those for whom we fight: This video is giving lawmakers a face to remember when they are asked to consider expanding optometry’s scope to include laser and scalpel surgery along with injections and prescribing privileges.

    Make every fight your fight. Make a confidential contribution to the Academy’s Surgical Scope Fund today. You’ll be providing ophthalmologists in threatened states with tactical and staff support. Your generosity will translate into grant money that can be used to hire the best lobbyists and run public outreach campaigns that remind voters and lawmakers what’s at stake when underqualified practitioners are given surgical privileges.