• Optometric Surgery Expansion Derailed in New Mexico

    The following is a joint statement by the New Mexico Academy of Ophthalmology, the New Mexico Medical Society and the American Academy of Ophthalmology on recently enacted legislation denying the New Mexico Board of Optometry autonomy to determine scope of practice:

    In a major victory for patient safety, the New Mexico Academy of Ophthalmology and the New Mexico Medical Society, in partnership with the American Academy of Ophthalmology, successfully advocated to remove dangerous provisions of Senate Bill 367 prior to its enactment. Without the addition of crucial amendments, SB 367 would have given the New Mexico Board of Optometry ‘sole’ authority to determine what constitutes the profession’s scope of practice. Enactment of such a policy would have allowed the board to unilaterally determine optometric scope of practice, including laser surgery and the expansion of optometry’s limited authority to perform certain scalpel procedures. Furthermore, the bill would have rescinded the legislature’s constitutional authority to pass any future laws regarding the optometric scope of practice. 

    We commend the legislature for recognizing the threats to patient safety originally contained in SB 367 and for removing those dangerous provisions. In doing so, New Mexico lawmakers have demonstrated the vital importance of legislative checks and balances in state government.

    Paul A. Sanchez, MD
    President, New Mexico Academy of Ophthalmology 

    James Martinez, MD
    President, New Mexico Medical Society

    Russell N. Van Gelder, MD, PhD
    President, American Academy of Ophthalmology