BLOG: Patients’ best interests should dictate scope of practice

  • July 21, 2014

The state of Louisiana recently expanded the scope of practice for optometrists to include performing limited laser procedures. This could not be a more divisive issue. Those who favor expansion of optometric scope of practice would label it a win for patient access, whereas those against such laws would argue that less-than-qualified individuals will be performing surgery. 

Indeed, there are parts of our country where patient access to qualified ophthalmologists is limited. Otherwise, there would be no need to consider such laws. But do these laws really compromise patient care? If we consider a patient’s best interests, there may be very rare situations where someone other than an ophthalmologist should reasonably perform eye surgery — such as when a remotely located patient is simply too ill to travel to a medical doctor’s care. Even in such remote locations, though, will rarely be found a traveling laser without an accompanying ophthalmologist. Get the whole story

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