June 03, 2014
1 min read

Louisiana grants optometrists surgery privileges

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Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a bill into law on Sunday that has expanded the scope of practice for optometrists in Louisiana, according to the Optometry Association of Louisiana.

HB 1065 allows optometrists to perform several laser procedures, including YAG capsulotomy, peripheral iridotomy and selective laser trabeculoplasty, according to the new law.

It also states that the scope of optometry now includes the “use or prescription of vision therapy, ocular exercise, rehabilitation therapy, subnormal vision therapy and ordering of appropriate diagnostic lab or imaging tests.”

Gov. Bobby Jindal 

Gov. Bobby Jindal signing HB1065.

Source: The Optometry Association of Louisiana

Additionally, the definition of a diagnostic and therapeutic pharmaceutical agent has been changed from “any chemical in solution, suspension, emulsion, ointment base or other form that when used topically or orally has the property of assisting in” to “any prescription or nonprescription drug delivered by any route of administration, used or prescribed for the diagnosis, prevention, treatment or mitigation of abnormal conditions and pathology of the human eye and its adnexa.”

The new law also lists restrictions for optometrists. With the exception of pre- and postoperative care for these procedures, optometrists are prohibited from performing retina laser procedures, LASIK, PRK and LASEK, as well as any form of refractive surgery.

Other procedures excluded from the scope of optometry include penetrating keratoplasty, corneal implant, or lamellar keratoplasty; the administration of general anesthesia; surgery done with general anesthesia; and laser or non-laser injection into the vitreous chamber of the eye to treat any macular or retinal disease.

The Optometry Association of Louisiana welcomes the expansion, according to the association’s executive director, James Sandefur, OD.

“The bill will increase access to improved eye care, as well as give the consumer choice in eye care providers for the first time,” Sandefur told Primary Care Optometry News “It is a win-win for our patients.”