March 28, 2019
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Arkansas governor signs bill granting ODs laser privileges

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Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchison signed HB1251 into law yesterday, amending optometrists’ scope of practice by allowing ODs in the state to perform certain surgical procedures, according to the state’s optometric association.

Arkansas becomes the fourth state, after Oklahoma, Kentucky and Louisiana, in which optometrists can perform certain laser privileges. Alaska is in the process of developing regulations for laser use.

Belinda R. Starkey, OD, Arkansas Optometric Association (ArOA) president, previously told Primary Care Optometry News that once the bill became law, optometrists in the state would be able to perform selective laser trabeculoplasty and Nd:YAG laser procedures, injections (excluding intravenous and intraocular) and removal of lid lesions, and chalazion incision and curettage.

Now that it has been signed into law, the scope of practice amendment will “take effect 90 days after the legislative session ends and following a formal rule promulgation process to be approved by committee,” according to an announcement from the American Optometric Association. – by Nancy Hemphill, ELS, FAAO

Disclosures: Starkey is president of the ArOA.