WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Georgia Society of Ophthalmology, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Medical Association of Georgia, and other medical groups were instrumental last week in defeating three attempts by organized optometry to pass legislation in Georgia that would have expanded optometrists' reach into the practice of medicine.
First the combined groups defeated Senate Bill 351 backed by organized optometry that called for mandatory comprehensive eye exams for all pre-kindergarten children before entering school. The legislature instead substituted S.R. 677, which directs the bill to an interim committee for further study, effectively stopping action.
The AAO said that they thought Senate Bill 351 appeared benign on the surface. The Georgia Eye MDs pointed to the Academy’s joint policy with the American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus that states such an eye exam mandate is unnecessary and a poor use of scarce public health care dollars.
The second defeat centered around House Bill 1156, a bill that if passed would have allowed the State Board of Optometry to expand optometric prescription authority through the creation of an optometric drug formulary. That bill was pulled from legislative consideration as a result of legislator education efforts on the part of the Georgia Eye MDs and the Medical Association of Georgia, which aggressively advocated for ophthalmology.
The last defeat occurred when optometry introduced House Bill 1408, a bill that would have expanded optometry’s prescription drug authority from only topical to all oral drugs. It was also pulled from further consideration.