Proposed legislation in Wyoming would allow certain noninvasive procedures within the optometry scope of practice as well as the ability to prescribe, dispense and administer approved pharmaceutical agents.
“This bill is critical to help patients in Wyoming gain access to care that is readily available but restricted due to outdated regulations,” Wyoming Optometric Association executive director, Kari Cline, told Primary Care Optometry News.
Senate File 55, “Optometrists’ practice act amendments” was passed by the Senate in January; it now goes to the House for vote.
“Wyoming doctors of optometry provide eye care access to 98% of the state’s total population,” Cline said. “Despite broad access to optometric care, residents of Wyoming are restricted from getting a full range of optometric care and services.”
The bill would allow therapeutic lasers or surgery for use in noninvasive optometric procedures. It defines “noninvasive optometric procedure” as any optometric procedure that does not penetrate beyond the cornea or sclera and the procedures of Nd:YAG laser capsulotomy, laser peripheral iridotomy, laser trabeculoplasty and procedures that are substantially similar and improvements to any of [these procedures],” according to the legislation.
It also allows for prescribing and administration of pharmaceutical agents excluding Schedule I and II narcotics, but allows for hydrocodone or hydrocodone-containing agents, regardless of schedule.
The following ophthalmic procedures would be excluded, outside of preoperative and postoperative care:
- retina or corneal procedures;
- penetrating keratoplasty or corneal transplants;
- administration of general anesthesia;
- surgery performed with general anesthesia;
- laser or non-laser procedures into the vitreous chamber for the purpose of treating any retinal or macular disease;
- surgery related to removal of an eye from a living person;
- surgery requiring full thickness incision or excision of the cornea or sclera, other than paracentesis, in an emergency requiring immediate reduction of pressure inside the eye;
- surgery requiring incision of the iris or ciliary body, including diathermy or cryotherapy;
- surgery requiring incision of the vitreous;
- surgery requiring incision of the retina;
- surgical extraction of the crystalline lens;
- surgical intraocular implants;
- incisional or excisional surgery of the extraocular muscles;
- surgery of the eyelid for suspected malignancies for incisional cosmetic or mechanical repair of the blepharochalasis, ptosis or tarsorrhaphy;
- surgery of the bony orbit, including orbital implants
- incisional or exclusional surgery of the lacrimal system other than probing or related procedures;
- surgery requiring full thickness conjunctivoplasty with graft or flap; and
- pterygium surgery.
Further, the state health officer may authorize licensed optometrists to administer immunizations provided the authority is not inconsistent with other law and when necessary for public health.
In addition, the legislation states that the Wyoming state board of examiners in optometry will increase in size from three members to five members appointed by the governor and must include three licensed optometrists, one member of the public and one licensed health care professional.
Disclosure: Cline is executive director of the Wyoming Optometric Association.