California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Optometry Practice Act, which expands the number of procedures optometrists may offer to patients, consistent with most other states, according to the California Optometric Association.
Effective Jan. 1, AB 443 allows therapeutic pharmaceutical agent (TPA)-certified optometrists to use all non-controlled substances, noninvasive medical devices and technology that are FDA-indicated for a condition optometrists can treat, as stated in a press release from the California Optometric Association (COA).
In addition, the California State Board of Optometry may authorize the use of new technologies as they become available.
“The California Optometric Association is proud to have opened the door to health for more Californians through AB 443,” COA President Sade Hider, OD, said in the press release. “AB 443 also strengthens optometrists’ role in California’s fight against diabetes, offering optometrists more tools to detect diabetes early, prevent blindness and save lives.”
The COA stated that AB 443 allows TPA-certified optometrists to:
--prescribe tramadol for up to 3 days;
--treat hypotrichosis with Latisse (bimatoprost, Allergan);
--give intravenous injection for performing ocular angiography, under a supervision protocol;
--perform skin prick tests for diabetes;
--skin test for allergies;
--use a needle to remove foreign bodies;
--treat steroid-induced glaucoma (if glaucoma-certified); and
-- administer flu, shingles and pneumonia vaccines with proper training.
“Improving such access is especially crucial for communities with lower incomes and those that are urban or geographically remote and face low numbers of primary care providers,” Hider added.