Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed SB 511 into law March 9, allowing optometrists in the state to perform limited injections to treat chalazia.
This change, which goes into effect July 1, applies to optometrists who are therapeutic pharmaceutical agent- and board-certified and have passed certain courses and examinations.
“SB 511 continues the advance of medical optometry in Virginia,” Bo Keeney, executive director of the Virginia Optometric Association, told Primary Care Optometry News. “Recognizing the clinical and didactic training of today's optometrist, SB 511 will allow Virginia ODs to perform limited injections of Schedule VI steroids into chalazia.
“Most importantly this legislation clarifies that the practice of optometry includes the evaluation, examination, diagnosis and treatment of abnormal or diseased conditions of the human eye and its adnexa using medically recognized and appropriate devices, procedures or technologies,” Keeney added.
The updated legislation specifies that the practice of optometry does not include treatment through surgery, including with the use of lasers, nor the use of injections except for chalazia and the treating anaphylactic shock with epinephrine.
Optometrists in the state were already permitted to prescribe and administer Schedule II controlled substances consisting of hydrocodone in combination with acetaminophen and Schedules III through VI controlled substances and devices, according to the legislation. – by Abigail Sutton