Access is the first boundary to health care. Optometrists are Idaho's most accessible eye care providers. In many counties, they are the only eye doctors.*
using scalpels and other instruments with zero complaints to the State Board of Optometry on any adverse outcomes in the over two decades these surgical procedures have been performed.
Every US Optometry school trains Doctors of Optometry to perform in-office laser and eyelid procedures. In other states, these procedures have been safely provided by optometrists since the 1990s.
Doctors of Optometry respect and work closely alongside Ophthalmologists to provide their patients the best possible eye care in Idaho.
Ophthalmologists provide a critical surgical role in LASIK, incisional glaucoma surgery, retinal surgery, eye muscle surgery, corneal transplants, and much much more. Patients are much better served when each discipline is able to practice to the fullest extent of their education and training.
Every state governs the privileges of its health care providers through licensing programs. For example, every optometry school trains its students but each state’s scope of practice differs. Typically, MDs try to limit the practice of optometrists, dentists, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health professionals.
Dr. Richard Castillo, OD, DO is both an Ophthalmologist and Optometrist. In this video he discusses the reasons why in-office laser and eyelid procedures are needed in Idaho!
Ophthalmologists often claim that their training is superior to Doctors of Optometry and have tried to limit them from:
Imagine your Doctor of Optometry not being permitted to dilate pupils or treat pink eye, as MDs once opposed.
In 2023, the Idaho Legislature is considering legislation that allows Doctors of Optometry to practice to the scope of their education and training by allowing them to perform in-office laser procedures. Doctors of Optometry have been trained for and have performed these in-office procedures in other states for decades. It's time for Idaho to catch up, especially since more than half the counties in Idaho do not even have ophthalmologists, making it difficult to access care. With this legislation, optometrists will be better able to keep pace with evolving changes in healthcare and technology and provide more comprehensive care to patients in their communities.
Doctors of Optometry in other states have been performing in-office eye laser procedures for glaucoma and after-cataract care since the 1990s.
By expanding in-office laser procedures in Idaho within an optometrist's scope of training and education, Idahoans will have better access to the care they need.
Based on publicly available Medicare data.
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One optometrist in Oklahoma performed more laser procedures than a group of ophthalmologists. MDs exploited that by writing a paper about it. However, MDs refused to look at the nationwide data because it showed 13x more Eye MDs required patients to have 3 procedures compared to when Doctors of Optometry perform the same.
Doctors of Optometry have been performing in‑office laser procedures since the 1990s. The argument that only MDs are supposed to perform these procedures ended more than two decades ago.
Every US Doctor of Optometry school in the USA teaches and trains optometrists for in‑office laser procedures. In addition, every Optometrist that qualifies to perform in‑office laser procedures has been certified by experts including by ophthalmology. It's time to update the Idaho Practice Act to the 21st century.
Doctors of Optometry have been performing in-office laser and in-office eyelid procedures for decades. Idaho is late to adopt such a law. Eye MDs published an article in 2018 that proved patients would have to drive nearly 2x further by limiting these in-office eye procedures to only ophthalmologists.*
The 'Optometry Bill' before the 2023 Idaho Legislature only allows specific in‑office laser procedures. These in‑office procedures DO NOT include major surgeries like cataract surgery, retina surgery, LASIK and more.
In-office laser procedure certification is a major endeavor. It requires:
Clearly this is impossible to accomplish in only one weekend.
Only ONE reported negative outcome in nearly 40 years.
No increase in malpractice insurance rates.
Excellent record of safety and effectiveness.
Recent legislation allows optometrists in Alaska, Wyoming, Colorado, Mississippi, Arkansas, Indiana, and Virginia to perform in-office laser procedures.
*OK, KY, & LA Boards of Optometry 2021-2022