It’s turning into an ugly war of words.
The flames of a decades-long disagreement between ophthalmologists and optometrists in Alaska have been stoked once more with the introduction of new a bill that would expand the scope of work that optometrists in the state would be allowed to perform, as the Alaska Dispatch News details.
The article says that Senate Bill 55 is a two-page document that was written by Alaskan optometrist Jeff Gonnason and sponsored by Sen. Cathy Giessel. Each side is paying large sums of money to push their agendas through lobbying and advertising efforts.
The ophthalmologists, for example, recently paid for a radio spot whose script read: “Optometrists want Alaskan politicians to give them the authority to operate on Alaskans’ eyes with lasers, scalpels, and needles, all without completing their required clinical and surgical training that physicians and surgeons do. If optometrists want to be eye surgeons, send them to medical school — not the legislature.”
Speaking for optometrists in the state, Gonasson counters: “We’re the underdog that keeps getting stepped on by these egomaniacal bastards. This is all over turf and it’s all over money — it’s nothing to do with anything but denying access to care.”