Developments are seen in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Although currently allowed only in Oklahoma and Kentucky, efforts are underway elsewhere to expand the ability of optometrists to use lasers in a surgical capacity. ODs in those two states point to patient benefits as a compelling reason to allow the expansion of services. “There was a time before our law went into effect in Kentucky that my patients were having to wait anywhere from six to eight weeks from the time I diagnosed their condition to when they were actually able to have the procedure,” says OD John Heltsley. In Tennessee, legislation is moving forward that would permit ODs to inject local anesthetic for primary treatment of eyelid lesions. That bill, however, faces powerful opposition from the Tennessee Medical Association and the Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology.