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Arkansas Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Expanded Optometry Practice Law

Not enough signatures were collected for a spot on a statewide ballot.

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An effort to rescind legislation allowing Arkansas optometrists to perform certain surgical procedures has been quashed.

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that opponents to the measure did not collect an adequate number of signatures, and so the refereundum could not go onto a statewide ballot, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.

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In a 6-1 ruling, the court excluded “tens of thousands of signatures,” according to the newspaper. The justices stated that there were problems with the required background checks for the workers who gathered signatures.

The expansion of scope for optometrists was supported by Arkansans for Healthy Eyes, a coalition of ODs and patients. The opposition effort was led by Safe Surgery Arkansas.

Vicki Farmer, chairwoman for Arkansans for Healthy Eyes, said in a statement: “We are pleased the Court agrees with the Special Master’s findings that the group opposing Act 579 did NOT follow petition requirements and the measure does NOT qualify for the ballot. Patients across Arkansas will now have improved access to quality eye care from the doctor of optometry they know and trust.”

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The operations allowed under the law include selective laser trabeculoplasty and Nd:YAG laser procedures, along with injections (excluding intravenous and intraocular), removal of lid lesions and chalazion incision and curettage.

Read more at the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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