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Idaho Considers Allowing ODs to Perform Laser Eye Surgery

But the bill has drawn opposition from some ophthalmologists.

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Proposed legislation in Idaho would give optometrists the right to perform laser eye surgery.

In order to perform laser procedures, optometrists would have to pass an examination by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry, East Idaho News reports. They they would be required to do at least five of the procedures under supervision of an ophthalmologist.

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The proposal is a House bill supported by The Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licensing. It’s currently being discussed in the House Health & Welfare Committee.

“We want to make sure that our laws and rules are as up to date as possible,” said Julie Eavenson of the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licensing, according to East Idaho News.

“And the reason that we’re looking at them is because the governor has said — and the Legislature — ‘You need to have minimum qualifications. You need to protect the public, but you need to remove barriers.'”

The bill has drawn opposition from some ophthalmologists.

The legislation “poses an incredible risk to Idahoans and ignores the importance of medical education and training to perform surgery,” Dr. James Earl of Retina Specialists of Idaho said in a press release issued by from Eye M.D.s of Idaho.

The issue has been hotly debated in other states.

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In March, the governor of Arkansas signed into law a measure allowing optometrists to perform certain surgical procedures. The operations included selective laser trabeculoplasty and Nd:YAG laser procedures, along with injections (excluding intravenous and intraocular), removal of lid lesions and chalazion incision and curettage.

At the time, the American Optometric Association stated that Arkansas was the fourth state to permit laser procedures and that Alaska was developing regulations for their use.

Read more at the East Idaho News

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