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Massachusetts ODs Win Right to Treat Glaucoma

The legislation was signed into law on Jan. 1.

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New legislation in Massachusetts has expanded optometrists’ scope of practice so that they can provide glaucoma treatment.

It’s part of a broader telehealth reform bill that was signed into law on Jan. 1 by Gov. Charlie Baker, the American Optometric Association reports.

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“Historically, Massachusetts’ prescriptive scope law made it the only state in the nation to deny doctors’ of optometry authority for glaucoma treatments as organized medical groups routinely imposed barriers to patients receiving contemporary optometric care,” AOA stated in a post on its website.

The legislation “permits doctors’ use and prescription of topical and oral therapeutical agents, including those in schedules III, IV, V and VI, for diagnosing, preventing, treating or managing glaucoma, as well as the prescription of all necessary eye medications, including oral anti-infectives,” AOA explains. It becomes law 90 days after the governor’s signature.

“This is a significant and important step forward for doctors of optometry and their patients in the state of Massachusetts, and a step that has been over 14 years in the making,” said Wayne Zahka, OD, executive director of the Massachusetts Society of Optometrists. “We share our gratitude to all the people who worked on our scope legislation over the years—these wins cannot be achieved alone. Every doctor of optometry should support the AOA and their state affiliates as these are the only organizations helping to accomplish this kind of work, helping position doctors to deliver the care our patients deserve.”

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