The association is helping states with this issue.

Scope expansion is key to optometry’s future success, says Dr. Samuel Pierce, president of the American Optometric Association.

"Although the public's trust in doctors of optometry is high, we need to continue to prepare to practice to the fullest extent of our education, training and experience," he writes in a new letter on the group's website. "Without doing so, we deprive patients of the care they richly need and deserve."

He explains that in June, at Optometry's Meeting, AOA announced a push to support states in their scope-expansion efforts.

"We will help state affiliates evaluate where they are, where they need to be and what needs to happen for doctors to practice to their fullest," he writes.

He writes that optometrists "can drive home our cause by practicing at the highest level of their education and training."

He advises the following:

  • Take continuing education courses that improve on your current training.
  • Incorporate new procedures into your practice, such as ­fitting scleral lenses or using amniotic membranes to treat corneal wounds.
  • Work more closely with other healthcare professionals. For instance, check patients' blood pressure and work with the primary care providers of those with hypertension to help lower their blood pressure.
  • Embrace emerging technologies that raise the standard of care for patients, while guarding against those that don't.

Read more at AOA

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