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Optometry Scope Debate Emerges in Utah

A new bill would give optometrists the right to perform certain laser procedures.




A legislative bill in Utah would grant optometrists the right to perform certain laser procedures.

The state House of Representatives passed the measure on Tuesday and it’s now headed to the Senate, KUTV reports.

The procedures that would be allowed are laser capsulotomy, laser trabeculoplasty and laser peripheral iridotomy, reports.

“Our goal is not to enter operating rooms that provide major surgical care for patients, but to provide these minor, in-office treatments that can save patients time and money,” said Dr. Weston Barney, president of Utah Optometric Association, according to KSL.

Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, who sponsored the bill, said nine other states have passed similar legislation.

Ophthalmologists are voicing opposition to the bill. Dr. Jared Parker, an ophthalmologist in Salt Lake City, said there are safety concerns because of differences in training between ODs and ophthalmologist.


“There is no such thing as routine eye surgery,” he said, according to KSL. “Eye lasers cut tissue and carry significant risk.”



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