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State Expands Optometrists’ Scope of Practice

The measure takes effect in March 2020.

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has signed into law a measure expanding optometrists’ scope of practice.

The American Optometric Association explains that the bill repeals “certain provisions of law that required a therapeutically certified optometrist to refer certain patients to an ophthalmologist.”

It also “authorizes prescribing authority for topical agents and oral pharmaceuticals (with some exceptions) for the prevention, management or treatment of conditions and diseases of the eye and ocular adnexa, as well as expanding procedures and management of certain patients.”

“With the stroke of his pen on Tuesday, Gov. Hogan improved access to eye care for Maryland’s citizens with this common-sense legislation,” said Dr. Kevin Johnson, president of the Maryland Optometric Association. “I’m very excited to announce that Maryland is no longer one of the most restrictive states in the U.S. to practice optometry.”

The measure will take effect in March 2020.

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AOA continues:

Specifically, the new law permits Maryland’s doctors of optometry independent management of open-angle glaucoma patients; corneal and conjunctival foreign body removal with any tool other than a scalpel; ordering and performing tests, such as blood, cultures and non-radiographic imaging; prescribing of all topical agents except anti-metabolites; and prescribing of any oral pharmaceutical with certain exceptions. Additionally, the amendment includes licensure and continuing education requirements.

Read more at AOA 

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