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The ‘Eyeball Wars’ Are Back As ECPs Wage a Turf Battle

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It’s optometry against ophthalmology.

Florida’s notorious “eyeball wars” have re-emerged as the state’s optometrists and ophthalmologists take their long-running disagreements to the legislature.

A proposal to allow optometrists to perform certain surgical procedures that have been the domain of ophthalmologists recently got the OK from a subcommittee of the state’s House of Representatives, the News Service of Florida reports.

As in similar battles in other states, optometrists say the idea behind the proposal is to give patients better access to eyecare. Ophthalmologists say the bill would create safety issues because optometrists don’t have the same training that they do.

The issue has come up in other states, including North Carolina, where a proposed law would permit optometrists to carry out four types of surgery, including certain laser procedures for glaucoma and cataracts. And in some states, such as Georgia, debate has recently centered on whether to allow optometrists to inject drugs into patients’ eyelids.

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Many in Florida thought that state’s heated legislative battle over surgery was settled with a compromise four years ago. It permitted prescribing of certain oral drugs by optometrists, but not surgical procedures.

But now that the issue is back — there’s a bill in the Senate in addition to the one in the House — it looks to be as contentious as ever.

Read more at News Service of Florida

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