- Americans prefer Doctors of Optometry as their eye care expert nearly 2x more than MDs (ophthalmologists).
- The most-trusted source for reliable eye health information is a Doctor of Optometry - not an MD (ophthalmologist or primary care physician).
(American Eye-Q Survey, Results published Jan 2019)
Doctors of Optometry use a microscope to identify over 270 systemic health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, auto-immune diseases, cancers and more.
Optometrists are trusted and more accessible since their eye surgeon colleagues (ophthalmologists) are not even in half the counties in Colorado.*
Adapting to Needs
4 years Undergraduate University
4 years DOCTOR OF OPTOMETRY SCHOOL
of patients with eye diseases receive care and treatment during optometric training
hours of optometry education and supervised patient care before independently seeing patients
hours of ongoing education in a career after graduation from Doctor of Optometry school
years of national standardized testing to practice Optometry in Colorado
Nationally, Doctors of Optometry already
perform in-office laser and in-office eyelid procedures
to treat glaucoma, after-cataract surgery care, eyelid styes and more. While optometrists are the trusted professionals for the majority of eye care patients in the United States, you still need an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) to perform cataract surgery, LASIK, retina surgery and more.
Every US Optometry school trains Doctors of Optometry to perform in-office laser and eyelid procedures. In other states, these procedures have been safely provided by optometrists since the 1990s.
Why do optometrists need states to legislate their profession?
Every state governs the privileges of its health care providers through licensing programs. For example, every optometry school trains its students but each state’s scope of practice differs. Typically, MDs try to limit the practice of optometrists, dentists, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health professionals.
A Professor of both Ophthalmology and Optometry's Perspective
Dr. Richard Castillo, OD, DO is both an Ophthalmologist and Optometrist. In this video he discusses the reasons why in-office laser and eyelid procedures are needed in Colorado!
In 2022, the Colorado General Assembly is considering legislation that allows Doctors of Optometry to practice to the scope of their education and training by allowing them to perform in-office laser and eyelid procedures - House Bill 22-1233. Doctors of Optometry have been trained for and have performed these in-office procedures in other states for decades. It's time for Colorado to catch up, especially since more than half the counties in Colorado do not even have ophthalmologists, making it difficult to access care. With this legislation, optometrists will be better able to keep pace with evolving changes in healthcare and technology and provide more comprehensive care to patients in their communities.
- Doctors of Optometry have safely performed some in-office procedures for more than 20 years in other states
- This legislation does not include LASIK, cataract surgery or retina procedures
- Doctors of Optometry are trained to perform in-office surgery procedures in school and are certified by experts
- Doctors of Optometry in Colorado have been treating glaucoma and eyelid conditions for decades
- Doctors of Optometry have been managing and treating complications from these procedures for decades
Doctors of Optometry in other states have been performing in-office eye laser procedures for glaucoma and after-cataract care as well as in-office eyelid procedures for styes and other conditions since the 1990s.
By expanding in-office laser and eyelid procedures in Colorado within an optometrist's scope of training and education, Coloradans will have better access to the care they need.
Nationwide research comparing glaucoma in-office eye laser procedures shows...
13x more ophthalmologists (eye surgeons) make a patient repeat their laser procedure two additional times compared to when a Doctor of Optometry performs the same procedure.
Based on publicly available Medicare data
Ophthalmologists (eye surgeons) that oppose the 2022 'Optometry Bill' will say:
Click each statement below to learn more
- Ophthalmologists will say that If an optometrist performs in-office eye laser procedures, the patient will require re-treatment 2.5 times
- Eye MDs will argue that only MDs have the training to perform in-office laser and eyelid procedures
- Ophthalmologists will argue there is no need to expand access for optometrists to perform in-office eye laser procedures
- Ophthalmology will argue that this new bill opens the door to hidden surgical procedures being performed by optometrists
- Eye MDs will argue that optometrists only take a weekend course to get certified for in-office eye laser procedures
- MDs fight all scope of practice changes against Optometrists
One optometrist in Oklahoma performed more laser procedures than a group of ophthalmologists. MDs exploited that by writing a paper about it. However, MDs refused to look at the nationwide data because it showed 13x more Eye MDs required patients to have 3 procedures compared to when Doctors of Optometry perform the same.
Doctors of Optometry have been performing in‑office laser and in-office eyelid procedures since the 1990s. The argument that only MDs are supposed to perform these procedures ended more than two decades ago.
Every US Doctor of Optometry school in the USA teaches and trains optometrists for in‑office laser and in-office eyelid procedures. In addition, every Optometrist that qualifies to perform in‑office laser and in-office eyelid surgery procedures has been certified by experts including by ophthalmology. It's time to update the Colorado Practice Act to the 21st century.
Doctors of Optometry have been performing in-office laser and in-office eyelid procedures for decades. Colorado is late to adopt such a law. Eye MDs published an article in 2018 that proved patients would have to drive nearly 2x further by limiting these in-office eye procedures to only ophthalmologists.*
JAMA Ophthalmology 2018
The 'Optometry Bill' before the 2022 General Assembly only allows specific in‑office laser and eyelid procedures. These in‑office procedures DO NOT include major surgeries like cataract surgery, retina surgery, LASIK and more.
In-office laser and in-office eyelid procedure certification is a major endeavor. It requires:
- 4 years of Doctor of Optometry school
- Evaluation and management of thousands of patients
- Years of training in ocular disease and treatment
- Three board examinations
- Performance proficiency examination
Clearly this is impossible to accomplish in only one weekend.
MDs in Colorado have fought against the ability of Doctors of Optometry to care for their patients since the 1980s. In that time, MDs have tried to stop Optometrists from:
- Dilating patient’s pupils.
- Prescribing eye drops for pink eye and glaucoma.
- Prescribing oral medication for eye infections and inflammation.
- Performing in-office procedures to treat eye infections, inflammation and other conditions.
MDs try to convince the public and legislators that their care is the only one that should allow these medical procedures despite there being zero evidence of ill-effects of optometric care over the past four decades. The entire Optometry profession has been built upon personal eye health and vision care for the betterment of society. This is why the public prefers Optometrists for their personalized eye health care.
100,000 and counting...
Optometrists in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Louisiana have performed over 100,000 in-office eye laser procedures* since 1998:
Zero unexpected complications.
Zero regulatory events.
Your optometrist is educated, trained and certified to perform safe, effective and efficient care!
*OK, KY & LA Boards of Optometry 2021-2022
COLORADO MEDIA UPDATES
Let our optometrists do more for their patients
In rural Colorado, we are used to having to drive long distances, but we don’t always need to. My patients’ time is valuable. For many it is inconvenient and more expensive to travel, along with delaying care, when they are forced to see another provider for services that could be done in a primary eye care provider’s office in Craig.
Colorado Optometrists have changed their scope of practice several times over the past 40 years to keep their patient care up to the standards of the doctor's education, ability and training. The experience of Colorado Doctors of Optometry over the past 40 years shows their incredible track record of neighborhood patient care and trust within the legislative community.
Optometry and Ophthalmology play a vital, coordinated role in modern eye care
Doctors of Optometry respect and work closely alongside Ophthalmologists to provide their patients the best possible eye care in Colorado.
Ophthalmologists provide a critical surgical role in LASIK, incisional glaucoma surgery, retinal surgery, eye muscle surgery, corneal transplants, and much much more. Patients are much better served when each discipline is able to practice to the fullest extent of their education and training.