|Optometrists play a primary role in the everyday eye care for the citizens of our Commonwealth and they are trained to diagnose and treat a variety of vision conditions and diseases. However, Pennsylvania continues to remain behind in regard to what other states allow an optometrist to do in providing timely access to care for patients.
Therefore, I plan to introduce legislation amending the Optometric Practice and Licensure Act to make the following updates:
- Revise the therapeutic drug approval process. Currently, Pennsylvania is one of only two states that requires the Secretary of Health’s approval of therapeutic drugs that optometrists can prescribe. The bill will replace the Secretary from this process with the State Board of Optometry and the Food and Drug Administration.
- Allow optometrists to order and interpret specific noninvasive imaging tests appropriate for diagnosis and treatment of a disease or condition of vision.
- Update the definition of the practice of optometry regarding the prevention of eye health conditions, the treatment of glaucoma and the treatment of anaphylaxis.
- Clarify that optometrists may not perform surgery.
- Enhance the ability for optometric student externs to gain experience and instruction under a licensed optometrist.
- Expand the types of conditions an optometrist may treat longer than six weeks without consultation with a licensed physician to include dry eye and allergies.
- Add language to penalize an optometrist if an optometrist advertises a service that is prohibited under the practice act.
I believe this legislation makes necessary updates that will ultimately improve patient care while ensuring patient safety. I invite you to cosponsor this important legislation.