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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 9, 2019 10:38 AM
From: Senator John R. Gordner
To: All Senate members
Subject: Modernization of the Optometric Practice and Licensure Act
Doctors of Optometry play a primary role in the everyday eye care for the citizens of our Commonwealth. Through eight years of education at a college or university and then an optometric school, they are trained to diagnose and treat a variety of diseases or vision conditions. 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 will be re-introducing legislation (SB 668) that would amend the Optometric Practice and Licensure Act by doing the following:
  • 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 are allowed to prescribe. The bill will replace the Secretary from this process with the State Board of Optometry and the Food and Drug Administration. It will also allow Doctors of Optometry to order an imaging test appropriate for diagnosis and treatment of a disease or condition of vision.
  • Clarifies the definition of the practice of optometry regarding treatment of eye health conditions and prescription of medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Permits the treatment of anaphylaxis by Doctors of Optometry, bringing Pennsylvania into accord with the majority of states.
  • Clarifies that Doctors of Optometry may not perform surgery and that any insurance procedure and billing code may not be used to define surgery.
Co-sponsors of SB 668, which comfortably passed the Senate last Session, include: Baker, Brewster, Folmer, Hutchinson, Scarnati, Stefano, White and Yudichack.

I invite your co-sponsorship of this legislation.

Introduced as SB391