Leave Eye Surgery to Ophthalmologists - Safe Surgery NC

Leave Eye Surgery to Ophthalmologists

This article was written by StarNews Editorial Board for StarNews Online.


For years, ophthalmologists and optometrists together have met the various eye-care needs of North Carolinians. It’s important to understand, however, that they are distinctly different professions. The N.C. General Assembly is considering greatly blurring that distinction, putting the health of patients at risk.

Like other health-care specialists, ophthalmologists are medical doctors who have gone on to receive years of advanced training in the medical and surgical care of the eye. Optometrists are not medical doctors, but are trained to screen for general eye health and to prescribe corrective lenses and treat some eye problems. In North Carolina, as in 46 other states, optometrists are not allowed to perform surgery.


States regulate the scope of practice of optometrists. Current North Carolina law defines optometry as “The examination of the human eye by any method, other than surgery, to diagnose, to treat, or to refer for consultation or treatment any abnormal condition of the human eye …”

Publication: StarNews Online

Date Published: April 11, 2017

HB36 is a dangerous bill before the North Carolina General Assembly. If passed, HB36 will enable Optometrists, who did not attend medical school, the ability to perform eye surgery within our state.