Our View: Who Can Do Eye Surgery? We Need a Visionary Answer - Safe Surgery NC

Our View: Who Can Do Eye Surgery? We Need a Visionary Answer

This article was written by The Fayetteville Observer. 

North Carolina’s optometrists and ophthalmologists are poking each other in the political eye this year, sparring over legislation that would allow optometrists to perform several kinds of laser surgeries. The debate so far has been as much about politics and money as it’s been about the eye health of North Carolina residents. That needs to change.

The surgeries in question are two laser procedures for glaucoma, one laser surgery for cataracts, and the removal of “skin tags” or benign lesions around the eyes.

The optometrists argue that allowing them to perform these relatively common and simple procedures would improve eye care in parts of the state where there are few or no ophthalmologists.

The ophthalmologists argue that optometrists don’t have the medical and surgical training to safely perform those surgeries, especially when the case turns complex. Nor, they say, do they have the training to help them recognize when lesions may actually be cancerous.

Optometrists get four years of post-college training in dealing with eye diseases and correcting vision problems. Ophthalmologists must complete medical school in addition to their specialized training in eye treatments and surgery.


Publication: The Fayetteville Observer

Date Published: March 29, 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.