A Wide Scope of Practice for Optometry in Indiana

Let’s start with a little history lesson to set the stage…

In 1895, Charles F. Prentice was the very first optometrist to charge money for an eye exam. Dr. Prentice then went on to form a group of optometrists that is now known as the American Optometric Association. The AOA’s first major legal case took place in Texas with a man named Fred Baker, who had been arrested for fitting a man in glasses. The AOA, along with Prentice, won this case and the Texan court recognized optometry as a medical practice! Since that time, the AOA has made some serious strides for the profession, always there fighting at the front lines when the scope or access of optometry is in danger. We also must not forget the great importance of each state’s optometric association! The Indiana Optometric Association (IOA) has worked tirelessly to keep optometry moving forward.

Optometrists in Indiana are legally permitted to (not limited to this list, of course):

  • Prescribe oral medications, including antivirals, NSAIDs, antifungals, and steroids
  • Diagnose and treat glaucoma with topical and/or oral drugs
  • Use topicals such as miotics, mydriatics, cycloplegics, and anesthetics
  • Prescribe Schedule IV drugs and Tramadol
  • Order imaging
  • Deliver injections, as of January 2014!

Optometrists in Indiana CANNOT:

  • Perform any type of (laser) surgery
  • Prescribe Schedule II and III controlled narcotic legend drugs

A taste of Indiana’s past and present victories:

1935 was arguably the most crucial year as far as kicking off legislature for Indiana optometrists. This was the year that ODs in Indiana were authorized to use legend drugs; they were finally granted the legal right to “practice to the fullest extent of their education and clinical experience.” In 2011, the IOA attempted to pass Bill 1114, which would allow ODs to prescribe controlled narcotic legend drugs. Even though the bill did not pass, it would continue to serve as motivation for the future scope of optometry in Indiana. The fact that the bill failed is simply proof that it was even attempted in the first place, which is a bigger deal than you might think!  Indiana’s most recent victory was injections, which became a part of the legal scope of practice of Indiana optometrists starting in January of 2014, thanks to the tireless work of the IOA. The IOA truly understands the importance of being a constant presence at the national level, as well as keeping local members informed and involved.

How to get involved with Indiana optometry:

All in all, Indiana has an impressive scope of practice and has made and will continue to make large strides towards the advancement of the profession. None of this advancement would have possible without the doctors involved in the IOA. If you’re interested in joining alongside this inspiring group of ODs (or hope to one day practice in the Hoosier state and would like to become a student member, become a member of the IOA today!

The IOA Annual Convention at French Lick Springs Hotel & Resort in French Lick, IN took place this last April. Be sure to plan on attending next year’s conferenceGO HOOSIERS!

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