If you’re considering a career as an optometric physician in the beautiful state of Oregon, here is a quick guide of important things to know about the scope of practice and current laws in the state (as of January 1, 2014):
In Oregon, optometric physicians can:
- Prescribe Schedule II (hydrocodone products only) III, IV, and V narcotics (as well as oral antivirals, oral steroids, and antifungals).
- Order imaging, such as MRI, CT scans, x-rays, and angiography.
- Remove foreign bodies from the ocular region/orbit.
- Co-manage surgical patients with a physician.
- Treat glaucoma including the use of oral medications.
- Treat anterior and posterior uveitis.
- Perform dilation and irrigation.
- Perform scraping, debridement, and removal of corneal epithelium.
- Perform some minor surgical procedures that use a mechanical tool to remove or alter human tissue (such as with a small scalpel). This includes but is not limited to: chalazia removal, and eyelid cyst or conjunctival cyst lancing procedures, as long as no suturing is required.
- Deliver injectables into lids and conjunctiva, as well as for general purpose (ie. anaphylaxis).
In Oregon, optometric physicians cannot:
- Perform invasive surgical procedures.
- Perform laser surgical procedures (any procedure that involves a laser tool to cut, alter, or infiltrate human tissues), including refractive surgery.
- Prescribe Schedule I and II narcotics (except for hydrocodone products).
- Perform retrobulbar, sub-tenon or intraocular, botulinium toxin injections.
The Oregon Board of Optometry considers procedures to be within the scope of optometric practice when all of the following questions can be answered in the affirmative. Any procedure that meets these qualifications is considered within the scope of optometric practice in Oregon:
- Does this procedure involve the eye or the scope of functions of the eye?
- Can this procedure be done without invasive surgery?
- Can this procedure be done without laser surgery?
- Can this procedure be done without closure by suture?
- Can this procedure be done either without pharmaceutical agents or with pharmaceutical agents categorized in Division 80 (listed below)?
- Can this procedure be done without sub-Tenon, retrobulbar, intraocular or botulinum toxin injection?
- Can this procedure be done without conscious sedation, deep sedation, or general anesthesia?
Division 80 pharmaceutical agents:
Optometric physicians in Oregon are qualified to use, administer, and prescribe these topical pharmaceutical agents as designated by the Oregon Board of Optometry:
- Category 1 – Ocular lubricants, artificial tears, and irrigating solutions
- Category 2 – Mydriatics
- Category 3 – Cycloplegics
- Category 4 – Anesthetics
- Category 5 – Dyes
- Category 6 – Miotics
- Category 7 – Astringents and antiseptics
- Category 8 – Caustic agents
- Category 9 – Antihistamines and decongestants
- Category 10 – Anti-louse agents
- Category 11 – Hyperosmotics
- Category 12 – Anti-infectives (antibiotics, anti-virals, anti-fungals)
- Category 13 – Anti-glaucoma and ocular hypotensives
- Category 14 – Anti-inflammatories
- Category 15 – Any combination of the above agents
- Category 16 – Other agents as approved by the Board
As you can see, Oregon is a great place to practice optometry with its wide and diverse scope that is well-protected by the Oregon Optometric Physicians Association (OOPA), with support from Pacific University College of Optometry. Organized optometry in Oregon continues to make large strides toward protecting and advancing our profession.
Are you interested in joining fellow Oregonian optometrists and students to fight for our rights as practitioners? Consider attending:
- Day at the Capitol in Salem, OR, on Feb. 8-9, 2015
- Columbia Optometry Conference in Vancouver, WA, on Feb. 26-28, 2015
- Oregon’s Meeting and Board Retreat every summer in a different Oregon city
- Great Western Council of Optometry (GWCO) every fall in Portland, OR
You are also encouraged to attend AOA-PAC’s Congressional Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. every March, where you can speak with legislators on Capitol Hill. Law-makers in state capitols and D.C. alike value the viewpoints of students, so it is the perfect opportunity to learn how to advocate for optometry before you graduate!
If you would like to become a student member of the Oregon Optometric Student Association (OOPA), visit http://www.oregonoptometry.org/ and fill out the online application. For further information, email your questions and comments here, or call Lynne Olsen, Executive Assistant of the OOPA: (503) 654-5036. See you at the next optometric event in Oregon!
Check out other articles in our optometry legislative series here!