Scope of Practice in the Cornhusker State
Optometrists looking to practice in the state of Nebraska will love the expansive scope of practice of optometric medicine. Nebraska, the Cornhusker state, offers two major metropolitan areas of Lincoln and Omaha.
Lincoln, home to the main campus of University of Nebraska is always buzzing during football season. Residents and visitors can feel an overwhelming sense of state pride when they shout “Go Big Red” on game days. In fact, on an average home football game day, the University of Nebraska’s football stadium holds enough people to be considered the third-largest city in the state. For unique downtown atmosphere, check out the Haymarket District, where visitors can explore gastropubs, nightlife, and local shopping venues.
Omaha, known for its world-famous steaks and incredible local zoo, is the largest city in the state and is another popular tourist destination. While in Omaha, people who love the great outdoors will enjoy going on the Bob Kenney Pedestrian Bridge, which spans the Missouri River and links to over a hundred miles of trails. Museums, including the Joslyn Art Museum and El Museo Latino have changing exhibitions to help you broaden your artistic and cultural horizons. Despite these big cities, Nebraska is a rather rural state and has a higher population of cows than humans!
For optometrists looking to practice in Nebraska, it is imperative to be an active member of the Nebraska Optometric Association. The NOA has had several recent victories in legislation, including a scope expansion in 2014. Under LB 526, Nebraskan ODs were granted authority to perform injections for anaphylaxis, prescribe oral steroids, and offer oral glaucoma medications. Optometric legislation cannot be passed without engagement and dedication from optometrists looking to defend their skills. Consider joining the NAO if you move to Nebraska.
Nebraska optometrists CAN:
- Prescribe oral medications such as antibiotics, steroids, antifungals, and schedule III & IV controlled substances.
- Prescribe oral steroids
- Diagnose and treat glaucoma with topical and oral drugs
- Co-manage post-operative care
- Perform procedures such as foreign body removal, dilation and irrigation, punctal occlusion, and eyelash epilation
- Prescribe and dispense spectacles and contact lenses
- Provide and aid in care of ocular prosthetics
- Order laboratory tests required for the examination, diagnosis, and treatment of a disease or condition related to the human eye
- Administer epinephrine injections for treatment of anaphylaxis
Nebraska optometrists CANNOT:
- Perform minor surgical procedures to correct ocular abnormalities, such as removal of “lumps and bumps” around the eye
- Perform anterior segment laser procedures including YAG capsulotomy used to treat cloudy lens implants following cataract surgery, Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT), and Laser Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI) used to treat some forms of glaucoma
- Administer anesthetics by injection, including subcutaneous infiltrative, intralesional, intramuscular, intravenous, and subconjunctival routes
- Laser or non-laser injection into the posterior chamber of the eye to treat any macular or retinal disease
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