New Hampshire, also known as “The Granite State,” is home to the beautiful White Mountain range as well a diverse array of outdoor activities. Home to beautiful lakes, hiking trails, skiing resorts, and even a small coastline, New Hampshire is perfect for future optometrists who love the great outdoors. New Hampshire residents enjoy a lower cost of living and lower tax rates than many of their surrounding states, making it an economically affordable place to live. Statistically speaking, New Hampshire is ranked number eight overall when it comes to health in the United States and has a lower rate of major diseases like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
For those looking for a great place to practice and raise a family, the more southern Manchester-Nashua metropolitan area is ideal. Over a third of the state’s population calls Manchester home and it is a convenient one-hour drive from Boston, Massachusetts. No matter where you end up in the state, the beautiful view and quaint New England towns will never disappoint.
When it comes to optometry, the New Hampshire Optometric Association (NHOA) has played an active role in expanding the scope of practice for optometrists for more than 110 years. The NHOA is actively involved in the community, participating in programs such as “Think About Your Eyes,” the “Diabetic Eye Exam Initiative,” and “InfantSEE Program.” The NHOA is dedicated to providing high-quality continuing education to their optometrists as well as educating the general public on eye care. It is their mission to promote public welfare as well as the profession of optometry. If you are interested or plan on practicing in New Hampshire after you graduate, you should visit the NHOA website to get connected and involved. On their website, you will be able to find job opportunities as well as connect with other optometrists who are actively advocating for optometry.
In New Hampshire, optometrists CAN:
- Prescribe topical ophthalmic agents. Currently no topical ophthalmic pharmaceutical agents are excluded in the state of New Hampshire
- Prescribe oral pharmaceutical agents approved by the Joint Pharmaceutical Formulary and Credentialing Committee
- Analgesics not exceeding class IV limits can be prescribed with certain limitations
- Diagnose and treat open angle glaucoma with topical drugs only. Optometrists must meet the requirements of state law RSA 327:6-c
- Acute angle closure glaucoma can be treated with oral glaucoma meds with immediate referral to an ophthalmologist
- Use an EpiPen to counter anaphylaxis
- Diagnose and prescribe treatment for a variety of muscular abnormalities of the visual system
- Prescribe glasses, contact lenses, prism, ocular exercises or low vision aids
- Diagnose and prescribe medication for the treatment of most eye disease that affect the anterior segment of the eye or eyelids
- Remove foreign objects that are superficially embedded in the eye or eyelids
In New Hampshire, optometrist CANNOT:
- Provide therapeutic injectables other than the exception of an EpiPen in an anaphylactic emergency
- Prescribe oral glaucoma medications for long term treatment of glaucoma
- Perform laser procedures
Because the scope of optometry is ever evolving, it is important that you get involved with your state association and the AOA wherever you end up practicing. This is the best way to stay up to date on important legislature on both the state and federal level as well as to better serve and educate the community you live in. Continuing to advocate for optometry, no matter where you live, will make all the difference in the lives of your patients and your peers for years to come.