Did you know that 60% of US citizens live within 600 miles of Ohio? Interestingly, Ohio is one of the few states that has three major metropolitan areas (Cleveland, Columbus, & Cincinnati) along with a several smaller metropolitan areas (Dayton, Toledo, & Akron) surrounding its borders. Ohio is home to over 11 million people and Columbus recently surpassed Indianapolis as the 14th largest city in America! The state of Ohio is home to numerous professional sport teams including football, basketball, baseball, and hockey. Additionally, Ohio has several booming arts and entertainment districts like The Short North in Columbus and Ohio City in Cleveland. As a recent Smart City Challenge winner from the US Department of Transportation, Columbus beat 77 other competing cities and will be growing by another 1 million people by 2050, giving rise to autonomous vehicles, commuter rail, and new additions to the Columbus skyline. Columbus is home to more than seven universities, including The Ohio State University College of Optometry, and is home to more than 24 Fortune 500 companies making it an ideal test market in the US. In addition, Ohio provides its residents close access to vacation destinations such as Lake Erie, ski resorts, and state parks.
There is a need for eye care within the state of Ohio, especially in more southeastern, rural areas of the state. Sharing a border with both West Virginia and Pennsylvania, Ohio has a huge unmet need for vision care along the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The Ohio Optometric Association (OOA) is a great resource for students and practicing ODs, as it provides frequent updates of legislative battles, current laws, and regulations impacting the profession. The OOA works vigorously to advocate for the profession of optometry, and aids optometrists in their quest to provide the best care possible to patients within the state.
In Ohio, optometrists CAN:
- Administer or prescribe any drug for topical application to the anterior segment of the human eye for use in the examination, diagnosis, or treatment of diseases related to the human eye
- Administer or prescribe oral medications for use in the examination, diagnosis, or treatment of diseases related to the human eye including oral antibiotics, NSAIDs, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, antihistamines, and nutritional supplements
- Prescribe systemic steroids, limited to treat allergic inflammation of the conjunctiva, lids, and adnexa in adults 18 years and older; optometrists can use methylprednisolone only, and only use it in an amount that does not exceed a single course of therapy (no refills)
- Prescription of controlled substances are limited to drugs listed on a formulary, in which the quantity prescribed may not exceed a single 4 day supply of an opioid substance per episode of illness/injury/treatment. Drugs on the formulary include: no more than 60mg of codeine (Schedule III), no more than 7.5mg of hydrocodone (Schedule II-III) and Tramadol (Schedule IV)
- Administer epinephrine by injection to individuals in emergency situations to counteract anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock
- Diagnose and treat glaucoma with topical or oral medications
- Co-manage post-operative care
- Perform non-invasive procedures (any procedure which does not involve cutting or infiltrating human tissue by mechanical means) including foreign body removal, dilation and irrigation, punctal occlusion, and eyelash epilation
- Prescribe and dispense glasses 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
In Ohio, Optometrists CANNOT:
- Perform any invasive procedure (cataract extraction, retinal surgery, refractive surgery)
- Perform anterior segment laser procedures including YAG capsulotomy, selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT), and laser peripheral iridotomy (LPI)
- Administer laser or non-laser injections into the posterior chamber of the eye
- Administer IV injections and medications
- Administer general anesthesia
As a legislated profession, it is very important for optometrists in the field to support both their state organizations and the American Optometric Association (AOA). Since political policy dictates optometrists’ rights (state by state and nationwide), it is essential to advocate for optometry as it continues to grow in both scope of practice and patient care.