April 7, 2016 | POSTED BY | Articles, Organized Optometry
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nysoaAs you know, optometry is a legislated profession and what optometrists can and can’t do is governed by state law. In the state of New York, the Trustees and members of the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA) have been working hard to expand the scope of practice for optometrists in the state. In addition to continual focus on fighting disruptive technologies and monitoring the federal Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act (FCLCA) and Unilateral Pricing Policy legislation in New York, the NYSOA has been hard at work with legislators and ophthalmologists on our oral medications bill (New York is one of only TWO states without this authority – the other being Massachusetts). Here is an overview of optometry’s current robust scope of practice in New York:

New York State Optometrists CAN:

  • Perform dilation and irrigation
  • Diagnose and treat glaucoma with topical drugs
  • Treat anterior and posterior uveitis
  • Co-manage surgical patients with a medical physician

New York State Optometrists CANNOT:

  • Prescribe oral medications of any kind (including oral steroids)
  • Own a joint practice with a medical physician
  • Perform injections of any kind (including treatment for anaphylaxis)
  • Perform laser surgery, such as YAG, LASIK, and Radial Keratotomy
  • Order imaging such as an MRI, CT scan, or X-ray

After twenty years of persistent, grassroots efforts by New York State optometrists, there is finally hope that an oral medications bill will be passed in 2016 granting New York ODs the ability to prescribe oral medications for their patients. This long-awaited progress is proof that the doctors who advocate in the state legislature for optometry aren’t doing it for themselves. They are doing it for us, the future optometrists, and more importantly, for their patients. It is our responsibility as future doctors to preserve optometry’s professional health for the next generation of ODs through involvement and membership in the AOSA and in state affiliates of the AOA. By joining a professional organization like the NYSOA, you take an active role in preserving the health and longevity of our profession.

For more information about the scope of practice of optometry in other states, check out other articles in our legislative series and this infographic by newgradoptometry.com!