May 27, 2019 | POSTED BY | Articles, Involvement, News, Optometry School, Scope of Practice
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The Best Snow on Earth

Utah: Life in the Beehive State

Salt Lake City, the capital of Utah

You may think Utah is just one of many squared states in the west. However, with a few highlights you may be surprised by its intricacy. No matter what you like to do, Utah offers quite an abundance of options for any endeavor. Outdoors people might spark an interest at the 5 national parks, 43 state parks, and 7 national monuments.

Additionally, there are choices for climbing, water sports, and skiing on what some may consider the best snow on earth. Furthermore, those artistically inclined may be entertained at the variety of famous festivals, including the Sundance Film Festival, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and Living Traditions festival. In addition to festivals, foodies will be delighted by the local recipes and foods available. These include crown burgers, Navajo tacos, raspberry shakes and fry sauce – yum!

People and Places in Utah

Outdoor enthusiasts will love spending time in Arches National Park in Utah

The most populated area of Utah is Wasatch Front, with 2.5 million residents. This central northern area includes the state’s capital, Salt Lake City. Within the population, the diversity of cultures here is truly vast. Salt Lake City is the location of the headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, informally known as the Mormon church. Also, five American Indian tribes reside in different territories throughout the state. Furthermore, there are said to be more than 100 languages spoken in homes throughout this one state.

In general, Utah has been noted for its quickly growing population rate. This state also has a median income of $65,977. Almost seventy percent of Utah residents own their homes, while the national average is 63.1% These demographics are very attractive for prospective health care providers!

Optometric Education in Utah

As for optometry, there is a residency opportunity at the Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The program is focused on primary care practice, specialized contact lens fitting, as well as geriatric care. There is not an optometry school in Utah at this time. However, prospective students may be interested in Marshall B. Ketchum University, California, as well as Pacific University, Oregon. Driving time is roughly 10 and 12 hours from Salt Lake City, respectively.

Utah Scope of Practice

In Utah, Optometrists CAN:

  • Prescribe a hydrocodone combination or other Schedule III substance only for ocular or adnexal pain, in the oral or topical form only, and for 72 hours max dose with no refills given.
  • Prescribe oral medications including antibiotics, antifungals, and steroids for ocular disease
  • Treat glaucoma with oral medication
  • Treat glaucoma with topical medication
  • Order laboratory tests to diagnose and treat ocular diseases
  • Remove foreign bodies that reside in the anterior half of the cornea

In Utah, Optometrists CANNOT:

  • Perform invasive surgery, including cataract surgery
  • Prescribe Schedule II drugs
  • Perform IV injections for anaphylaxis or any other procedure
  • Perform anterior segment laser surgery including ALT, SLT, YAG, PRK and LPI

In conclusion, Utah has an amazing portfolio to offer. There is an abundance of unique individuals to manage in health care. Innumerable activities exist outside the office as well. If you are at all interested in practicing here, take a look for yourself and come visit! Kill two birds with one stone as you gain insight of the comprehensive scope of practice, and take advantage of the beautiful vacation. For more information, visit Utah Optometric Association’s webpage here.

For more information about the scope of practice in your state, here is a list. Optometry is a legislated profession. You can help be a part of future legislation through advocacy and involvement at the state and local level, and through working with the AOA.