Optometrists said the new rule only allowed them to perform procedures they have been doing for more than 20 years


Saturday, October 30th 2004, 4:01 pm
By: News On 6


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Gov. Brad Henry on Friday signed an emergency rule adopted by an optometry board that has been condemned by ophthalmologists.

A group of ophthalmologists, medical doctors who specialize in the eye, had asked Henry to reject the rule, saying it could put eye patients at risk by allowing optometrists, who are not physicians, to cut on eyelids and do other surgery.

Optometrists said the new rule only allowed them to perform procedures they have been doing for more than 20 years, such as removal of corneal foreign bodies and eyelid lesions.

Ophthalmologists countered that those procedures amounted to surgery and never had been authorized in state law.

``After listening to all sides and examining the issue in great detail, I concluded that the Optometry Board does not expand the scope of practice enjoyed by optometrists prior to a 2004 opinion by the attorney general,'' Henry said in a news release.

The rule adopted by the optometry board states it will allow optometrists to perform ``non-laser surgical procedures for which they have been trained and which they have traditionally performed'' before an attorney general's opinion in January.