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Is this better, or worse? Eye-doc war ramps up

It's a right of spring, the battle between optometrists and ophthalmologists. The former want to be able to prescribe oral drugs like the latter. The latter say the former aren't real doctors, and therefore shouldn't intrude on their scope of practice. This year, the fight is back and the Florida Medical Association is striking out with a slick web ad that ropes in veterans.

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Trish

This is an outrage!!! I have a suspicion this is more about the quality of VA care then it is the Optometrists. I have been in the Eye care industry for 30 yrs, having worked with Ophthalmologists, Optometrist and Opticians. As a surgical ophthalmic tech, an ophthalmic assistant and an optician. I have witnessed firsthand bad surgeons, one's who have attended a weekend seminar to learn Lasik surgery and started the next week , needing the experienced technicians help to talk them through the steps to the procedure because they were inexperienced in this area and because they did it so rarely they never became proficient. As a result I have seen countless bad surgeries resulting in loss of vision. I have seen firsthand bad cataract surgery multiple times that resulted in CMS (macular swelling) that should have been treated by a retinal specialist but because of arrogance the patient lost sight because the MD waited too long to refer, again resulting in loss of vision. I have seen a patient lose vision because of a corneal ulcer that an MD treated and treated and treated and then was referred to a corneal specialist to late resulting in a corneal transplant and loss of best vision. I have seen bad cataract surgery ending in endophthalmitis and the patient losing their eye!!! I could go on and on. But do we say all Ophthalmologists are bad because of it? There are good doctors and there are bad ones, I think we all know this. The 13 drugs that the Optometrists in Florida are asking to include in their scope of practice are oral antibiotics, which they can now prescribe in eye drop form and some pain medication, none of which are habit forming. Optometrists go to school for 8 yrs and specialize in eyes! However,they must complete additional training in this area of pharmacology. There are 40+ states with Optometrists delivering oral medications and have been for some time now, why not look at their track record.

Trish

Steve

Well said Trish! Many more patients go blind in the hands of ophthalmologists than ever by optometrists. I think malpractice insurance companies would back me up on that one. Using that reasoning would mean ophthalmologists shouldn't be treating patients either.
The ridiculous thing about the video and that VA study is that you could look through the charts at any eye doctor's office(ophthalmologist or optometrist) in the country and find many glaucoma patients who have "lost vision" in their care. Glaucoma can't be cured, only controlled. And some patients get worse no matter how well they are treated. Patients even "lose vision" at the top ophthalmology training hospitals in the country (Wilmer Eye Institute and Bascom Eye Institute) This whole "scare tactic" by the Florida Medical Assoc is exactly that, and playing on the fears of Floridians for no reason other than turf wars. Notice MDs never complain about dentists prescribing oral medications, and their training is exactly the same length and depth as optometrists. MDs don't compete with dentists, so they leave them alone. Same goes for nurse practitioners...they only go to school for 5-6 years, yet they can write many more oral prescriptions than optometrists will ever use. But again most of the time they are employed by MDs so they leave them alone.

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