LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- A bill signed into law by the governor that allows optometrists to perform more procedures has pushback from others who specialize in eye care.
Lawmakers gave the expansion on the scope of practice the vote in the recent legislative session. It would allow an optometrist to perform more procedures that they learned in school that they currently are not allowed to perform in the state.
“I was taught to be able to provide all the options for my patients and here in Arkansas I feel like I can’t,” explained Optometrist Dr. Seth Laster.
The native Arkansan went to Optometry school in Oklahoma, where he learned a number of procedures Arkansas does not allow.
But with the passage of Act 579, that would change.
He explains these are all minimally invasive and take about five minutes.
On the other side of the aisle, the Ophthalmology community hopes to stop the new regulations from taking effect.
“The voters that say no we should not allow non-surgeons to be using lasers and scalpels around our eyes,” explained Ophthalmologist Laurie Barber.
The group fighting it must get 54,000 signatures by the end of July for a referendum which would mean it would be on the ballot.