Reducing California eye surgery licenses could hurt patient care, ophthalmologists warn


The American Society of Retina Specialists has voiced his opposition to a bill pending in the California Senate that would allow optometrists to perform eye surgery, including procedures requiring the use of a scalpel, injections or lasers.

The legislation, AB 2236“dangerously reduces the medical education, clinical and surgical training requirements to obtain a license in California to perform eye surgery,” according to Safe Eyes America, a nonprofit organization focused on promoting high-quality eye care. quality.

If enacted, a person would no longer be required to complete medical school and surgical training required to obtain a license to perform eye surgery, which would be detrimental to patient safety and outcomes, according to the American Society. of Retina Specialists and Safe Eyes America.

Retina specialists are ophthalmologists — doctors who complete four years of medical school followed by four years of training in eye diseases and surgery — with an additional two years specializing in the treatment of the retina. Retina specialists are trained to perform all surgical procedures included in AB 2236.

“Every surgery performed on the eye or eyelids requires education, training and experience to make the correct diagnosis, make a decision on the best treatment, whether it is surgery or not. , and developing the ability to perform the procedure,” Safe Eyes America board member Kurt Heitman, MD, said in an August 22 press release. “These are skills developed over years and shortcuts just aren’t safe for patients. A mistake anywhere along the path to surgery could impact vision or even put the patient’s life in jeopardy. danger.”

The California Senate is expected to vote on the legislation before it adjourns for the year on August 31.

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