CMA Files Suit Over Optometrists' Scope of Practice

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , January 13, 2011

The California Optometric Association could not be reached last night for comment. However, that organization's website ( says the COA applauds an administrative law judge's decision to approve the Board of Optometry's new regulations. The association said it would address shortages of primary eye care doctors in rural and underserved areas, "a problem that is only expected to worsen with the recent passage of healthcare reform."

In the lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court against the California Board of Optometry, the two physicians' groups said that the more lenient new rules were decided under a faulty process because a consultant hired to advise a key committee was not certified to treat glaucoma.

The new rule allows post-April 2008 graduates of accredited optometry schools to treat and manage glaucoma patients without additional post-graduate training was made under the presumption that a review of certain certification training would take place. But it never occurred, according to the doctors' complaint.

Optometrists are not medical doctors and don't attend medical school, "and generally have significantly less and narrower training than ophthalmologists. Instead, they "undergo four years of optometry school and (relevant to the issues herein) rarely undergo a one-year residency thereafter."

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.

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1 comments on "CMA Files Suit Over Optometrists' Scope of Practice"

Glad I don't live in CA (1/14/2011 at 11:05 AM)
Their arguments were 100% correct - 50 years ago. Now it just makes you look like an ignorant fool to say that optometrists can go through school without ever treating a single glaucoma patient. Sounds like someone sees a legitimate hazard. To their paycheck.




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