Optometry coalition pushes for new Texas eye care laws


AUSTIN.SYDNEY:THEY SAY EYES ARE THE WINDOWS TO THE SOUL. THEY’RE ALSO JUST PLAIN IMPORTANT FOR DAILY LIFE.. SO WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING FOR AN EYE DOCTOR.. YOU WANT TO KNOW THAT PERSON HAS THE RIGHT TRAINING, CREDENTIALS AND EXPERIENCE. ROBERT: OPTOMETRISTS IN TEXAS SAY THEY’RE JUST AS QUALIFIED AS OTHER EYE CARE SPECIALISTS – AND SHOULD HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS. AS KXAN’S STEFFI LEE REPORTS – THEY’VE LAUNCHED A COALITION URGING LAWMAKERS TO TAKE A DEEPER LOOK AT THE ISSUE.NAT POP “IT’S CLOGGED” STEFFI: WHEN OPTOMETRIST LAURIE SORRENSON FINDS A PATIENT HAS DRY EYE SYNDROME — THERE’S A ROADBLOCK SHE HITS WHEN PROVIDING CARE. LAURIE SORRENSON “WE ARE ALLOWED TO PRESCRIBE ORAL ANTIBIOTICS FOR TEN DAYS ONLY” STEFFI: OR IF A PATIENT HAS HIGH PRESSURE IN THEIR EYES — LAURIE SORRENSON “I AM SUPPOSED TO HAVE THE PATIENT CONFIRM THEIR DIAGNOSIS WITH AN OPHTHALMOLOGIST – WHICH SLOWS DOWN CARE – CREATES EXTRA TIME FOR THE PATIENT” STEFFI: SORRENSON SAYS LIMITATIONS LIKE THAT ARE WHY SOME TEXAS OPTOMETRISTS FORMED THIS COALITION “FOCUS TEXAS.” THEY’D LIKE UPDATED LAWS — TO BE ABLE TO DO SIMILAR WORK AS OPHTHALMOLOGISTS. (NAT POP) STEFFI: THE DIFFERENCE THOUGH – OPHTHALMOLOGISTS HAVE TO GO TO MEDICAL SCHOOL. HALSEY SETTLE, OPHTHALMOLOGIST “OPHTHALMOLOGISTS DO A LOT OF THINGS THAT OPTOMETRISTS DON’T DO BECAUSE OF THEIR TRAINING AND THEIR EXPERIENCE – WE DO ALL SORTS OF SURGICAL PROCEDURES, GLAUCOMA PROCEDURES” STEFFI: AND DR. HALSEY SETTLE SAYS EVEN THEY NEED TO GET A THIRD OPINION SOMETIMES IN GLAUCOMA CASES. HALSEY SETTLE, OPHTHALMOLOGIST “IT’S A VERY COMPLICATED DISEASE” STEFFI: BUT SORRENSON SAYS TIMES ARE CHANGING — AND OPTOMETRY NEEDS A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD. LAURIE SORRENSON “TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED – EDUCATION HAS CHANGED DRAMATICALLY OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS” STEFFI LEE KXAN NEWSSYDNEY:THE TEXAS OPHTHALMOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION SAYS OPTOMETRISTS ARE AN IMPORTANT ASPECT OF THE EYE CARE TEAM — AND HAVE THE PROPER TRAINING FOR PRIMARY EYE CARE SERVICES LIKE EXAMS

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