CALL TO ACTION CENTER
The 2021 Legislative Session in Florida officially begins on Tuesday, March 2. Dangerous legislation has already been filed (HB 631/SB 876) which would give the Florida Board of Optometry full control to determine the scope of practice for optometrists. Furthermore the proposed legislation would grant broad and unprecedented surgical privileges to optometrists, who are not medical doctors and who are not trained to perform surgery, including lasers, as well as expand their prescribing privileges to include opioids. With Florida being the epicenter of the opioid epidemic, it would be catastrophic for the Legislature to expand optometry’s prescribing authority to over 4,000 non-medical professionals. This type of dangerous legislation puts the health and well-being of millions of Floridians at risk and we cannot stand by and watch this bill make its way through the Legislature.
Help protect Florida's high standards of patient safety by contacting both your Senator and Representative. Let them know that patient safety is at risk in Florida and ask them to "Vote NO!"
Write your legislators and urge them to vote NO against HB 631/SB 876. Click the appropriate link below and you will be directed to VoterVoice where you will find a template letter that can be edited to send to your legislator.
What is an Ophthalmologist?
An ophthalmologist is a licensed, medical doctor, who has extensive surgical training and experience.
In addition to an ophthalmologist, other healthcare providers can identify disease or emerging issues with a patient through eye screening exams. These healthcare providers may include:
- Primary Care or Specialty Physicians
- Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs)
- Or during a routine exam with an optometrist or an optician
You should always select an eye care specialist with the correct training to screen for eye issues. If an issue is suspected, you will be referred to see an ophthalmologist.
A licensed ophthalmologist, a medical doctor with extensive surgical training and experience, is who you should see so that they can provide consultation to confirm diagnosis and recommend a plan for treatment, including the possibility of eye surgery and recovery steps.
Ophthalmologists also specialize in specific areas. Based on your diagnosis you may be referred to an ophthalmologist subspecialist, who has focused expertise and experience for patients with specific eye issues:
- Pediatric Ophthalmology
Only the ophthalmologist, who is a medical doctor with extensive surgical training and experience, is qualified and licensed to perform your surgery.
Your ophthalmologist is responsible to provide follow-up care after surgery.
In some cases, a patient may receive post-surgery care from an optometrist. This arrangement is called co-management. An ophthalmologist can only transfer your follow-up care to an optometrist under certain circumstances.
- You must be INFORMED and AGREE to the transfer of care.
- You must be INFORMED of what post-surgery services the optometrist will provide.
- You must be INFORMED of the fees agreed upon between the ophthalmologist and the optometrist, associated with the transfer of care cost.
- You must SIGN a consent form.
- You reserve the right to DECLINE post-surgery care by an optometrist and continue care with your ophthalmologist
- At any point during post-surgery care, should you experience PROBLEMS or COMPLICATIONS, you should CONTACT your OPHTHALMOLOGIST immediately. This is important since optometrists are not qualified or authorized to do surgery of any kind.
To find the right ophthalmologist for your eye care needs you can:
- Consult with your primary care physician, optometrist, or other qualified health care provider.
- Use the Florida Society of Ophthalmology's Find an EyeMD search portal
- Search for an ophthalmologist on the American Academy of Ophthalmology website
- Contact your healthcare insurance company
- In Florida, it should not be necessary for a patient to travel more than 30-miles for care, even in most rural communities.
You may decide to get a second or third opinion from another ophthalmologist before surgery.