Louisiana to Debate and Vote on Law to Permit Optometrists to Perform Eye Surgery

BATON ROUGE, La.—Today, the Louisiana House of Representatives will debate and vote on House Bill 527, which would expand the optometric scope of practice to allow optometrists to administer medication by injection as well as perform many eye surgeries, including several eye laser and incisional procedures. Currently forbidden from practicing medicine or performing surgery, optometrists in Louisiana are limited to prescribing glasses, contact lenses and treating minor eye conditions.

Bill 527 would also legally define all Louisiana optometrists as “optometric physicians” and place the sole jurisdiction of all ophthalmic surgery by optometrists in the hands of the Louisiana State Board of Optometry Examiners. Introduced last month by Republican Representative Frank A. Hoffman, the bill already passed the Louisiana House Committee on Health and Welfare, 12-7 on April 17. If approved by the House, the bill will then be debated and voted on by the Louisiana State Senate Health and Welfare Committee and then The Louisiana State Senate.