Nevada Lawmaker Drops Support of Proposed Legislation Restricting Online Eye Exams

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CARSON CITY, Nev.—Legislation proposed in Nevada that would have restricted the use of “certain automated testing devices” in eye exams – including online exams – was expected to die in committee Friday (April 14) after the sponsor of the legislation withdrew her support.

The proposed legislation, Assembly Bill 129, would have required a complete eye exam performed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist to be part of a patient visit that resulted in a prescription for an ophthalmic lens. The proposed legislation stated: “Before issuing a prescription for an ophthalmic lens, an ophthalmologist [or optometrist] in this state must make an assessment of the ocular health and visual status of the patient that does not solely consist of the use of an automated testing device to generate the refractive error of the eyes of the patient.”

The Nevada Optometric Association (NOA) was among the bill’s supporters, however Assemblywoman Jill Tolles, who introduced the proposal in February, told VMail late last week that she had decided to back away from the proposal.

In response to a query from VMail, Tolles said, “We decided to drop the bill after all. I am proud of the work everyone did on the issue, but we couldn’t find the right amendment language to meet everyone’s goals.”

After its introduction, the bill was referred to the Assembly’s Commerce and Labor Committee, which had a deadline of Friday, April 14, to take action on the proposal, or otherwise it would lapse in committee for the remainder of this session of the legislature.

NOA supported the proposed legislation “100 percent,” executive director Kelly Funderburk told VMail on Friday. She said the association would take time to consider its options for moving a new version of the legislation forward. The Nevada legislature holds sessions every other year, Funderburk noted, so the next time a proposal covering online eye exams is likely to arise in the state would be 2019.