Cynthia A. Bradford, MD is a Professor of Ophthalmology at the Dean McGee Eye Institute, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and is Past President of the Oklahoma Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
She is an unquestionable expert in her field and is standing up in opposition to HB 1798, which would lower the standard for eye care in Texas and allow optometrists — who aren't physicians — to perform laser eye surgery.
In a letter to Texas lawmakers, she recalls several examples of patients who experienced the disastrous consequences of lowered standards in Oklahoma. In her letter, Dr. Bradford says:
As an ophthalmologist in the neighboring state of Oklahoma, I have heard those in the optometric profession claim that there have been “great experiences and no complications” with regards to surgery being performed by optometrists in our state...a long weekend’s worth of “additional training” is a highly inadequate pathway to performing eye surgery.
Allowing optometrists to have greater scope of practice in Oklahoma has not increased access and has indeed caused patient confusion and complications.
As a professor of ophthalmology who teaches residents to do surgery, it is an extended process to teach how to diagnose, know what the management should be, if surgical intervention is an option, which procedure is the best option and to recognize potential risks of the procedure.
In Oklahoma, any scope expansion for optometry has not resulted in increased access, but it has increased patient risk with higher cost of care due to lowering of the educational standard.
If you agree with Dr. Bradford, add your name and stand against HB 1798!