Eyesight Is Delicate: HB 2340/SB 993 Jeopardizes Eye Care

The eye is an extremely delicate organ, and every aspect of it must be in perfect working order to function properly. There is little room for error when it comes to treating the eye. In many cases, the eye does not have the ability to repair itself. Recognizing this, Texas features the nation’s model patient protection laws related to eye surgery and glaucoma management.

Patients are already confused about the differences between optometrists and ophthalmologists, and HB 2340/SB 993 would only add to that confusion and endanger Texans’ eyesight. Both eye surgery and glaucoma management are risky ventures, and HB 2340/SB 993 attempts to put them in the hands of individuals who did not even attend medical school, optometrists. Only an ophthalmologist has the education, training and experience to safely perform surgery and manage a blinding disease such as glaucoma in an independent manner after completing many years of training. Patients should not have to wonder whether the individual wielding the scalpel above their eye went to medical school.

If enacted, HB 2340/SB 993 would add laser and scalpel surgery, radiation, injections and advanced femtosecond laser procedures used for cataract removal to optometry’s scope of practice:

  • Optometrists would have access to over 100 surgeries and procedures with scalpels, lasers, radiation and injections.
  • The Texas Optometry Board would have sole authority over these surgeries. In addition, the Board would have the authority to determine future scope of practice for optometrists by removing the Legislature's oversight.
  • The current law requiring glaucoma consultations would be abolished. In addition, optometrists’ oral medical formulary restrictions would be removed.
  • Optometrists would also be authorized to administer, perform or prescribe tests and imaging studies to diagnose and treat diseases of the human vision system including the eye and adnexa, which means this legislation would also allow them to do imaging tests of the brain and other organs.