The medications placed in and on the eye interact with and can impact many other parts of a patient’s body.
Physicians are uniquely qualified to treat patients so that if an allergic reaction or other complication arises when the drugs are administered, they know how to care for that patient.
Ophthalmologists are physicians first, having completed medical school, one year of internship and three years of residency at a minimum.
Ophthalmologists understand the interactions of drugs, the interplay of systems and the effects of disease not only in the eye but throughout a whole person.
Optometrists are not physicians; they did not attend medical school.
Optometrists have no in-depth medical training regarding the systemic diseases they may encounter. They do not have the skills and knowledge to anticipate drug interactions and adverse effects of oral antivirals and oral steroids.
The current statute regarding prescription privileges for optometrists is not arbitrary. Medications can have devastating adverse effects on the body and complex interactions with other drugs.