Client News

Letter to the Editor: Limit Eye Incisions to Surgeons

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute and the Florida Society of Ophthalmology oppose Florida Senate Bill 876 and House Bill 631, which would allow optometrists to perform incisional eye surgeries and to prescribe virtually all oral medications without any medical regulatory oversight.

These bills represent serious threats to patient safety, public welfare, and quality of care. The “training” provided for in these bills would be superficial and inadequate. We ask that you urge state legislators to oppose this dangerous legislation (now in committees).

Bascom Palmer operates five locations in Florida, including Naples. Collectively, we have many decades of experience educating ophthalmologists, who are medical doctors, and optometrists, who are not. We greatly respect and value our optometric colleagues and their important contributions to the eye care team. However, there are no shortcuts in learning to safely perform eye surgery.

Ophthalmologists complete four years of undergraduate education, four years of medical or osteopathic school, one year of internship and then three years of ophthalmology residency training.

In contrast, optometrists complete four years of undergraduate education, plus four years of optometric school, which does not provide the same level of training. Some optometry school graduates might add a year of postgraduate education, but it lacks surgical training.

Dr. Stephen G. Schwartz, M.D., and Dr. Sarah Wellik, M.D., professors of clinical ophthalmology affiliated with the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Naples

Read in the Naples Daily News.

« Return to News