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Posted: Wednesday, 24 April 2013 6:13AM

Should optometrists, who are not doctors, be allowed to operate on your eyes?



Does the future of medicine involve allowing more technicians to perform some of the tasks we now entrust to a medical doctor?
Now that some prescription drugs are sold over-the-counter and a nurse or physician's assistant now regularly see patients, minor surgery could be the next area of medicine to see major changes.

The Louisiana Legislature takes a look at a first-in-the-nation bill today.

Lawmakers will consider if optometrists, who are not medical doctors, should be able to perform laser eye surgery. 

The arguments in support of letting optometrists perform surgery or removing cataracts include the fact that some patients in rural areas don't have access to eye doctors, and some ophthalmologists don't accept Medicare from low-income patients. 

But overall people in the CBD say their first reaction to the news is no, they're not comfortable with anyone but a doctor performing surgery, and as one man put it, "It seems like a comprehensively bad idea."  Others say they're afraid of the idea because optometrists are not doctors, if any serious complications arose from the surgery.

But one man pointed out, "I guess if they were trained it could be a possible alternative."  Another said, "I'd need to see some certification that they're actually good at it."

Others point out this could open the door to other minor surgeries being performed by health care worker who aren't doctors.
But that could be the point as we continue to see massive changes to health care in the United States.

The legislature is scheduled to vote on the matter today.
 

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