Colorado has become the latest state to expand the scope of practice for optometrists to include certain office-based optometric surgical procedures.
The procedures “benefit patients being treated for glaucoma and recovering from cataract surgery,” according to the American Optometric Association.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the bill into law on June 7. Passage of the legislation followed a push by the Colorado Optometric Association.
“This is a huge win for optometry in Colorado,” said Sheryl Benjamin, executive director of the COA. “It allows doctors to use what they were taught and trained to do in optometry school, rather than making referrals in these cases. It also means greater access and convenience for patients.”
AOA explains that the additional procedures that optometrists can now perform in Colorado include:
- Injections for treating conditions or diseases of the eye or eyelid (excluding intraocular injections penetrating the globe).
- Use of a local anesthetic in conjunction with the primary treatment of an eyelid lesion.
- Removal and biopsy of eyelid lesions without characteristics or obvious signs of malignancy, excluding lesions involving the eyelid margin or larger than 5 millimeters in size.
- Incision and curettage of a chalazion.
- Simple repair of an eyelid laceration no larger than 2½ centimeters and no deeper than the orbicularis muscle and not involving the eyelid margin or lacrimal drainage structures.
- Corneal cross-linking.
- Laser capsulotomy, laser peripheral iridotomy and laser trabeculoplasty.