News Briefs Archive

Historic State Bill Allowing Optometric Surgery Passes Legislature

Sept. 14, 2022

California optometrists are celebrating a landmark legislative victory. The state’s Assembly gave its final approval to Bill AB 2236, which would expand the profession’s scope of practice in California to include optometric surgery, according to reporting by Vision Monday. The bill is now waiting to be signed by the governor before it can officially become the law.

Passage of the bill, first reported by Review of Optometry, would allow California’s nearly 7,000 ODs to pursue laser procedures, lesion removal, several types of injections and corneal crosslinking. If signed by Gov. Newsom, it would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, and is expected to take roughly two years to implement.

The governor’s signature, expected in the next 30 days, will be the final step to California becoming the 11th state to include lasers in optometry’s scope of practice.

If the bill is signed into law, optometrists in California will—under specific circumstances outlined in the bill—be able to perform the following:

Three types of laser procedures: therapeutic lasers appropriate for the treatment of glaucoma (i.e., selective laser trabeculoplasty), peripheral iridotomy for the prophylactic treatment of angle-closure glaucoma and posterior capsulotomy secondary to cataract surgery.

  • Lesion removal—skin tabs, cysts and other non-cancerous growths.
  • Injections to treat eye conditions (subcutaneous, intramuscular, subconjunctival and intralesional injections).
  • Corneal collagen crosslinking in keratoconus.

“This is a good bill for California citizens. It allows optometrists to practice to the fullest extent of their license,” the president of the California Optometric Association, Amanda Dexter, OD, commented. “There is additional training and testing to make sure optometrists are competent to perform these procedures,” she said. “It will mean my patients will get the right care at the right time and don’t have to wait months to see an ophthalmologist for something that I can do for them while they are in my chair.”

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