California Governor Vetoes Optometrist Scope of Practice Bill

October 27, 2022 12:29 PM | Anonymous

The legislation would have dangerously reduced requirements to perform eye surgery

After a handful of states passed legislation into law this year to expand the optometry scope of practice and authorize optometrists to perform certain surgical procedures, there is good news coming out of California. Governor Gavin Newsome recently vetoed legislation that would have allowed optometrists in the Golden State to perform laser and scalpel eye surgeries. Newsome vetoed the bill on Sept. 29, 2022

The legislation would have reduced the medical education, clinical, and surgical training requirements to become licensed in California to perform eye surgery. More specifically, the bill would have authorized optometrists who treat glaucoma to perform advanced procedures, including excision and drainage of small lesions, administering injections in the eyelid, and using therapeutic lasers.

Thankfully, Newsome recognized the bill threatened patient safety and quality medical eye care. In his veto message, he said, “I am not convinced that the education and training required is sufficient to prepare optometrists to perform the surgical procedures identified. This bill would allow optometrists to perform advanced surgical procedures with less than one year of training. In comparison, physicians who perform these procedures must complete at least a three-year residency program. For this reason, I cannot sign this bill.”

While the ophthalmologist/optometrist scope battle in California ultimately ended on a positive note, it won’t be the last scope battle fought across the country in the coming month and years – and even quite possibly in Wisconsin.

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