AMA condemns new Oklahoma rule allowing non-physicians to perform eye surgery

Shining a national spotlight on Oklahoma's one-of-a-kind rule that allows non-physicians to conduct eye surgery, the American Medical Association barnstormed Oklahoma City today.

The AMA urged Governor Henry to immediately reject a new rule by the Oklahoma Board of Examiners in Optometry that would allow optometrists to operate and cut with scalpels on patients' eyes.

“Oklahoma is the only state in the nation that risks its citizens' health and safety by allowing non-physicians to perform eye surgery,” AMA Trustee William A. Hazel, Jr. M.D. said. “This is a terrible precedent that puts the safety of America,s patients in jeopardy.”

“Governor Henry has an opportunity to stand up for patients and reject this new rule,” Dr. Hazel said.

The American Medical Association joins national and state physician groups in condemning this step backward in patient health and safety.

“Ophthalmologists spend eight years or more in rigorous medical training, compared to a four-year program for optometrists.” Dr. Hazel said. “Vision is too important to entrust delicate eye surgery to a non-physician.”

“The AMA's efforts to improve patient safety do not end with today's visit to Oklahoma. We will continue our work with the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Oklahoma State Medical Association to vigorously urge Governor Henry to protect the health and safety of Oklahoma's patients,” Dr. Hazel said

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