Letter to the Editor

Reader: Update on law is long overdue

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Dear Editor,

I’m writing about a bill currently being debated in the Arkansas General Assembly. It is my understanding House Bill 1251 would allow optometrists to do a handful of minor procedures they are trained to safely perform, but currently aren’t allowed to offer their patients. As a patient living in rural Arkansas, I think this would be a huge benefit to our citizens in the state to get their eye care taken care of by their hometown eye doctor. With this bill, a simple procedure such as having a “skin tag” removed from around my eye could be taken off and checked out that day without needing another visit, on another day by someone else.

My optometrist already performs minor 'surgeries' daily such as removing pieces of metal from our steel industry workers eyes.

As our policy makers look for more and more ways to promote efficiency, this seems to make sense – especially when our doctors of optometry are perfectly capable of safely providing this basic care. I was surprised to learn the law governing the practice of optometry has not been changed in more than 20 years. I can think of very few industries, and certainly few health care fields that have not seen incredible advances in technology and practices in two decades. An update to this law is long overdue.

Rural communities need quality care from doctor's that live and work in the communities that they support. This is common-sense legislation that I think we can all get behind.

— Billy R. Curl