Glaucoma Eye Surgeons Concerned About Reduced Eye Surgery Licensing Placing Californians at Risk

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of vision loss and blindness, affecting over 3 million Americans, blinding over 120,000.  The American Glaucoma Society (AGS) is the world’s leading organization with over 1,600 glaucoma subspecialists, surgeons, and researchers dedicated to improving the lives of people with glaucoma by advancing knowledge and care through education and research. AGS stands with Safe Eyes America in strong opposition to California AB 2236 which is under consideration in the California Senate now. 

AB 2236 drastically reduces the licensing requirements for the most frequently performed surgery for glaucoma, laser surgery. Laser surgery for glaucoma requires examination skills gained through examining thousands of patients with glaucoma and the use of the laser requires great precision. Tiny, fractions of a millimeter, errors in focus or aim can make the difference between success, failure, or vision-threatening complication. 

AB 2236 deceptively adds “procedures,” to an optometrist’s license, but make no mistake – this is surgery on a patient’s eye. Glaucoma is a serious, very complex disease, occurring in many different forms and affecting different patients in different ways.  The determination of when to operate and which surgery is best for the patient requires the skills and judgment of a surgeon who has graduated from medical school, followed by the extensive experience gained during internship and ophthalmology residency examining, diagnosing, treating, and performing surgery, when necessary, on thousands of patients under the close supervision of experienced mentor attending physicians. The additional three years of residency in ophthalmology surgery training after medical school and internship is irreplaceable without sacrificing patient safety. The shortcut proposed by AB 2236 of optometry school and a supplemental surgery course lasting days, not years, simply is not adequate to train a safe competent eye surgeon. The change in licensing that AB 2236 would bring places Californians at risk.   

Jeanette Moffa, a concerned patient, and Board member of Safe Eyes America commented, “Patients deserve and must have every protection possible. Decreasing the standards for surgical eye care is unacceptable.”

The California state Senate will take final action on AB 2236 any day now. There is no acceptable reason to place Californians at risk. Please contact your California state Senator NOW and urge them to Vote NO on AB 2236. To find your state Senator click on the following link: (https://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/). The California legislature adjourns for the year on August 31. 

About Safe Eyes America

Safe Eyes America is a 501(c) 4 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the delivery of the highest quality medical and surgical eye care to the American public. SafeEyesAmerica.org                             

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SOURCE Safe Eyes America

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