Whereas, 49 other states have enacted laws authorizing optometrists to treat glaucoma thereby providing patients the right to choose their care provider,
Whereas, Massachusetts is the only state where patients are currently denied the right to choose optometrists for their glaucoma care,
Whereas, in other states patients with glaucoma have been successfully diagnosed and treated by optometrists for over 40 years,
Whereas, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission in 2016 strongly recommended the Massachusetts General Court update its antiquated glaucoma laws
Whereas, patients of optometrists are offered affordable and convenient eye care for glaucoma, and the treatment of eye related infection,
Whereas, the national standard of care is to allow Optometrists to prescribe eye related oral anti-infective medications.
Whereas, in Massachusetts there are two optometric colleges, The New England College of Optometry and the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences/School of Optometry, that are educating and training students who then must leave Massachusetts in order to treat glaucoma and prescribe oral anti-infective medications.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
Treatment of Glaucoma and other eye related disorders
Section 1: Notwithstanding any general laws to the contrary, Massachusetts optometrists licensed under chapter 94C shall have the authority to treat glaucoma and ocular abnormalities of the human eye and the adjoining and adjacent tissue, as well as prescribe all necessary eye related medications including all oral anti-infective medications.
Nothing in this section shall permit optometric utilization of or prescription of (i) therapeutic pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of systemic diseases; (ii) invasive surgical procedures, (iii)pharmaceutical agents administered by sub dermal injection, intramuscular injection, intravenous injection, subcutaneous injection or retro bulbar injection, (iv) opioid medications.
Within 90 days of the effective date of this act, the Board of Registration in Optometry is hereby directed to determine all professional and educational requirements necessary to provide optometric treatment of glaucoma and the prescription of all oral anti-infective medications.
Prior to any Massachusetts licensed optometrist utilizing said glaucoma medications and all oral anti-infective medications, an optometrist must complete an educational program administered by the Massachusetts Society of Optometrists which shall be approved by an accredited college of optometry or medicine and shall otherwise meet the guidelines and requirements of the board of registration of optometry. The Board of Registration in Optometry shall provide, to the Department of Public Health and to each successful applicant, a certificate of qualification in the utilization and prescription of all therapeutic pharmaceutical agents necessary to treat glaucoma and all oral anti-infective medications.
Within 90 days after the effective date of this act, the Department of Public Health and the Board of Registration in Optometry shall promulgate the rules and regulations necessary to effectuate the purpose of this act.
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