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Trusted Eye Care

Doctors of Optometry are the primary eye care providers in South Dakota, providing more eye health and vision examinations than any other profession. South Dakotans look to Doctors of Optometry for their eye care treatment and advice.

Optometrists are Educated and Trained

Optometrists practicing in South Dakota take at least 45 hours of continuing education courses every three years. That equates to more than 500 hours of continuing education in a career after they have graduated with a doctorate from optometry school.

8 years

4 years Undergraduate University
plus
4 years DOCTOR OF OPTOMETRY SCHOOL

1000s

of patients with eye diseases receive care and treatment during optometric training

~10,000

hours of optometry education and supervised patient care before independently seeing patients

500+

hours of ongoing education in a career after graduation from Doctor of Optometry school

70+

years of national standardized testing to practice Optometry in South Dakota

Every day...

Doctors of Optometry use a microscope to identify over 270 systemic health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, auto-immune diseases, cancers and more.

Optometrists are more accessible since their eye surgeon colleagues (ophthalmologists) are not even in half the counties in South Dakota.*

*Source: COHPC

Don’t Be Deceived by Scare Tactics

The patient, Charlotte, who is featured in opposition videos and websites, had laser vitreolysis, which is NOT a procedure included in South Dakota’s legislation.  In fact, laser vitreolysis is one of the many procedures EXCLUDED from South Dakota’s legislation.  Other excluded procedures include LASIK, PRK, and cataract surgery.

Proven Success

Nationally, Doctors of Optometry already
perform in-office laser and in-office eyelid procedures

to treat glaucoma, after-cataract surgery care, eyelid styes and more.  While optometrists are the trusted professionals for the majority of eye care patients in the United States, you still need an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) to perform cataract surgery, LASIK, retina surgery and more.

Every US Optometry school trains Doctors of Optometry to perform in-office laser and eyelid procedures. In other states, these procedures have been safely provided by optometrists since the 1990s.

Legislated Profession

Why do optometrists need states to legislate their profession?

Every state governs the privileges of its health care providers through licensing programs. For example, every optometry school trains its students but each state’s scope of practice differs. Typically, MDs try to limit the practice of optometrists, dentists, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health professionals.

A Professor of both Ophthalmology and Optometry's Perspective

Dr. Richard Castillo, OD, DO is both an Ophthalmologist and Optometrist.  In this video he discusses the reasons why in-office laser and eyelid procedures are needed in South Dakota!

Chapters:


Doctors of Optometry respect and work closely alongside Ophthalmologists to provide their patients the best possible eye care in South Dakota

Ophthalmologists provide a critical surgical role in LASIK, incisional glaucoma surgery, retinal surgery, eye muscle surgery, corneal transplants, and much more. Patients are much better served when each discipline can practice to the fullest extent of their education and training.

In 2023, the South Dakota Legislature will consider legislation that allows Doctors of Optometry to practice to the scope of their education and training by allowing them to perform in-office laser and eyelid procedures - Senate Bill 87. Doctors of Optometry have been trained for and have performed these in-office procedures in other states for decades. It's time for South Dakota to catch up, especially since more than half the counties in South Dakota do not even have ophthalmologists, making it difficult to access care.  With this legislation, optometrists will be better able to keep pace with evolving changes in healthcare and technology and provide more comprehensive care to patients in their communities.

FACTS

  • Doctors of Optometry have safely performed some in-office procedures for more than 20 years in other states
  • This legislation does not include LASIK, cataract surgery or retina procedures
  • Doctors of Optometry are trained to perform in-office surgery procedures in school and are certified by experts
  • Doctors of Optometry in South Dakota have been treating glaucoma and eyelid conditions for decades
  • Doctors of Optometry have been managing and treating complications from these procedures for decades

Doctors of Optometry in other states have been performing in-office eye laser procedures for glaucoma and after-cataract care as well as in-office eyelid procedures for styes and other conditions since the 1990s.

 

By expanding in-office laser and eyelid procedures in South Dakota within an optometrist's scope of training and education, South Dakotans will have better access to the care they need.

Nationwide research comparing glaucoma in-office eye laser procedures shows...

13x more ophthalmologists (eye surgeons) make a patient repeat their laser procedure two additional times compared to when a Doctor of Optometry performs the same procedure.

Based on publicly available Medicare data


Ophthalmologists (eye surgeons) that oppose the 2023  'Optometry Bill'  will say:

Click each statement below to learn more


  • The Truth

    One optometrist in Oklahoma performed more laser procedures than a group of ophthalmologists.  MDs exploited that by writing a paper about it. However, MDs refused to look at the nationwide data because it showed 13x more Eye MDs required patients to have 3 procedures compared to when Doctors of Optometry perform the same.      

  • The Truth

    Doctors of Optometry have been performing in‑office laser and in-office eyelid procedures since the 1990s. The argument that only MDs are supposed to perform these procedures ended more than two decades ago. 

    Every US Doctor of Optometry school in the USA teaches and trains optometrists for in‑office laser and in-office eyelid procedures. In addition, every Optometrist that qualifies to perform in‑office laser and in-office eyelid surgery procedures has been certified by experts including by ophthalmology.  It's time to update the South Dakota Practice Act to the 21st century. 

  • The Truth

    Doctors of Optometry have been performing in-office laser and in-office eyelid procedures for decades. South Dakota is late to adopt such a law. Eye MDs published an article in 2018 that proved patients would have to drive nearly 2x further by limiting these in-office eye procedures to only ophthalmologists.*

    JAMA Ophthalmology 2018
  • The Truth

    The 'Optometry Bill' before the 2022 General Assembly only allows specific in–office laser and eyelid procedures. These in–office procedures DO NOT include major surgeries like cataract surgery, retina surgery, LASIK and more.

  • The Truth

    In-office laser and in-office eyelid procedure certification is a major endeavor. It requires:

    • 4 years of Doctor of Optometry school
    • Evaluation and management of thousands of patients
    • Years of training in ocular disease and treatment
    • Three board examinations
    • Performance proficiency examination

    Clearly this is impossible to accomplish in only one weekend.

  • The Truth

    MDs in South Dakota have fought against the ability of Doctors of Optometry to care for their patients since the 1980s. In that time, MDs have tried to stop Optometrists from:

    • Dilating patient’s pupils.
    • Prescribing eye drops for pink eye and glaucoma.
    • Prescribing oral medication for eye infections and inflammation.
    • Performing in-office procedures to treat eye infections, inflammation and other conditions.

    MDs try to convince the public and legislators that their care is the only one that should allow these medical procedures despite there being zero evidence of ill-effects of optometric care over the past four decades. The entire Optometry profession has been built upon personal eye health and vision care for the betterment of society. This is why the public prefers Optometrists for their personalized eye health care.

100,000 and counting...

Optometrists in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Louisiana have performed over 100,000 in-office eye laser procedures* since 1998:

  • Zero unexpected complications.
  • Zero malpractice.
  • Zero regulatory events.
  • ZERO!*

Your optometrist is educated, trained and certified to perform safe, effective and efficient care!

*OK, KY & LA Boards of Optometry 2021-2022

South Dakota Optometrists have changed their scope of practice several times over the past 40 years to keep their patient care up to the standards of the doctor's education, ability and training.  The experience of South Dakota Doctors of Optometry over the past 40 years shows their incredible track record of neighborhood patient care and trust within the legislative community.  


Optometry and Ophthalmology play a vital, coordinated role in modern eye care

Doctors of Optometry respect and work closely alongside Ophthalmologists to provide their patients the best possible eye care in South Dakota.

Ophthalmologists provide a critical surgical role in LASIK, incisional glaucoma surgery, retinal surgery, eye muscle surgery, corneal transplants, and much much more. Patients are much better served when each discipline is able to practice to the fullest extent of their education and training. 

teamwork

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If you would like more information about the Optometry bill or general eye care information, please reach out to us