10:29am

Mon September 12, 2011
Science/Health

KY Optometric Eye Surgeries May Expand

A complaint has been filed against the Kentucky Board of Optometric Examiners saying a task force it created never complied with state law before deciding optometrists could perform certain laser eye surgery procedures.

The Kentucky Medical Association and the Kentucky Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (KAEPS) filed the complaint, which says the process for forming the proposals violates the state’s Open Meetings Act.

“The meetings were scheduled vaguely, they were scheduled online and when we would try to get information about the meetings we were told no other information existed,” said Dr. Woodford Van Meter, president of KAEPS.

The task force created new proposed regulations that would allow optometrists to perform four new laser eye surgeries.

Senate Bill 110, this year allowed a governor-appointed task force to propose regulations regarding optometric surgeries. Instead, the Kentucky Optometric Association created its own committee, which proposed expanding optometrist surgeries and it’s unclear whether those meetings were part of new legislation. However, the Governor’s office has said it never appointed the task force in dispute.

Van Meter said he would send representation to the meetings he considered public.

“But the development of the regulations by which optometrist could perform surgery were devised behind closed doors,” he said.

The Kentucky Board of Optometric Examiners officials said the association will discuss the matter on Monday night before the new regulations will be heard in front of the Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee on Tuesday, which could decide to pass the regulations. It would then work its way up through state legislature.

Senate Bill 110 was an attempt to expand ocular healthcare to areas underrepresented.

Oklahoma is the only other state that allows optometrists to perform similar eye surgeries, said Van Meter.

Click here to see a copy of the complaint.