The Lowell Sun reports on another "Why is Massachusetts the only state that...?" issue. Unlike the rest of America, we don't allow optometrists to treat glaucoma, instead saying that our neighborhood eye doctors must refer cases to more highly educated ophthamologists. Corrective legislation is virtually dead in the current session, but it's bound to reappear in 2009. Here's the con and pro:
"Patients overwhelmingly believe that their serious eye diseases should and must be treated by a medical doctor," [Dorchester opthalmologist Lisa] McHam wrote [in a letter to legislators]. "But the proposed bill would allow optometrists, who have no medical training, to treat medically complex and potentially blinding eye diseases." ...
"It all centers on having the patients have one visit, instead of two," said Dr. Steven Sikalis, a Lowell optometrist who has been practicing in the area for more than two decades. "If I diagnose a patient with glaucoma now, I have to refer him to an ophthalmologist so they can do the same test I just did and then write a prescription for drops. If I was 10 miles north in New Hampshire, I could write that prescription in a heartbeat."
Photo by ansik.