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– Urgent Patient Safety Alert – 

Unqualified providers (optometrists) want the right to perform surgery on or around  your eyes. 

Only your ophthalmologist is a highly trained and specialized medical doctor with years of medical education, closely supervised and intense surgical experience with real patients.

But optometrists are pushing an unnecessary bill in Olympia (SSB 5389) to drastically expand their scope and perform delicate procedures in and around your eye.

  • These providers are NOT trained surgeons

  • The vast majority have NO training with live patients

  • They are NOT medical doctors

  • They have NOT attended medical school

  • Any procedure involving a scalpel and your eye is surgery


The facts:


Training: An ophthalmologist has, on average, 15,000 more hours of clinical 
training than an optometrist, including hundreds of hands-on, directly supervised surgical procedures mandated by the ACGME. There are no similar standards for optometrists.

Access: Patient access is not an issue. 96% of patients in Washington are within 30 minutes of an ophthalmologist.

Cost: Patient cost is not reduced. Optometrists use the same billing codes as ophthalmologists and are paid the same by Medicare, Medicaid, and all private insurers.

Complications: Reports of “no complications” in the states where optometrists are allowed scalpel or laser privileges are disingenuous and false. Even the most skilled surgeons can experience complications. 

Know Your Eyes

Vision Exam

Support Safe Surgery

If you’d like to help us fight to keep surgery in the hands of surgeons in Washington State, please donate to our the Safe Surgery Fund today. 

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About Vision For Washington

Vision for Washington provides valuable eye care and eye health information and tools for Washington state residents and visitors. We share resources that educate patients about vision problems and how to stay healthy. Vision for Washington is operated on behalf of WAEPS. Can’t find what you need? Contact us here.

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