|[March 22, 2013]
Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology Announces Radio Campaign in Response to Injectable Anesthesia Bill
NASHVILLE, Tenn. --(Business Wire)--
Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology announced that it is running radio
advertisements in response to Senate
Bill 220 and House
Bill 555. These bills would allow optometrists - who are not medical
doctors - to inject anesthesia with a needle into the delicate tissues
surrounding the eye for the purpose of performing surgeries on the
eyelid to remove lesions, cysts and tumors.
The 30-second advertisements
are running on radio stations throughout the state and are designed to
educate Tennesseans about this dangerous legislation that, if passed,
would pose a risk to patient safety and would lower the quality of
surgical eye care that Tennesseans currently receive.
The Tennessee legislation comes on the heels of a proposal in the
California legislature that would give allied healh professionals,
including optometrists, a greatly expanded scope of practice. If passed,
the new law would allow optometrists to perform a multitude of surgical
eye procedures. California
legislators have cited the federal Affordable Care Act as
justification for loosening the state's quality of health care delivery.
"We are not California, and watering down surgical safety standards is
not in the best interests of the people of Tennessee," said Ben Mahan,
president of the Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology. "Tennessee is
fortunate to have more than enough medical eye physicians and surgeons
to meet the eye care needs of patients in our state. But Senate Bill 220
and House Bill 555 opens the door for optometrists - nonmedical doctors
- to perform delicate surgery on the eyelid and surrounding
tissues. This requires a level of medical and clinical training that is
simply not attainable as a practicing optometrist.
"Tennesseans need to be aware that there is no such thing as a 'simple'
surgical procedure and that, any time a needle is placed near the eye,
there is great risk involved," Mahan said. "Medical doctors and surgeons
possess years of clinical training and have the required experience and
qualifications to assess those risks and act accordingly, while
optometrists do not."
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors and surgeons who spend eight years
or more honing their surgical and medical skills. Their training
includes four years of medical school, a one-year hospital internship
and three years of surgical residency - completing around 17,000 hours
of clinical training. By comparison, optometrists have completed four
years of postgraduate studies that focus on primary eye care services
such as eye exams and contact lens fittings. They complete approximately
2,000 patient-contact hours during four years of optometry school.
Tennesseans who are concerned about allowing nonmedical doctors to use
injectable anesthesia and perform complex surgeries around the eye are
encouraged to visit www.safesurgerytn.org
and to urge their legislators to vote against Senate
Bill 220 and House
About the Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology
Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology (TNAO) is the only
association for ophthalmologists in Tennessee, and its members represent
all areas of eye health care and surgery. The TNAO's mission is to
advocate for the best possible eye health care for Tennesseans, serve
the professional needs of ophthalmologists through legislative advocacy
and member services, and assure the public's direct access to medical
doctors trained in ophthalmology.
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