ATLANTA—Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal last week signed legislation that will allow optometrists to perform certain types of injections in and around the eye.
The legislation, Senate Bill 153
, will improve access to eyecare treatment and enable Georgia to “continue to attract top-tier medical talent,” according to a statement from the Georgia Optometric Association
(GOA), which supported the legislation. The bill was approved by a 30-21 vote in the Senate and by a 121-36 vote in Georgia’s House of Representatives, according to GOA.
There are now more than 15 states, including Georgia neighbor Tennessee, that authorize ODs to perform limited injections to areas near the eye, GOA said. The new law also makes it “possible for ODs to put their education into practice,” according to a GOA statement.
“On behalf of my more than 700 colleagues serving communities throughout the state, I wish to thank Governor Deal and the members of the Georgia General Assembly for their willingness to listen to and work with us on this issue,” Dr. Ben Casella, president of GOA, said in a statement.
He also noted that ODs graduating today may “select where to practice based on their authorization to use the training they received during their extensive years of study.” He said GOA proposed the legislation because “we wanted to ensure that Georgia remains pro-business and continues to attract the brightest and best in the profession of optometry.”
Under the new law, a credentialing system for ODs seeking to perform certain injections into the eyelid and mucus membrane of the eye will be established. All ODs in Georgia seeking to offer this treatment will be required to receive additional training and a certification to perform injections with the training supervised by an ophthalmologist, according to GOA.
The law will increase patient access to treatment while simultaneously decreasing the cost to the patient. There are currently more than 1,000 practicing optometrists located throughout Georgia, while there are only about 350 ophthalmologists, according to the AOA Research and Information Center.
The law will increase patient access to eyecare treatment via injection and reduce the waiting time consumers may experience for such treatment, according to GOA’s statement.