Optometrists; allowed to perform laser surgery if certified by Board of Optometry. (SB375)

Introduced By

Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Optometrists; laser surgery. Allows an optometrist who has received a certification to perform laser surgery from the Board of Optometry (the Board) to perform certain types of laser surgery of the eye and directs the Board to issue a certification to perform laser surgery to any optometrist who submits evidence satisfactory to the Board that he (i) is certified by the Board to prescribe for and treat diseases or abnormal conditions of the human eye and its adnexa with therapeutic pharmaceutical agents pursuant to Code requirements and (ii) has satisfactorily completed such didactic and clinical training programs provided by an accredited school or college of optometry that includes training in the use of lasers for the medically appropriate and recognized treatment of the human eye as the Board may require. Read the Bill »


01/13/2022: Awaiting a Vote in the Education and Health Committee


01/11/2022Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/22 22103933D
01/11/2022Referred to Committee on Education and Health
01/13/2022Assigned Education sub: Health Professions
01/21/2022Impact statement from DPB (SB375)


Linda Semans Donovan writes:

I'm curious what the impetus is for this bill. If it's access or affordability, it seems there's another way to increase medical presence in the state. I would want a medical doctor to perform any of these surgeries and I think other residents of Virginia would want the same, regardless of their income or residence.

Fred Woehrle writes:

This looks like a good bill that will improve access to and affordability of healthcare, while maintaining the quality of healthcare.

Suzanne Everhart writes:

This bill is open ended and permits all surgeries except those expressly excluded to be performed by optometrists who never went to medical school or completed a surgical residency on unknowing patients’ eyes.

Who woke up one day and thought I want my optometrist who fits my glasses and contacts to perform delicate eye surgery on my eyes?

The only persons who thought this were optometrists guaranteed! Virginians deserve and have access to top notch eye surgery performed by competent medical eye doctors and surgeons.

Why should anyone in Virginia be subjected to the least qualified professional performing eye surgery?

A recent survey conducted in January 2022 revealed unsurprisingly that 90% of all polled want medically trained eye physicians and surgeons performing their eye surgery.

This legislation puts all Virginians at risk.

Please contact your legislators and let them know you are entitled to having fully qualified eye surgeons perform your eye surgery! There is no shortage or access to care here in Virginia!

Patient safety is and should remain first and foremost here in Virginia!

William Shaheen writes:

This bill is about improving outcomes for patients. Anytime there is increased access to high quality care and increased choice this leads more prompt treatment and yes BETTER OUTCOMES. The record in 7 other states starting in the 1980s shows about 150,000 laser procedures by optometrists without any poor outcomes. In most other states optometrists have been performing other minimally invasive surgeries for decades and some of these may not even be allowed by this bill...go figure. Medicine always claims the sky is falling for these types of bills. The attempted maintanance of a monopoly by MD's is not altruistic. Falsely claiming potential harm when the facts bear just the opposite over the decades is just not in the best interest of society and is counter productive the providing the best care for all people.

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