Gov. Newsom vetoes dangerous optometrist scope bill after hundreds of physicians speak up

September 29, 2022
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Ophthalmology Scope of Practice 

Governor Newsom yesterday vetoed a dangerous bill (AB 2236) that would have allowed optometrists to perform eye surgeries that require use of a scalpel or an injection and "anterior segment lasers” if they met minimal specified education and training conditions that are far inferior to the requirements that ophthalmologists must meet. 

The California Medical Association’s (CMA) grassroots network of physicians mobilized to make sure that Gov. Newsom understood that this bill would leave patients vulnerable to serious risk of life-long consequences that could be devastating to their vision and their lives. If this bill had become law, patients—particularly those in under-served communities—might see an optometrist for one of these surgical procedures without knowing that an optometrist is not a physician or without realizing the great discrepancy in the level of training optometrists have compared to ophthalmologists. 

"CMA is grateful that Gov. Newsom has recognized that the inadequate training stipulated by AB 2236 would expose patients to serious health risks, loss of vision or even life-threatening consequences,” says CMA President Robert E. Wailes, M.D. “We thank those physicians who spoke up to let legislators and the Governor know that all Californians deserve to have well-trained physicians to provide high-quality care, and they expect the State of California to ensure strict safety standards to protect patients." 


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