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American Surgeons warn House against latest salvo in Florida’s resurgent Eyeball Wars

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Tallahassee has once again found itself in the thick of a renewed Eyeball Wars between optometrists and ophthalmologists. And no less than patient safety in Florida is on the line. After a four-year truce, optometrists have gone back on their word, drafting legislation to allow them to perform surgery; it is a proposal that ophthalmologists, the American College of Surgeons and recent scientific research suggest would be devastating to the long-term eye health for thousands of Floridians. A bill now making…

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Eyeball Wars: It’s all about knowing who takes care of your eyes

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Do you know who is taking care of your eyes? That question is at the heart of “Joanne’s Story” a video about a Vero Beach woman who nearly lost her eyesight after an ophthalmologist caught a rare diagnosis which was missed by her optometrist. Joanne was previously under the care of an optometrist who diagnosed her with a “small cataract.” A retinal surgeon removed the cataract, and Joanne returned to the optometrist for the remainder of her care. After several…

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We told you so; Eyeball Wars set to begin anew

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Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Nearly four years have passed since the truce was called in the decades-long “eyeballs war” between Florida optometrists and ophthalmologists. But with the Legislative Session approaching, that fragile peace seems all but finished. Optometrists are seemingly going back on their word, working behind the scenes to file legislation to allow them to perform surgery, a proposal that scientific research suggests may not be a good idea. Several signs indicate optometrists had become progressively uneasy since…

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Study shows research not on optometrists’ side in Eyeball Wars

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As Florida’s “Eyeball Wars” start up again, research in the Journal of the American Medical Association gives new insight on what is at stake in the struggle between ophthalmologists and optometrists. In October 2016, a team of medical professionals, mostly from the University of Michigan, issued a report examining the difference in treatment outcomes between optometrists and ophthalmologists in Oklahoma. Since 1998, both types of practitioners in Oklahoma have been allowed surgical privileges to perform laser trabeculoplasty (LTP). Laser trabeculoplasty is a procedure…

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Chekhov’s Gun in the Eyeball Wars? Optometrists are lobbied up for 2017

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As Anton Chekhov once said: If it’s not essential, don’t include it in the story. What would the great Russian novelist and playwright make of recent movements in Florida’s seemingly never-neverending Eyeball Wars between ophthalmologists and optometrists? “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off,” Chekhov wrote in 1911. “If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”…

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Are optometrists going back on their word in Eyeball War truce?

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For nearly two decades, Tallahassee was the front line of an epic battle — the so-called “Eyeball Wars” — between Florida’s optometrists and ophthalmologists. On one side were optometrists — college educated to provide diagnoses and correct vision problems — fighting to perform surgery and prescribe medications beyond topical ointments and creams. Ophthalmologists, supported by the influential Florida Medical Association, argue that optometrists lacked sufficient credentials and training as medical doctors to perform such intricate procedures. After years of legislative…

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Eyeball wars II: Senate OKs bills letting retailers set price for contacts

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The Senate Health Policy Committee on Monday gave the nod to a bill that would restrict contact lens manufacturers from preventing retailers from selling or advertising contact lenses below a set price. The bill, SB 1400 by state Sen. Tom Lee, brought lobbyists from Las Vegas, Utah, and Washington, leading former Senate President Don Gaetz to joke that Lee, also a former Senate president, deserved the “Visit Florida” award for the number of lobbyists who traveled to the state to testify on the…

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