Eye Can See Clearly, Now with AB 443

This legislative session resulted in changes to California’s Optometry Practice Act, which regulates the practice of optometry.  New law in the form of signed and enrolled AB 443 means that California optometrists can now provide habilitative optometric services, use therapeutic pharmaceutical agents for certain purposes, perform intravenous injection for the purpose of performing ocular angiography under limited circumstances, and treat and diagnose hypotrichosis and blepharitis. And, where an optometrist had to consult with and refer a patient to an ophthalmologist or a physician and surgeon in certain circumstances, including if a patient has a recurrent case of peripheral corneal inflammatory keratitis within one year of the initial occurrence, the new law requires consultation with and, if necessary, referral to a physician and surgeon or other appropriate health care provider when a situation or condition occurs that is beyond the optometrist’s scope of practice. The new law also requires all consultations, referrals, and notifications be documented in the patient’s medical record. In other words, the scope of practice for optometrists in California has changed, and all licensed optometrists should familiarize themselves with the new law.