Ask your lawmakers to oppose eye surgery by optometrists

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.

There are currently two bills in the N.C. General Assembly, one in the House of Representatives and one in the state Senate, that are dangerous and can affect North Carolinians adversely.

House Bill 36 and Senate Bill 342, titled the Enact Enhanced Access to Eye Care Act, will allow optometrists to perform surgery on the human body. Both these bills have been submitted without regard to their impact on the vision of North Carolinians.

An optometrist is not a licensed medical doctor and therefore has not had the in-depth medical training required to perform surgery on any part of the human body. The training that optometrists have received is limited to the eyes. Nowhere in the training are surgical skills taught. Nowhere in the training is there medical training for the entire human body.

I have had five eye surgeries, three corneal transplants and two cataract removals on my eyes, Because of those surgeries, I am admittedly opposed to both these bills.

My eye surgeries have caused me to believe that anyone operating on the human eye should complete medical school and serve a residency in the ophthalmology field before being licensed to operate on the eye without supervision.

I believe that in 1977 when the N.C. General Assembly allowed optometrists to prescribe prescription drugs, that authorization was a major mistake! Rather than placing North Carolinians further at risk, the General Assembly should reverse the prescription drug authorization.

We currently have too many prescriptions being issued for prescription drugs. The prescriptions being issued by optometrists maybe a contributing factor to the drug problem in North Carolina.

I appeal to everyone: Please write or call your state representatives both in the House and Senate of the N.C. General Assembly and request that they oppose these two dangerous bills. I will, as my representative is one of the primary sponsors of the dangerous House bill!

Ray Shamlin
Rocky Mount