Frankfort, KY – Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo is defending legislation expanding the practice of optometry in the state. The bill, which leadership fast-tracked through the General Assembly, allows optometrists to perform some surgical procedures currently only done by ophthalmologists, who are medical doctors. Stumbo admits the bill was heavily lobbied by optometrists, but does not believe it poses any health dangers.
"We all certainly hope that none of the fears do play out. But again, the experience of the other state that has this type of legislation - Oklahoma - it's been in effect over a decade. That's not been the case in Oklahoma."
Reps. Bob DeWeese and David Watkins, who are physicians, voted no. Watkins called it a "terrible, terrible bill."
"It puts our patients, it puts our citizens at risk - putting instruments in individuals who are not, I don't feel like adequately trained to do the things that they're asking to do."
The bill already has Senate approval, so it's headed to Gov. Beshear for his signature. It's the first bill to win approval in both chambers this session.