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You may have heard about a 2003 case at a Veterans' Affairs hospital in Kansas in which an optometrist was granted privileges to perform laser eye surgery. Remember, an optometrist typically does not perform laser eye surgery.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, in 2004 the Department of Veterans Affairs responded to calls for patient safety from professionals licensed and trained in clinical ophthalmology and laser eye surgery, as well as from associations such as the American Medical Association, American College of Surgeons, the American Osteopathic Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians and American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons. The VA revoked optometrists' privileges to perform laser eye surgery.
If an optometrist tells you he or she has hospital privileges to conduct laser eye surgery treatments, opt for an ophthalmologist's care instead. Therapeutic laser surgery, which is complex and delicate, should only be performed by a qualified ophthalmologist. Our country's respected veterans and its civilians deserve the best care from a qualified doctor certified in clinical ophthalmology.