Arkansas House Bill 1251

On Wednesday, March 20, 2019, Arkansas House Bill 1251 passed on the state Senate floor, and was advanced to the governor to sign into state law. HB 1251 updates the antiquated scope of practice for optometry in our state that has been in place for over 20 years. During these two decades, technological advances in eye health care have drastically expanded, as has the curriculum in optometric education accordingly. Prior to its passage, optometrists in 18 other states (including a few of our neighboring states) held a wider scope of practice than that of Arkansas optometrists. During her optometric education and training at NSUOCO (in Oklahoma where it is already within the optometry scope), Dr. Watson and her classmates were trained and did perform these procedures on patients as student doctors. The passage of this bill will allow Arkansas optometrists to expand the services available to patients including some minimally-invasive procedures to remove lesions or skin tags from around the eye using injectable numbing medications and to perform two specific laser procedures (one for glaucoma and another for post-cataract surgery haze) once they receive updated certification to do so. It is our hope that once Governor Hutchinson signs the bill into law, Arkansas optometrists can offer our patients the most comprehensive eye care services possible.