2016 Georgia Code
Title 43 - Professions and Businesses
Chapter 30 - Optometrists
§ 43-30-1. Definitions
As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) "Board" means the State Board of Optometry.
(2) (A) "Optometry" means the art and science of visual care and is declared to be a learned profession. The practice of optometry consists of the diagnosis and interpretation of the visual behavior of the human organism by the employment of any means other than surgery. The practice of optometry further consists of the correction of visual anomalies through the prescribing, employment, and use of lenses, prisms, frames, mountings, contact lenses, orthoptic exercises, and visual training, light frequencies, and any other means or methods for the relief, correction, or remedy of any insufficiencies or abnormal conditions of the human visual organism, other than surgery. Optometrists are prohibited from using nondiagnostic lasers. Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the use, administration, or prescription of pharmaceutical agents for diagnostic purposes and treatment of ocular disease in the practice of optometry by optometrists who have received pharmacological training and certification from a properly accredited institution of higher learning and who are certified by the board to use pharmaceutical agents for diagnostic and treatment purposes. Only a doctor of optometry who:
(i) Is already certified for using pharmaceutical agents for diagnostic purposes;
(ii) Has passed or passes an examination approved by the board which tests knowledge of pharmacology for treatment and management of ocular diseases;
(iii) Is certified in coronary pulmonary resuscitation (CPR); and
(iv) Maintains at least $1 million in malpractice insurance coverage
shall be certified to use pharmaceutical agents for treatment purposes.
(B) The board shall establish by rule a list, which may be modified from time to time, of pharmaceutical agents which optometrists shall be allowed to use for treatment purposes.
(C) A doctor of optometry shall not administer any pharmaceutical agent by injection.
(D) Pharmaceutical agents which are used by a doctor of optometry for treatment purposes and administered orally may only be:
(i) (I) Nonnarcotic oral analgesics and hydrocodone and Schedule III or Schedule IV controlled substances which are oral analgesics;
(II) Used for ocular pain; and
(III) Used for no more than 72 hours without consultation with the patient's physician; provided, however, that with respect to hydrocodone, used for no more than 48 hours without consultation with the patient's physician; or
(ii) Antibiotics, antivirals, corticosteroids, antifungals, antihistamines, or antiglaucoma agents related to the diagnosis or treatment of diseases and conditions of the eye and adnexa oculi except Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substances; provided, however, that a doctor of optometry shall not be authorized to administer pharmaceutical agents by injection. Doctors of optometry using such pharmaceutical agents shall be held to the same standard of care imposed by Code Section 51-1-27 as would be applied to a physician licensed under Chapter 34 of this title performing similar acts; provided, however, that a doctor of optometry shall not be authorized to treat systemic diseases.
(E) Pharmaceutical agents which are used by a doctor of optometry for treatment purposes and administered topically shall be subject to the following conditions only when used for the treatment of glaucoma:
(i) If the pharmaceutical agent is a beta blocker, an optometrist certified to use pharmaceutical agents for treatment purposes must take a complete case history and determine whether the patient has had a physical examination within the past year. If the patient has not had such a physical examination or if the patient has any history of congestive heart failure, bradycardia, heart block, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, that patient must be referred to a person licensed under Chapter 34 of this title for examination prior to initiating beta blocker therapy;
(ii) If the glaucoma patient does not respond to the topically administered pharmaceutical agents after 60 days of treatment, that patient must be referred to an ophthalmologist;
(iii) If the patient is diagnosed as having closed angle glaucoma, the patient shall be immediately referred to an ophthalmologist; and
(iv) If the pharmaceutical agent is oral corticosteroids, an optometrist certified to use pharmaceutical agents for treatment purposes must take a complete case history and determine whether the patient has had a physical examination within the past year and must not prescribe oral corticosteroids for a patient with any condition for which oral corticosteroids are contraindicated, and in no event shall such oral corticosteriods be prescribed for more than 14 days.
(F) Doctors of optometry using pharmaceutical agents for treatment purposes shall be held to the same standard of care imposed by Code Section 51-1-27 as would be applied to a physician licensed under Chapter 34 of this title performing similar acts.
(G) Any doctor of optometry who uses a pharmaceutical agent, except under the conditions specified therefor by this chapter and any other law, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor unless a greater penalty is otherwise provided by law.
(H) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to allow a doctor of optometry to dispense pharmaceutical agents to patients.
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