Optometrists will be allowed to prescribe and administer drugs to people with certain eye conditions under legislation that takes effect July 15, Health Minister Theresa Oswald said today.
"Until now, optometrists treating patients requiring medication had to refer them to ophthalmologists or other physicians," Oswald said in a release. "The amendments will improve access to eye care and reduce wait times for treatment for patients."
Under the changes, qualified optometrists will be able to prescribe and administer certain drugs to treat eye infections, glaucoma, uveitis, dry eye and ocular allergies. Qualified optometrists will also now be able to work with ophthalmologists in treatment of more serious eye disease.
Oswald said the Optometry Amendment Act will also expand the scope of practice of optometrists so they may remove superficial foreign bodies from the eye and order and receive screening and diagnostic tests. The changes have the support of the Manitoba Association of Optometrists.
The province said optometrists provide approximately 80 per cent of all first contact, primary vision and eye health examinations in Manitoba.