Example of what an online eye exam looks like with a Snellen chart

By: Jim Waters –

As House members struggle to unite on serious issues involving public-pension reform and budget cuts, they’ve had no problem coming together with shutter-speed agreement to pass legislation protecting the powerful optometric industry from online innovators.

One reason – and it’s not the first time we’ve seen this – is lots of cold hard cash.

Optometrists’ political action committees in 2010 alone gave $141,700. They also gave a whopping $253,323 as individuals to get controversial legislation passed the following year letting optometrists perform surgeries previously – and strictly – limited to ophthalmologists, including injections and laser procedures.

Ophthalmologists claimed the legislation put patient safety at risk.

After all, they noted, ophthalmologists must have 17,000 hours of training and perform hundreds of surgeries before being allowed to perform on their own while only 32 hours of training is required for optometrists, who simply must show they can do the procedure once before being allowed to use lasers.

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