By Peter Schorsch –
Losers: Florida Optometric Association — After decades of fighting over expanding their scope of practice to be able to perform surgery on the eye without a medical degree or years of residency training, Optometrists this year started Eyeball Wars 2.0 with an amendment to fight back scope expansion into their turf. One Senator twice filed and, after a chilly reception by fellow Senators, twice withdrew an amendment late in this year’s Session on the Telehealth bill. The amendment would have blocked consumers from ordering contacts online unless they had an in-person appointment with an Optometrist. Optometrists sited patient safety as the reason for the amendment, but Americans for Vision Care Innovation, the primary opponent of the amendment points out that more than a million online eye exams had been conducted in Florida and not a single adverse event, medical malpractice claim, or consumer initiated medical board complaint has been reported. Maybe the real reason the Optometrists oppose the bill is merely economic. An average in-person eye exam costs $185 while an online eye exam typically costs under $40.