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Comparison of examination fees and availability of routine vision care by optometrists and ophthalmologists.
  • Published Date:
    1991 Jul-Aug
  • Source:
    Public Health Rep. 106(4):455-459
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-961.25 KB]

  • Alternative Title:
    Public Health Rep
  • Personal Author:
  • Description:
    A national telephone survey of eye care practitioners shows that the average fee for routine eye examinations was less among optometrists than ophthalmologists. The average wait for the earliest appointment was 5 days for optometrists and 20 days for ophthalmologists. Weekend and evening appointments were also more obtainable among optometrists. The study did not determine what tests were included in the routine examination of each practitioner. Optometrists are licensed to use diagnostic drugs in all 50 States and prescribe therapeutic drugs for the treatment of ocular diseases in 25 States. Legislation that would update State laws permitting doctors of optometry to prescribe and use pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of eye diseases has been introduced in many of the remaining States. Supporters of bills permitting therapeutic pharmaceutical optometry contend that these changes would ensure the availability of quality eye care at significant savings, since optometric fees are generally lower than ophthalmological fees. In addition, it has been argued that optometrists are equitably distributed geographically and are more likely to have weekend and evening office hours, thus enabling increased patient access to eye care. When considering cost-effectiveness and accessibility, this study may provide information to those States considering changes in the scope of optometric licensure.
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