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IN June of 1971, the general assembly of the state of Rhode Island enacted a bill defining the actions of optometrists. This bill included: "... the topical application of drugs to the eye, to wit, mydriatics, miotics, and the use of topical anesthetics...." The only control over those using these drugs is by the Board of Examiners in Optometry and the Chief of Pharmacy in the Department of Health. The bill was enacted despite medical testimony to the House, Senate, and directly to the Governor of Rhode Island.
This law is a landmark because it makes legal the use of drugs by people who have had little, if any, medical training. It opens the door for intrusion into the practice of medicine not only by optometrists but other health workers. One could question the ability of those without a medical background to treat the cardiovascular and respiratory emergencies that can be
A. H, Worthen DM. Education, Not Legislation. Arch Ophthalmol. 1972;87(3):243. doi:10.1001/archopht.1972.01000020245001
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