In an effort to reduce the wait time for access to eye care, the Canadian province of Alberta has expanded the scope of practice for optometrists.
Edmonton, Canada-In an effort to reduce the wait time for access to eye care, the Canadian province of Alberta has expanded the scope of practice for optometrists.
After completing a certification program, optometrists in Alberta are now able to:
• Prescribe certain oral and topical drugs
• Order and apply ultrasound tests
• Order lab tests
• Treat certain types of glaucoma
Alberta has more than 645 optometrists in more than 80 communities. The optometrists will be able to undergo certification later this fall. They will also have to have regular on-site practice reviews.
The move aims to increase access to eye care in rural communities. Ontario, British Columbia, and Manitoba have already expanded the role of optometrists.
“These changes will enable optometrists to practice to the full extent of their training,” says Dr. Sallie Barclay, president of the Alberta College of Optometrists. Optometrists will also complete a certification program before providing these new services, meet rigorous standards of practice and undergo regular on-site practice reviews. Albertans can be fully confident their eye care needs will be addressed safely and effectively by a highly skilled, knowledgeable and competent eye health professional.”