New Regulation Allows Ontario Optometrists to Treat with Prescription Medication

TORONTO, April 6 /CNW/ - Ontarians will enjoy better access to eye health care now that optometrists can prescribe medications for sight-threatening conditions like eye infections and glaucoma. Today, the Government of Ontario approved a regulation that will allow optometrists to prescribe medication for the treatment of certain conditions.  The College of Optometrists of Ontario congratulates the government of Ontario on this example of progressive health policy.

"Optometrists in Ontario have long awaited this change which will allow them to offer patients one-stop health care for many eye conditions," says Dr. Christopher Nicol, Interim Registrar at the College. "This regulation will reduce healthcare system costs and provide easier, quicker service for hundreds of patients across Ontario. "

In the past if an optometrist diagnosed a patient with an eye condition that required treatment with a medication, the patient would be referred to an ophthalmologist for a prescription and ongoing treatment. This often resulted in lengthy wait times and back-ups in the system. Now optometrists can not only diagnose the eye disease, they can treat it.

"This regulation is particularly important in the less-populated and northern regions of the province where a trip to the ophthalmologist could be costly and time-consuming for the patient," said Nicol. "This regulation is an achievement in access to eye care services for Ontarians and optometrists are looking forward to the opportunity to provide a broader range of services and become more active partners in patient care."

The list of drugs optometrists can prescribe is controlled by Ontario's Designated Drugs Regulation.  This regulation has been in the works since 2007 when implementation of the Health System Improvements Act resulted in changes to the Optometry Act.

Ontario's more than 1,800 optometrists are regulated by the College of Optometrists of Ontario.  Optometrists are eye care professionals that must meet strict educational requirements to achieve and maintain registration in Ontario.

SOURCE College of Optometrists of Ontario

For further information:

Paula Garshowitz
College of Optometrists of Ontario
Tel: 416.962.4071

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College of Optometrists of Ontario

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