(Washington, D.C.) – The VA’s newly announced policy permitting laser eye
surgeries to be performed by optometrists at VA facilities “is inconsistent
with the VA’s stated priority to ensure that veterans receive the highest
possible quality health care,” said Thomas H. Corey, National President of
Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA).
“This new policy loosens and lessens the
standards of who can perform this delicate surgery,” Corey said.
“ Optometrists are highly competent at examining and treating certain visual
defects by methods that do not require license as a physician, but that does
not make them qualified to do eye surgery. If optometrists want
to perform this surgery,” Corey added, “VVA encourages them to attend
medical school and become ophthalmologists.
“For the VA to choose to allow
optometrists to perform laser surgery is short-sighted and wrong-headed,”
Corey said. “Rather than being a benchmark for improved health care, it
will succeed only in putting veterans at risk. VVA calls on the Secretary of
Veterans Affairs to reverse this erosion of the standard of care provided to
our nation’s veterans.”