Optometry’s History in Washington State

Optometry’s History in Washington State

1973 – Anti-discrimination language (RCW 18.53.180): Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the state and its political subdivisions, and all officials, agents, employees, or representatives thereof, are prohibited from entering into any agreement or contract with any individual, group, association, or corporation which in any way, directly or indirectly, discriminates against licensed optometrists in performing and receiving compensation for services covered by their licenses.

Pre-1981 – Washington O.D.s perform “drugless” routine eye exams, prescribe contact lenses, eyeglasses, and vision therapy; no drops, no disease treatment.

1981 - The Washington State Legislature granted O.D.s the authority to use diagnostic drugs, topically applied, to aid in the diagnosis of disease.

1984 – Anti-trust suit won against medical bureaus.

1988 - The Board of Optometry determined that O.D.s can provide all pre-operative and post-operative care for surgery patients.

1989 - The Washington State Legislature granted O.D.s the authority to use therapeutic drugs, topically applied, to treat eye disease.

1990 - The Board of Optometry determined that O.D.s can order lab tests.

1990 - The Board of Optometry determined that O.D.s can remove all foreign bodies from the eye.

1991 - The Board of Optometry determined that O.D.s can treat lesions of the eyelid.

1991 - The Board of Optometry determined that O.D.s can refer to themselves as “Optometric Physicians.”

1993 - The Board of Optometry determined that O.D.s can insert lacrimal plugs into the tear ducts of the lids.

1993 - The Board of Medical Examiners refuses to hear the WSMA’s complaint of optometry practicing medicine, as the Board of Medical Examiners has no authority over the practice of optometry.

1994 – The Washington State Legislature passes the Consumer Access to Vision Care Act after heavy modification achieved by WAOP (OPW).

1994 - The Washington Academy of Eye Physicians & Surgeons (WAEPS) is told by Thurston County Superior Court that they have no “standing” to bring action against the Board of Optometry.

1996 - Legislation is introduced to authorize full prescriptive authority to O.D.s.

1997 - Legislation is introduced to expand the definition of optometry to include any procedure included in the curriculum of recognized schools of optometry as approved by the Board of Optometry.

1999 – Legislation allowing opticians to refract is defeated.

2003 – The Washington State Legislature grants O.D.s prescriptive authority for oral drugs. (Locke)

2005 – The Washington State Legislature passes legislation requiring all O.D.s be licensed at the highest-level by 2011. (Gregoire)

2009 – Washington State Legislation allows O.D.s to perform/donate visual screening services in schools. (Gregoire) Visual and auditory screening of pupils — Rules and regulations (RCW 28A.210.020).

2015 - Legislature votes to approve Optometric Physicians to refer to physical and occupational therapists. (Inslee)

2015 - Use of Hydrocodone restored to OD’s after become a Class II drug. (Inslee)

2016 - Washington State passes bill requiring students to be screened in both near and distance visual acuity (Inslee).

5/6/2011