One of the legendary fights in the Legislature ended quietly Monday when the Senate agreed to a compromise between optometrists and ophthalmologists that will allow optometrists to treat minor eye diseases and injuries.
For years, rural legislators sided with optometrists, who didn't like sending patients to medical eye doctors - ophthalmologists - for minor diseases and injuries. Often, patients had to drive for hours to visit an eye doctor on the Wasatch Front.Almost yearly legislators argued over the matter, with the optometrists always losing.
Under the new law, which now goes to Gov. Norm Bangerter, optometrists can treat minor eye ailments after consulting with an ophthalmologist by telephone. If more serious complications come about, the patient must be referred to the medical doctor.