LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -A Lawton optometrist is sharing his thoughts on state question 793. If passed, it would expand eye care options in Oklahoma and modernize state optical laws. It would also allow eye care facilities to open in retail locations like Target and Walmart.
Doctor Kyle Head said state question 793 would enable big box retailers to side step the health care authority in our state. He said if passed, it would allow other practices like dental, chiropractic clinics and urgent care centers to do the same.
Doctor Head has been an optometrist for over 10 years. He said state question 793 raises some concerns.
"You know my main thoughts are number one, they could already have an optometrist working in Walmart or Target. The way are state laws are written right now, the optometrist and the state board of optometry would be in charge of the medical side of the practice and Walmart or Target could own an optical today. The current laws do not stop them from doing that right now. The difference is they want to own the health care portion of it, that's when the problems arise," said Head.
Doctor Head said the State Board of Optometry would no longer have jurisdiction and the state constitution would have to be amended to reflect that.
"That's un-heard of. It is a stepping stone to much worse things. I do not want to see retail establishments running health care offices. It's not safe," said Head.
He said optometrists can treat infections and perform minor surgical procedures. But, if this bill passes, it could affect the level of care.
"So if you go in and get checked at my office I have to do a certain amount of things to charge for an eye exam. I have to check a minimal amount of medical things in your eyes, even if I'm checking you for your contact lenses," said Head.
To make matters worse, Head said it could put many practices out of business.
"We take a lot of insurances. We take Sooner care, Medicare, there is affordable health care for everyone," said Head.
Walmart released a statement on state question 793 which reads in part,
"In Oklahoma, patients tell us they want the convenience of having access to high quality, yet affordable, eye care and eye wear while they shop. Any optometrist practicing in our stores are held to the same licensing standards as any licensed optometrist in each respective state."