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Demand for advanced eye care services is rising while the supply of providers allowed by law to perform them is declining
AUSTIN, Texas – Patients in Texas currently have the fourth worst access to eye care in the nation due to extremely outdated state laws. By contrast, patients in each of our neighboring states enjoy access within the top ten. Unfortunately, the situation is only getting worse as Texas’ population ages and the demand for advanced eye care services increases.
To address this escalating crisis, the Texas Optometric Association (TOA) has formed Focus Texas, a coalition of doctors, patients, and citizens concerned about the state of eye care in Texas. The coalition will raise awareness around the current restrictions in eye care options and educate Texans about how to move toward an effective solution.
Despite Doctors of Optometry having the training necessary to perform a wide range of advanced eye care services, inflexible and outdated state laws unreasonably limit their ability to serve patients.
“As our state’s population continues to age, access to advanced eye care will quickly become a serious challenge,” said Jenny Terrell, O.D., President of Focus Texas. “By 2025, the demand for advanced eye care services will increase by almost 20% but the number of providers permitted to provide them will actually decrease.”
Each year, Texas taxpayers spend millions of dollars supporting the training of Doctors of Optometry in state schools. However, in the last five years, nearly 30% of these Doctors of Optometry have left upon graduation to practice in states such as Louisiana or Oklahoma, where they are allowed to provide more services to patients.
“Texas is facing a serious crisis and unless we act now, our patients are going to suffer longer waits and increased costs,” said Tommy Lucas, O.D., TOA Director of Advocacy. “Focus Texas exists to shine light on what’s happening and why, and what we can do to put eye care first in Texas.”
For more information about Focus Texas, please visit www.FocusTexas.org.