When it comes to eye surgery, operations should only be performed by qualified medical doctors who have extensive training.

Surgical procedures should be about quality, not quantity. Expanding optometrists’ scope to include complex eye surgeries they are not trained to perform will compromise patient safety and the quality of eye care administered across Alberta.

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What Changes Are Being Proposed?

Under a new proposal, optometrists would be allowed to perform surgical procedures based solely on completing less than 40 hours of training without ever having performed these procedures on a real patient. Ophthalmologists train for years, specializing in eye health and mastering these intricate procedures before providing care to real patients. That’s what’s needed to give Albertans the safe, reliable eye care they need.

As the only eye health professionals that are medical doctors with extensive education and certified training in surgical procedures and complex medical eye care, Ophthalmologists should be the ones to deliver safe, high-quality, cost-effective eye surgeries in Alberta. Albertans deserve the best eye care. Untrained and inexperienced optometrists should not be allowed to perform these surgeries.

Care expansion proposals are not new, but no similar scope expansion has been allowed anywhere in Canada. Previous proposals from optometrist organizations have been reviewed by regulatory agencies in the US and Canada, with the majority concluding that expanding surgical services to optometrists is not a safe path for patient health and well-being given the inexperience of potential surgery providers. Moreover, Alberta Health data has shown that previous attempts at scope expansions did not reduce costs for the provincial health system, putting the quality of patient care at risk with no economic upside.


Why Put Our Eye Health at Risk?

No Canadian provincial regulator has approved similar scope expansion.
Say NO to Surgery by Optometrists.

Ophthalmologists are duty-bound to protect the safety of their patients. Allowing optometrists to perform these procedures after completing only a short training course will put the quality of eye care Albertans receive at risk.