The Media and I: Eye Surgery at the VA

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In my radio conversation with Lars Larson, we discussed concerns about the Veterans Administration (VA) potentially allowing optometrists to perform laser eye surgery on veterans for glaucoma.

Lars, not a veteran himself, expressed his strong support for veterans and his desire to see them receive the best care during their military service and thereafter. He alluded to a past Veterans Administration (VA) initiative that attempted to have the government itself manufacture eyeglasses for veterans, which ultimately proved inefficient and costly compared to private sector alternatives.

The VA is now proposing that optometrists, instead of ophthalmologists, perform certain kinds of delicate eye surgery. I have strong reservations about this proposal, beginning with the vast difference in expertise between ophthalmologists (eye surgeons) and optometrists, who typically fit glasses and contact lenses. More specifically, concerns over optometrists’ surgical proficiency, which is best achieved through lengthy training, a high volume of operations, and the impracticality of allowing optometrists to perform complex eye surgery.

Our discussion highlights concern about the VA's quality of healthcare and the importance of considering private-sector options to ensure that veterans receive the best possible care without compromising their well-being.

You can find the audio of my conversation with Lars Larson here, and my article on the subject, "Not Seeing Clearly," here