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Eye surgeons aim to block optometrists’ use of lasers

The Tennessean, October 24, 2011

Eye surgeons in Tennessee have begun a pre-emptive offensive against legislation to allow optometrists the right to do laser surgeries — even though optometrists say they aren't seeking any law change. Lasers are replacing scalpels in eye surgery with procedures that range from saving a patient's sight to freeing them from eyeglasses. Computer programs make some of those procedures seem as easy as pushing a button, but a laser is just as dangerous as a knife, said Dr. Rebecca J. Taylor, a Nashville ophthalmologist. "You laser the wrong area and in an instant you render someone blind and it's not retrievable," said Taylor, a medical doctor who completed a surgical residency at Vanderbilt University to become an ophthalmologist.