Optometrists in Arizona can now write prescriptions for several additional medications, including carbonic anhydrase inhibitors that help glaucoma patients in emergencies. With the new legislation, Arizona joins 40 other states that allow ODs to prescribe oral glaucoma meds.

“This primarily helps patients in pain or at risk of loss of sight who need urgent care medications,” says Annette Hanian, OD, legislative chair of the Arizona Optometric Association. “It adds another tool to our toolbox. We’re not treating things that we haven’t already treated. This just gives us the ability to respond more quickly in emergency situations.”

This legislation is particularly critical in Arizona, which has just 320 ophthalmologists but more than 900 ODs.

Part of HB 2380 also allows optometrists to continue writing prescriptions for hydrocodone. The opioid-based pain medication fell out of optometrists’ prescriptive power after the federal government changed its designation to Schedule II.