(AP) -- Gov. Rick Scott has signed into law a long-debated bill that expands the drug-prescribing powers of optometrists.
Scott signed the bill (HB 239) on Friday. The state now allows optometrists to prescribe oral medications - including pills - to treat eye diseases.
They had been limited to prescribing medications such as eye drops. Optometrists had to refer patients to ophthalmologists for conditions requiring drugs taken by mouth.
Optometrists are not medical doctors and generally do not have the same authority to write prescriptions like ophthalmologists who are medical or osteopathic physicians.
The Florida Optometric Association reported that 47 other states allow optometrists to prescribe oral medication to treat eye diseases.