Florida's eyeballs war ends

3:54 PM, Apr 5, 2013   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida - Florida's eyeballs war has ended.

State lawmakers have passed legislation that would allow optometrists to prescribe some oral prescriptions.

Optometrists have been fighting for that authority for the last 13 years, but have always faced stiff opposition from ophthalmologists, who didn't want to lose patients. But a compromise between the two sides brings the long-running battle to an end.

Sen. Arthenia Joyner opposed the bill in the past, but this latest version made enough changes to get her support.

"I'm pleased today after 13 years of being in the battle with the doctors of the eyes, I'm pleased to be able to cast an affirmative vote for this bill."

The legislation allows optometrists to prescribe 14 oral medications. It prohibits them from dispensing stronger Schedule 1 and 2 drugs or performing surgery.

When it came time to cast votes on the bill, sponsor Sen. Garrett Richter joked that senators should just say "Aye."

All of them did. It was a unanimous vote.

The measure now heads to Gov. Rick Scott.