Eye surgeons in North Carolina launched a six-figure ad campaign this week to fight an attempt by optometrists to perform procedures that only ophthalmologists are currently allowed to do.
The ad is running on broadcast and cable TV and radio in the Triangle, according to Paul Shumaker, a political consultant for the N.C. Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons, which bought the ad.
The initial purchase amounts to about $200,000 and will pay for two weeks of advertising.
Legislation filed earlier this year, House Bill 36, would have allowed optometrists — who currently do eye exams and eyeglasses prescriptions — to perform four specific procedures while excluding 18 others.
Both sides have lined up organized support and opposition to the proposal, including hiring a battery of lobbyists and commissioning polls.
Amid the controversy, HB 36 has been turned into a bill that would require the issue be studied first. But the eye surgeons are trying to dissuade lawmakers from resurrecting the original intent of the bill, either this session or after the study is completed.
The House passed the study bill 109-6 last month. The Senate has not acted on it.