While it is not mandatory, I encourage Ohio ODs to obtain a DEA license. This national identification number issued by the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration Office of Diversion Control is used by drug companies to track OD prescribing habits, It is especially important to these companies when allocating funds to optometry for research or support of CE meetings. Insurance companies and pharmacies also use DEA numbers to track optometry’s prescribing habits.
Ohio optometrists receive a TPA (therapeutic pharmaceutical agent) number from the Ohio State Board of Optometry at the time of licensure; however, TPA numbers are unique to Ohio and many national entities and certifying boards are not familiar with them. OOA members worked hard during the last scope update to obtain the privilege for ODs to receive a DEA license and prescribe narcotics when appropriate.
Ohio law requires that students newly referred to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) must receive an eye exam from an eye doctor.
A list by county of doctors who see students is at www.ooa.org. (If your practice should be listed, send an email with practice name and county to firstname.lastname@example.org). Also, a sample eye exam form is included which you can fax to the student’s school. Parents should schedule the appointment with the eye doctor within 90 days after the student is initially identified with learning disabilities. If the student had an eye exam during the previous nine months, the requirement is already met.
Why is an eye exam required for students referred to special education programs?
Since 80 percent of learning is through vision, a comprehensive eye exam by an eye doctor can detect and correct vision problems, which could improve the child’s performance in school. One in four school-aged children has a vision disorder, and about 70 percent of students on an IEP have an undiagnosed vision disorder. Eliminating or correcting vision problems is the first step to helping these students.
If the eye exam is not done within 90 days of identification for IEP, can the student attend school?
The goal is to help students. Students will not be kept out of school if the eye exam requirement is not met.
Why is an eye exam needed?
While school nurses may detect a vision problem through a vision screening, vision screenings never diagnose or treat a vision disorder. A comprehensive eye exam is a detailed assessment of the overall eye and vision health including measuring for distance vision, eye alignment, focusing, eye shape, depth perception, and more. Eye doctors are trained to make a definitive diagnosis and prescribe treatment such as glasses, contact lenses and medication.
An aspect of learning preparation that is often overlooked is good vision which is essential for a child to learn. A trip to an eye doctor can make sure the student’s vision is as good as it can be.