Click here to view a national discussion on the challenges
facing independent optometry now and in the near future.

Seen and Heard

We want to hear from you. Without a doubt, our industry is changing, and we’re faced with many challenges today, thanks to competition and consumer trends. But there are opportunities for us, too. We’d like to know your ideas for staying competitive in the new market. Perhaps you’d like to share a best practice that has worked well for you, your staff and customers. Or, maybe you’d just like to provide some perspective or a point of view that may (or may not) complement our thinking.

Share your Thoughts. We may include your post and provide some comments, as well.

8 Responses

  1. Jim sinoway says:

    There are many issues that face optometry today from oversupply to retail and Internet. In my opinion the only way optometry is going to survive is buy curtailing the number of new graduates, excellent customer service, the medical model and marketing by the AOA and Individual optometrists. The general public sees a dentist on average every 6 months, but only vist their optometrist every 2 years. Some don’t get checked until they become presbyopic. We must educate the public on the importance of pediatric eye exams and yearly eye exams.

  2. Len Forbes says:

    In California, an HMO controlled state, our problems will be gaining “access” to patients. We are not an “any willing provider” state and with major health plans adding millions of patients to their existing roles, “access” with reasonable payments will be a major issue. Competition will increasing from online to plans following the Kaiser model with “in house” Optometry. The only way to compete will be to form strong, vocal OD groups, based on geographic or demographic areas. Individual ODs, especially in large cities will have little chance of getting on panels.

  3. dr. leonor macalintal-almoro says:

    I want to be included in your mailing list.

  4. Steven Newman, OD CNS says:

    Our future. Wow. Put 10 optometrists in a room and you’ll get 11 different opinions. I’m just glad I was an optician for 12 years prior to attending optometry school. The one thing the private optician can’t give, the one thing 800 contacts can’t give and the one thing most commercial optometrists can’t give is continuity of care throughout the patient (customer)encounter. The exam doesn’t end with the writing of the Rx, it ends with the selection(then dispensing) of the appropriate frame, and more importantly, the lenses that they will view THEIR world through. I believe commercial ODs will be just fine and probably will end up with over a 50% share of our profession, with private ODs amounting 25%, the remaining will be working for MDs (more profitable for them)or research, academia, hospital, etc…In order to survive, I think more of these open discussions are necessary. Alcon approached me a couple of months ago and I have organized and lead a couple of round table dinners about this subject matter. Alcon’s main objective is to increase profitability on contacts. The discussions seem to always go to increasing profitability on glasses (optician for 12 years, remember?). Opinions do vary, feeling sometimes get hurt, but I believe the private OD we will be discounting our contact lens materials while increasing our contact lens fitting fees, doing as much medical optometry as humanly possible while making our living in our opticals. The more opticals we own, the more profitable we’ll be. The more optical we own, the more ODs we can (legally) hire, giving the new graduate an alternative to commercial or MD/OD modality, ensuring our legacy. Peace + Veggies, Steve

  5. CARMEN ABESAMIS says:

    In the Philippines, its a totally different picture. Our OPTOMETRY LAW only allows Optometrists (with exemption of Ophthalmologist) to practice Optometry, but with the GATS (General Agreement on Trade and Services), its becoming to be the “back door” of large companies wanting to get in and sell glasses and hire Optometrists. If we allow this to happen, which I see it happening under our nose, then this is the beginning of the end of the professional Optometric practice. I agree that creating strong “GROUPS” discussions and lobbying and keeping our practice as clinical and ethical as possible- charging professional fees on contact lens fitting, eye exams, – thats where we can have a leverage.

  6. Narendra Kumar says:

    In India – the largest democracy of the world – there is no government legislation to regulate the practice of optometry even though the discipline was introduced in the country way back in 1958. Optometry has, therefore, not progressed the way it should have been the case; courses are available ranging in duration from 2 to 4 years leading to diploma and degree qualifications respectively, and facilities are now available for education up to masters, and PhD level, but the immediate need is the up-gradation of 2-year diploma into 4-year degree courses as also the establishment of an Optometric Council. Since contact lens as a subject is not covered in the 2-year diploma curriculum, the charitable trust Eye Care India runs 2-day Contact Lens Education Program (CLEP), covering basics of contact lenses, for these professionals, and one such program was recently delivered to 51 optometrists at Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh state, organised by Optom. B. S. Rathore (rathoreeyecare@gmail.com) and his team.

  7. Keith Eldred, O.D. says:

    I was involved early in the expansion of scope of practice for Optometry. My perspective has developed over the last 30 years to see that if we are to survive and thrive, we must become in essence the internal medicine arm of eye and vision care. Ophthalmology is the surgical arm and will in all likelihood continue to be.

  8. Bob Main says:

    Overall, independent ECPs really need to get a better web presence (web site, Facebook page, monitor review sites, etc.) Consumers (your patients) are online looking for information and if you do not have a quality presence, it is a huge missed opportunity. Web properties are a great way to stay connected with patients and potential patients between exams. But most ECPs have not engaged online yet. This is the independents chance to operate on a level playing field with the big box retailers and online players. Do you practice a favor. Make a New Year’s resolution to get a better web presence!

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