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Discussion in 'Pre-Optometry' started by lanimarie, 05.07.12.


  1. Thanks to Crack the OAT
  1. lanimarie

    lanimarie

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    Pre-Optometry

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    Hello,

    I am a 29 year old mother of two who is in a career transition. I have been an optician officially for 11 years, but have actually worked in the field longer.

    My father is an optometrist. He owns a very successful private practice, and I currently work for him, doing both general opticianry and his web design and marketing. I also worked in the several of the big retail opticals as well.

    I have never been incredibly interested in optometry, preferring the patient interaction I get as an optician, and being rather hesitant to get "stuck in a dark room all day" as an optometrist. Also, I always viewed opticianry as something that I just fell into based on my father's career, and as something that I would eventually grow out of as my more artistic interests (music, painting, writing) gained momentum and I was able to earn enough income from them to phase out of eye-related professions in general.

    As I am quickly approaching 30, I find that it is time to really sit down and evaluate my life path. As much as I enjoy creativity, it just doesn't pay the bills. My children are young, and I really want to be able to provide a more stable existence for them. I am tired of just scraping by, living in a one bedroom apartment on the wrong side of the tracks, loving my artwork, but not being loved back.

    I don't mind eye-related professions, I guess I am just hesitant to get "stuck" in one thing for the rest of my life. But, as my father is starting to get older, I would be in a position to take over his thriving private practice when he retires, should I decide to pursue optometry.

    I know I can handle the school. I would just have to do all my science-y undergrad classes (my previous education focused on business and art).

    I guess I have two concerns:
    -Would entering the optometry workforce at approximately age 36 be wise, considering the built-in patient base I would eventually acquire? Or is it too "old"- too late to give me time to pay off student loans, etc.

    -Is it even a wise move to get into optometry in general? I have read so many people complaining about the over-saturation of optometry grads, and have seen many optometrists and optometry students encouraging pre-optometry students to consider dentistry or medicine instead. I would think that I would be in a better position than the average grad, considering the existing private practice, but is optometry in general going to decline enough in the future that it won't be worth it, even though I have the private practice? Should I invest my time in a different health field?

    Thanks for your time, and I appreciate any insights!
  2. Tippytoe

    Tippytoe

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    Optometrist
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Well, you will certainly have leg up on the competition by being able to walk into the old man's practice. Does he know you plan on moving in on his practice? I only ask because I've seen some horror stories with kids and parents working together. But it can work very well sometimes.

    Your age really isn't a factor except for the fact you may be paying off student loans with your social secuity checks (joking.....sorta). Your young kids will be a factor. You'll loose quite a bit of time from them being in school all day and studying all evening (unless your intellectually gifted and have a photographic memory :) like a few lucky souls I've met)

    But even so, it's certainly doable. The deciding factor in your case might be your father's practice. Is it a modern, up-to-date practice with the latest equipment treating all modes of ocular disease allowable? Or is it a flash-back optical giving eye exam in the back. BIG difference for future viablity. The former being the only one that is likely to survive.

    All things said, I'd say you have a big head-start and IF (big IF) you can keep the loans down, you have a chance at doing well. (Understanding the optical side surely helps you).

    So you gotta look at a few things: 1. Spending alot of time away from the kids (at least mentally if not physically). 2. Borrowing lots of money. 3. A great uncertain future for optometry.

    If I'm you, I'd do physician assistant (PA-C). Two years and it's a field under a desperate shortage. A few years and you're done with a guaranteed $85,000+ salary (with benefits) and a chance to advance along with a flexible lifestyle allowing you to do the more "artsy stuff" on the side.

    Good luck whatever you chose.:D
    Last edited: 05.07.12
  3. q1we3

    q1we3

    Joined:
    05.10.11
    Messages:
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    Status:
    Optometry Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    "My father is an optometrist. He owns a very successful private practice... But, as my father is starting to get older, I would be in a position to take over his thriving private practice when he retires, should I decide to pursue optometry."

    If this is true then you should be fine, go for it!
  4. lanimarie

    lanimarie

    Joined:
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    Pre-Optometry
    Tippytoe- yes, I have discussed me easing into his practice with him. That would be an awful surprise if I didn't! We currently work together, and I love working with him. He is super easy to get along with, and since he's been that way my entire life, I don't see it changing any time soon. :)

    Yes, his practice is very modern and up-to-date, although I must admit he is going into the world of a paperless office kicking and screaming!

    I know that there are other health-related occupations that are faster, such as Physicians Assistant, but I really want a career where I can, if I choose, be my own boss rather than always having to answer to a doctor.

    To be honest, I am kinda petrified by the future of optometry. If I graduate with mega-debt, and then the bottom falls out of optometry even more, then I will be no better off than where I am now, as an optician and marketing director.

    I'm not sure that medicine is really something I would want to get into, even though there is a med school in my city. The time investment makes me a bit nervous. At least with optometry, or perhaps dentistry, I am only stealing a few years from my children, rather than their whole childhood.

    ~sigh~

    Anybody want to buy a painting? :)
  5. CL Doc

    CL Doc

    Joined:
    11.22.11
    Messages:
    172
    Status:
    Optometrist
    Ignoring the finances for a moment, you've said you're not incredibly interested in optometry. Why spend four years in a difficult program to have a career in a field you are not interested in?
  6. lanimarie

    lanimarie

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    Pre-Optometry
    Well, I'm at a point in my life where I'd just like some stability.
  7. Jason K

    Jason K

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    Yikes - if that's what you're after, optometry may be the last thing you want to consider. It is anything, but a profession with a stable future.
  8. lanimarie

    lanimarie

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    Pre-Optometry

    Right- that's what I'm worried about! So what's better? Medicine? Dental? Or are all the health professions kinda dicey now?
  9. Jason K

    Jason K

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    No one on here or anywhere else can tell you what's the best career path for you, but regarding the futures of those three professions, I'd say the one with the most robustness is dentistry. All three of them are facing serious problems in the near and distant future, but for different reasons. The main downside of optometry, in my opinion, aside from all of the irreversible changes that are taking place, is the fact that it has so few options in comparison to MD/DO. You've got a lot more in the way of career paths with medicine, but it has its own set of problems to deal with and they're real. I know a few physicians who finished recently who tell prospective applicants they'd not do it over again if given the choice. I don't know a single dentist who feels that way, however. In any case, only you can decide what's best for you. Talk to as many docs as you can in all the fields you're interested in. Look at the reality of the futures of each one and make your decision based on reality, not on what you want to be true.
  10. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    Its hard to predict the future and that includes future stability. Sometimes you have to just chill out and let life take you where you need to go and you may get lucky. Dentists are up now and I know of many physicians that told me they'd rather do that instead if they could go back in time. But it wasn't always like that and it won't always be like that.
  11. Jason K

    Jason K

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    Definitely a "gen-Y" response.

    Dentists are "up" now and they'll definitely stay there relative to ODs and MDs/DOs. Once thing is for certain - ODs will NEEEEEEEEEVER be "up" again relative to either of those professions. Absolutely never.

    Never.

    Ever - ever.
  12. Shnurek

    Shnurek

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    That was told to me by the OMD I worked for, ironically :/
  13. Jason K

    Jason K

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    Still a gen-Y response.

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