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Competiveness of Optometry

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by richmond_repn, Nov 14, 2005.

  1. richmond_repn

    richmond_repn Member
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    Hey guys I go to UBC in Vancouver, BC Canada. I have been looking at Optometry schools more specifically Pacific, and the one in Chicago and some other ones. I was wondering how competitve is it to get into Optometry. I know this is a broad question, but does anyone know what kind of stats people have gotten into with at Chicago and Pacific. Thanks for your time
     
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  3. ariel winter

    ariel winter Senior Member
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    hello. glad to hear another person interested in this GREAT profession! i think optometry is quite a competitive field to get into... close to pharmacy and dentistry in most parts of the states. i think the average gpa of accepted applicants in recent years has been somewhere between 3.3-3.4. the standard of applicants is only increasing as people are beginning to realize the potential of optometry. my optometrist predicts that within 10 years optometry will be VERY hard to get into... much like pharmacy is in canada. i agree. many people say optometry right now is a "hidden gem" because not too many people know about it and how rewarding it is... this will not be true for long - the gem will be discovered... it already has begun with a 30% increase in applicants from last year in several schools. apply asap if you really feel passionate about it, as it is only getting more competitive. :)
     
  4. xmattODx

    xmattODx Senior Member
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    http://www.opted.org/info_profile2.cfm

    And I couldn't disagree more with this:

     
  5. richmond_repn

    richmond_repn Member
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    thank you both very much for your help. Just so you know pharmacy isnt that difficult to get into Canada. UBC is considered hard and I know of a handful of people who got in with 65% averages. As far as pharmacy and dentistry in the states, I also think they arent that hard to get into, because of the number of schools they have there. Thank you also for the link.
     
  6. richmond_repn

    richmond_repn Member
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  7. ariel winter

    ariel winter Senior Member
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    yup, you are absolutely correct. and yeah, i know people who got into pharmacy and dentistry schools with much lower gpa's than those who got rejected from od schools! i am not saying this is always the case (of course not, as pharmacy and dentistry are still VERY competitive fields of study), but i think it just shows the trend of optometry getting more competitive. good luck! :thumbup:

     
  8. Katalio

    Katalio SDN Angel
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    Wohoo..another UBCer,
    I went to UBC and yeah..UBC is damn hard! -_-
    If you have any Q..u can pm me

    Cheerz,

    katalio
     
  9. Its so nice to hear that other schools are ridiculously hard. I go to UAB and it sucks... we are having finals right now (we are on a quarterly system), so I'm a little jaded.
     
  10. xmattODx

    xmattODx Senior Member
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  11. gsinccom

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    for XMattODx......

    And I couldn't disagree more with this:


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ariel winter
    close to pharmacy and dentistry in most parts of the states...
    my optometrist predicts that within 10 years optometry will be VERY hard to get into...
    optometry right now is a "hidden gem" because not too many people know about it and how rewarding it is... this will not be true for long - the gem will be discovered...



    curious as to why you couldn't disagree more xMattODx?
     
  12. ariel winter

    ariel winter Senior Member
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    i would like an explanation too! :)
     
  13. xmattODx

    xmattODx Senior Member
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    DISCLAIMER: Optometry is, of course, a health profession, and therefore, all decisions made in optometry should be evidence based. The following post has no concrete evidence in it. It is at best anecdotal and at worst is a rant.


    Optometry, for many new grads, is a terrible profession. The opportunities present upon graduation are minimal. The majority of my students wanted to practice “medical optometry”. They thought they could hang out their shingle and would be greeted by a plethora of patients dying to have their ocular disease treated by an optometrist. Many of those students are now working commercial. Some are in private practice. Few are making the bulk of their money treating ocular disease.

    As these new grads become more and more frustrated with the profession they will influence potential students to avoid optometry. They will say: “The end result is not worth the debt.”

    If, on the other hand, optometry makes a huge shift into medical treatment we will lose our bread and butter – refraction, optical sales, etc. Is this bad? Not really but we have too many ODs to support everyone doing medical optometry. Opticians will fill our refractive shoes and do a good job. Few people will go blind. We will quickly become unnecessary.

    What does this mean? I doubt optometry will ever get to the point that it is overly competitive. If you have the grades you’ll get into a school somewhere. There are too many private schools that need your tuition. A 30% increase in applicants? Probably a reflection of the economy – I’m sure most health professions have seen an equal increase in applicants.

    Should you go to optometry school? Yes. It is a neat profession but go in with realistic expectations. You will not be solely a disease practitioner. You will refract. Most of you will do commercial optometry at least for a little while. You won’t graduate and have a booming practice just because you opened the door. You will work hard and you will enjoy yourself. Don’t go into optometry if you need scope change to do what you desire. If you won’t enjoy optometry as it is now find something else to do!
     
  14. vtrain

    vtrain Senior Member
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    Well, said. Most of my friends in opto school are now working for commercial establishments (about 85%). The private practice jobs are out there, but they are few and far between. Most people who are in private practice now, had some sort of family or friend connection prior to starting optometry school. 90% of your patients will be refractive in nature - that is the bottom line. Sometimes, you may get the occaisionaly red eye, but more often than not, they will go to an ophtho or their GP. You may pick up a glaucoma suspect, or AMD, but lets face it, you're almost never going to manage those patients - you most often will refer. The cases you read in the Review of Optometry, while they are pretty flashy, you will hardly see many of these cases. If you are in optometry for the "medical" aspect, you will be sorely disappointed.

    With that said, I believe there is an upswing in application into opto - it seems to have started a few years a ago. Applications tend to work in cycles and it looks like we are on an upswing. Bottom line, optometry is good, stable, respectable profession that at the end of the day will pay the bills, send your kids to college and allow you to enjoy your hobbies without being overly stressful and time consuming. Do I recommend going into opto right now? Sure. But make sure you job shadow first and really find out what the day to day of optos entails.
     
  15. gsinccom

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    XMattODx thank you for your insights and vtrain too. I am interested if you two could tell your stories of where you are in the optometry profession now and how you got there and what your future goals are. I've shadowed many optometrists and hopefully will start OD school Fall 2007. When I've shadowed I've heard the same things as you've told me, especially from younger ODs that have been out 5-10 years. They all seem to say it is rough to get going, on the other hand, most of them now are doing well 5-10 years after getting started and enjoy it. I guess the question I have is how will I fare when I'm getting started 6 years or so from now. Will I, like yourself and others I know have done, still be able to have a good opportunity to put in my time/hard work and hope to eventually establish myself?

    I agree that likely an OD won't make the money a DDS makes or have the prestige an MD/DO has or the job security a PharmD has. That being said from everything I've found out it still seems like a good profession to go into.

    As far as opticians taking over the refraction industry. that has been addressed various times on this forum and I'll admit it scares me but the likelihood of that happening, as mentioned by many, seems vary small. (I also see the debt burden as a significant factor. That is why I keep saying PharmD is becoming very appealing. However I've chosen OD and feel good about it and will make it as a successful OD and be happy with my choice!)

    thanks again
     
  16. ucbsowarrior

    ucbsowarrior Senior Member
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    Two great post! I'll have to second these two! The majority of you won't have the business acumen or well rounded intelligence to properly analyze the industry....even after you graduate. Most of the will succumb to corporate optometry or hmo's as you won't have half the clue of how to make a private practice succeed. Anyone can do the construction on the office and put up a few frames...but that is not building a practice. However, at the same time I don't want to make too many blanket statements. In the end a lot has to do with which part of the country you practice in. If it is underserved greatly you'll have a easier time, but if you go into a very competitive market and don't do your homework...you're going to be toast.

    I think the best thing a student can do is have a very experienced mentor who can give them proper advice. Most schools are a form of a mentor, but then again most school do a horrible job at preparing students for some of the non-clinical challenges they may face after they graduate....so just find your own mentor, an experienced od. Many of the clinical instructors at school are just a joke when it comes to practice management, b/c they haven't built any successful practices in very competitive environments in the past 5-10 years. Ya, sure some of the older guys built some stuff 30 years ago. Hello??? Things are different now! The challenges are different! Many clinical instructors don't have the tools or the know-how to teach you what befalls you and those that do have the skills usually won't teach you.


    As a side note. If you are a current graduate with decent grades and you can't find a job and live near a school. You're in luck! Schools always like academically smart od's that can't make good coin, b/c they will hire you for a pittance relative to industry standards. Then when the students ask you why you chose to teach, you can tell them how much you love teaching them, instead of saying the truth....that you couldn't find or build any great opportunities for yourself. For those that fall into these shoes, get a life, get real and be honest to the students. (There are exceptions where young od's really want to teach for a reduced pay, but those are far and few inbetween.)

    The optometry industry is like the entertainment business. Many aspiring actors and actresses goto hollywood to become famous. Some become stars, but many more end up waiting tables, working in nightclubs or staring in adult films. The irony of life is often all too sad.

    The od's that really know what they are doing in any COMPETITIVE market should make atleast $120,000+ five years out of school, but a lot depends on the path you have chosen. The rest of you are just 'waiting tables and producing b-flicks!'

    It's been another happy day for ucbsowarrior :thumbup:
     
    #15 ucbsowarrior, Nov 16, 2005
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014
  17. gsinccom

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    thanks warrior, always enlightening. what about your guys' thoughts on my post XMattODx and vtrain?
     
  18. eyestrain

    eyestrain Member
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    Best post ever. :D
     
  19. vtrain

    vtrain Senior Member
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    XMattODx thank you for your insights and vtrain too. I am interested if you two could tell your stories of where you are in the optometry profession now and how you got there and what your future goals are.

    Currently in second year medical school after having practiced very briefly. Never wanted to do medicine until a 4th year rotation convinced me otherwise as I fell in love with surgeries and the depth of clinical decision making involved with many of the patients I encountered during my rotation. Hoping to land a ophtho residency in 2008 and then maybe a retinal fellowship?? Who knows. Would eventually like to do academia and be adjunct at an optometry school to retain my roots.

    I've shadowed many optometrists and hopefully will start OD school Fall 2007. When I've shadowed I've heard the same things as you've told me, especially from younger ODs that have been out 5-10 years. They all seem to say it is rough to get going, on the other hand, most of them now are doing well 5-10 years after getting started and enjoy it. I guess the question I have is how will I fare when I'm getting started 6 years or so from now. Will I, like yourself and others I know have done, still be able to have a good opportunity to put in my time/hard work and hope to eventually establish myself?

    It's really hard to predict the market 5-6 years from now but tentatively I say yes. I tend to have a less glib outlook than xmattODx but his level of experience is beyond mine. Chances are you will work for a commercial practice or an HMO when you get out. My friend who graded from a UC school is currently working at KP and it took him 6 months to be able to get a FT position at 90K plus some nice benefits seeing 20 patients a day (busy!!). During your opto school years, or even prior, if you can work for a (private) practice and establish some connections for when you grad, you can be set as I have another friend who took over a retiring docs 4 lane practice in an ideal location in irvine and now is set. My friend out in CT is two years out and affectionately calls the state the "land o milk and honey for optometry." She's doing commercial, clearing 110K, and gets new job offers, she says, about twice a month (she's not looking to move anytime soon though). The bottom line is yes you will be able to find a job but perhaps not in your ideal location or setting, unless of course you decide to open cold (which zero ppl in my class have done). A lot really depends on your location, the proximity of ophthos, # of other opto in competition with you


    I agree that likely an OD won't make the money a DDS makes or have the prestige an MD/DO has or the job security a PharmD has. That being said from everything I've found out it still seems like a good profession to go into.

    Don't worry about prestige or respect. As you get older, you realize it's all crap anyways. Be more concerned with job security and steady income flow, which optometry provides. One good thing about this profession is that you can become your own boss, of which there is alot of stability in being in that position (relatively speaking of course :))I sure as hell didn't sign myself up for another 4+ years of school and at 3+ of residency for the "respect." Just make sure you love what you do.
     
  20. gsinccom

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    vtrain thanks a bunch! I agree on the prestige comment. I am talking about what an outsider might think. could you expound a bit on the "depth of clinical decision making" and if this influenced your leaving optometry for the MD route? Also what do UC, KP and CT stand for? thanks again.
    XMattODx your thoughts?
     
  21. xmattODx

    xmattODx Senior Member
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    I am currently a full time student at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. I also work for a commercial practice ($29 eye exams! Woo Hoo!) and Child Sight (a division of Helen Keller International) (Free "refractions" in inner city schools! Woo Hoo!) I will graduate this May with an MPH in Global Health with the goal of working for an NGO doing development work (ideally including eye care but not necessary).

    I graduated in 2002 (but it seems a lot longer than that). I lived in Washington State for two years where I worked up to 3 jobs at a time. Mostly commercial but I was driving 1 to 2 hours each way to get to a private practice for awhile. I have taught optometry students (Vision therapy mainly) - despite what ucbsowarrier says I think I had something to add to the students' education - but I did do it mainly because I couldn't find anything else worthwhile.

    My wife is also an OD and our goal is to move back west and buy a practice for her. I'll work their part-time as well.

    I'm sure you'll be able to find something you enjoy doing. One of my main goals in posting on these forums is to ensure students aren't blind to the realities of optometry. It isn't as easy as the schools say. Odds are you will work commercial at least part-time for some time. Odds are you won't be a disease specialist. Even if you do a residency. Odds are you will never do surgery of any kind (nor should you.)

    I think Optometry can be a great profession. I hate commercial optometry but it has afforded me the opportunity to go to school. I wasn't prepared to settle down right out of school so I couldn't open my own practice and commercial provided me the ability to pay my bills and live more than comfortably. I reallly think that optometry can be rewarding but at the same time if you are unlucky you can be miserable. Sometimes commercial is the only thing available and that gets old quick. (At the same time there are levels of commercial Lenscrafters>Walmart>America's best and so on)


    I don't think that opticians are a big concern provided optometry takes a break on scope expansion. Work harder at national licensure, and parity between the states rather than pushing scope expansion.

    I'm not entirely familiar with pharmacy but I think they have their own problems. Debt is debt. You're going to be in debt no matter what you do. Even with debt you'll be making far more than most in this country. You'll live more than comfortably. If optometry is what you want to do. Do it. Just go in knowing what may happen at the end.

    Now I have a mid-term to do, and a presentation to prepare for!
     
  22. xmattODx

    xmattODx Senior Member
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    I'll speak for vtrain:

    UC = university of California
    KP = Kaiser Permanente (an HMO)
    CT = Connecticut
     
  23. prettygreeneyes

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    Amen! The opinion of the general public should not matter when choosing how to spend the rest of your life! Do it because you love optometry, or be an MD because you love medicine. In the end... if you have earned the respect of the patients you serve, of your loved ones, and of yourself... you should have all the "prestige" you need!
     
  24. ariel winter

    ariel winter Senior Member
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    YOU SAID IT prettygreeneyes! :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

     
  25. ucbsowarrior

    ucbsowarrior Senior Member
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    i'm going to make some pretty sketchy predictions and assumptions....and might even offend some people...i just like seeing how accurate i am...Who, me offend people? What's this world coming too! :eek:

    to xmattodx: i respect xmattodx from what he has put forth. he deals with the realities that befall him. he has become more analytical with time, as he matures. he believes in vision therapy and that is a good thing as long as it is based on proven methods. i'm always happy to hear when there are those that teach good vt. most of the kookie vt guys will be the guys that don't teach at institutions. there's plenty of nuts out there. luckily matt doesn't sound like one of them....however, he sounds mildly resentful as to how the field is and is a little more jaded than back in opto school. opto school matt, good memories right? probably some of the best times for him, but the fat lady had to sing. now optometry is too boring for him. even if opto school didn't prepare him for the industry it did give him the opportunity to meet a loving and supportive wife, but matt is not a business person. he's too nice. he has good advice for students, but doesn't have enough experience to mentor 4th year students....as he is still learning himself. school will buy him and his wife time to learn more about the profession. question for matt? would you have done opto school over again? or would you have taken a different path. :rolleyes:

    vtrain: sounds like a guy who's highly academic and wants to see the profession progress, but understands the limitations of optometry. he's an idealist that will most likely be contributing to opto/ophth journals in the future. although he mentions that 'repect' is nothing, it is very important that he is respected within his field. if he is a smart cookie, he'll have an advantage in gettting a retinal fellowship, since he's an od. if he establishes an expertise his future should be bright. vtrain: a question i have is if you went back in time, would you go straight into md school?...the next question is how much harded is md school relative to od school? :scared:

    Was I totally off?
     
  26. HOLLYWOOD

    HOLLYWOOD Senior Member
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    well I agree with xmattodx, and I have 9 years of experience and three practices. so i must say you are off base.
     
  27. Ben Chudner

    Ben Chudner Senior Member
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    Out of curiosity, when did you graduate ucbsowarrior? You have some very interesting obervations, so it would be interesting to know if you had these right out of school or did it take years to become this way.
     
  28. romanh

    romanh Junior Member

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    Some good info people...

    Hey Hollywood, it sounds like ur successful. I am wondering what school did u go to and how long after graduation from opt school that u bought ur first practice? How many hrs. do u work now? Thanks in advance..

    Another Q is what state r ur practices.


     
  29. vtrain

    vtrain Senior Member
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    By 'depth of clinical decision making' I mean the cases that you are presented with as an ophtho are more complex. As a primary care optometrist, if you detect a glaucoma suspect, 9/10 optos will refer to their local ophtho or glauc specialist and that will be the end of that encounter with that particular patient. However, as the ophth you are responsible for managing the patient ie doing/monitoring visual fields, adjusting medication and dosages based on clinical findings, determing when and doing the surgeries for IOP control when indicated. While initial patient care and being the astute clinician who initiated the referral is gratifying, that wasn't enough for me and I soon realized that I didn't want my patient contact to end at the referral. I wanted to manage the patient myself.

    See, alot of people don't want this responsibility and this partly is what makes optometry a fairly low stress job. You always have that safety net and the ability (and often obligation) to refer. You don't have to assume the final responsibility of the patient. Now, some may find this a positive point in the profession, while others may find it restrictive and fustrating. I was the later. I wanted to do more for my patients and was willing to take on the added respoinsibility.

    And the real question is, will I regret this decision as a intern when I'm working 80hr weeks and $150K in debt? I guess time will tell ;)
     
  30. vtrain

    vtrain Senior Member
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    By respect, I mean respect from strangers and casual aquaintances - this type of respect is fleeting and should mean very little. However, respect from your colleagues, patients, family and close friends is definitely important as they know the QUALITY of your work and what you actually do for the most part.

    No , I wouldn't go back in time and change things. Opto school was one of the best times of my life.

    MD school is much harder than OD school, simply by the sheer volume of material. However the material in OD school is conceptually more difficult. Any monkey can eventually memorize the classical complement pathway, but trying to figure out the 4th order aberration of blah, blah, blah in optics is completely another task. But if there's one thing that you should know is that MD school is also waaaaay overated. Hell, somedays I think medicine itself is waaaay overated.
     
  31. Opii

    Opii Senior Member
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    Hey Homies,
    ucbsowarrior sometimes gets shy (yea right) and doesn't answer questions directed at him. So I'll take a guess... He's been in the business about 20 years. ;)
     
  32. xmattODx

    xmattODx Senior Member
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    Wow where do I start? I'm going to ignore the tone of the questions and give ucbsowarrior the benefit of the doubt despite the demeaning and unprofessional manner (s)he addresses those on this forum.

    Would I do optoemtry school again? Yes, in a heartbeat. It was what I needed to get where I am today. I enjoy optometry.

    Was optometry school the best time of my life? Yes and no. Life does nothing but get better.

    Can I be a good buisness person? Yes.
    Will I have a successful practice? Time will tell.

    I've never said I don't like optometry. I've never said optometry is too boring. I could go into my life story that will explain why I'm at public health school but that is beyond the scope of this thread. If you think optometry is boring imagine epidemiology and biostatistics. Snoooze!

    I won't go into the VT comments because they are unwarranted and ucbsowarrior is looking for a fight. I did have a lot to add to my students education. I could mentor fourth year students. I am still learning. I expect to still be learning 35 years from now.
     
  33. Ben Chudner

    Ben Chudner Senior Member
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    This is not always the case. A lot of general OMD's practice what amounts to optometry with the ability to perform cataract surgery. The truth is that there just isn't as much disease in general private practice (either OD or MD) as you would think there is. Those that specialize in areas such as glaucoma, retina, neuro, etc will definitely see more complex cases, but remember a lot of these will have also been referred by general OMD's.
    I am not sure where you got this stat from, but I can assure that 90% of OD's are not referring glaucoma suspects. This may be true in a state like California where the glaucome legislation has made it difficult to get certified, but this is not the rule. Aside from California docs, most of the OD's I know manage their glaucoma patients. The only time they choose to refer is when they cannot get control of the pressure and they want a second opinion on whether or not a surgical tx is indicated.
    I disagree with this statement. While it is true ultimately OD's can refer difficult cases, I do not believe that most do not want the responsibility. I am sure there are docs out there that prefer not to have to worry about difficult management decisions, but again I do not believe this is the norm.
     
  34. HOLLYWOOD

    HOLLYWOOD Senior Member
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  35. rpie

    rpie Senior Member
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    I can agree with the amount of volume of material that is presented; however I still think that an OD student can handle what any med. School can dish out.

    In our practice about 90% of our Ocular disease in treated in house. (Mostly glaucoma Tx and AMD monitoring) We may get 1-2 foreign body removals a month, and the occasional patient that is upset with his PCP for putting them on “drops for his red eye” which made it worse. Of the10% that we do not treat, 5-7% are co-managed with OMD sub-specialists so we still see them at lease once a year because, depending on their condition, the patient usually needs to be monitored, q 6 months, so the patient sees either the OMD or us every 6 months. The rest are the complex cases that are best suited for the Sub-specialists. As far as Cataract patients, we do the pre and post-op work, and after the surgery is finished the patient returns for their primary eye care.


    OPII …that’s about as long as I’ve been out…OMG I think I’m getting OLD :scared:


    Matt, I think doing VT/children’s vision is a big advantage for you. There is a 3 doctor VT/Behavior OD group practice across the street form ours whom we refer to and have a great working relationship. They are very busy, booked 3 weeks in advanced. Being in practice with your spouse allows you a lot of flexibility and advantages that is unique to a married couple. I think if you and your wife manage your practice right you will do very well. :thumbup:
     
  36. Elfego Baca

    Elfego Baca Junior Member
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    The best advice I can give optometry students is to spend less time worrying about learning ocular disease (other than to pass classes and boards) and spend more time learning to refract quickly (and hopefully, accurately). It's also good to learn about ophthalmic materials and frame adjusting should you end up with your own practice. You're delusional if you think you're going to make much use of all the disease-related curriculum that you've stuffed into your head -- unless you practice in a place so far from civilization that no self-respecting ophthalmologist would want to live there. For most OD's anywhere near civilization, optometry is dial-spinning and selling frames -- and the younger you are, the faster you have to spin.
     
  37. gsinccom

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    Elfego Baca - are you an OD and currently practicing or an undergrad researching medical/health careers? what is your background...i.e. your qualifications?
     
  38. Ben Chudner

    Ben Chudner Senior Member
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    Scary advice :wow:
     
  39. Elfego Baca

    Elfego Baca Junior Member
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    I'm an OD practicing in a large urban area. I know a fair number of younger OD's, and most of them work at commerical optometric places like Wal-Mart, shlocky private practices, or with OMD's (most of whom just want someone to refract and/or fit contact lenses). There are a few OMD's who hire optometrists with the idea of having them do full-scope optometry, but there aren't a lot of these jobs around. There are some good private practices that might hire a younger doctor, but even at these practices there isn't a lot of ocular pathology walking in the door. The vast majority of patients in these practices have relatively young, healthy eyes and VSP, and come in every year or two to have their glasses checked. It's not like there's a march of CRVO's and retinal detachments coming through the door.
     
  40. gsinccom

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    what type of practice are you in? how long have you been practicing?
     
  41. 4Eyes

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    Are you serious? o_O

    *bites tongue*
     
  42. Ben Chudner

    Ben Chudner Senior Member
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    I agree with your last sentence. There is not a march of CRVO's and retinal detachments comming through the door, but there is a bigger issue that even you point out. There are a lot of younger OD's in commercial places and shlocky private practices. These are the ones that focus mainly on refractive eye exams. I am not going to say that corporate docs are not as good as private practice docs, but the truth is that due to the nature of those settings, the main focus is on refraction. Because they are either forced into or choose to perform refractive eye exams, most of their patients will never see them as more than the guy that gives them an Rx. I have witnessed two corporate docs leave that setting and go into private practices (separate from each other) in the same town. Their patients did not followed them. They stayed at the corporate location. To those patients price means more than a quality eye exam. The problem with your advice, Elfego Baca, is that you cannot have a successful private practice by focusing on refraction. The competition has us beat in optical. You can and should have an optical, but I believe the most successful OD's in the country have gone to a medical model. That doesn't mean all they see is medical exams, but they are maximizing how much they bill for procedures rather than focusing on selling glasses. You cannot do that by spending less time focusing on ocular disease.
     
  43. Opii

    Opii Senior Member
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    NO way!

    I was guessing UCSBOWarrior was 20 years out because I read in another forum how someone called UCSBO graduated in 1983, but that may be another person all together different, I was trying to spark a response. ahh well, we'll just have to deal with the mystery of who the warrior is. ... but one thing I know, homie isn't a real homie :p Talks tough but his experience gives him away. :laugh:
     
  44. HOLLYWOOD

    HOLLYWOOD Senior Member
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    i have a private practice most of my pts. come to see me for glasses and cls. a few come for medical problems. when they due have ocular dz. i treat it and bill as much as possible. i have alot of equipment(ant seg camara,retinal camara, topography, visual field ect.) so i try to use it as much as possible,but if they don't have disease i can't bill. i would say 10% of my gross comes from dz. tx.. but in my practice it's not uncommon to have a $1000 sale so that may skew the numbers.
     
  45. sco1styear

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    That's the problem...everyone is trying to practice in the same spots or types of spots.
     
  46. Elfego Baca

    Elfego Baca Junior Member
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    I couldn't agree more with what you say. I think there's a limited amount of private OD's that can pull this off in a large urban setting due to the competition from OMD's. Much easier to practice this way in a rural area. For the young docs, odds are they're not going to wind up in this type of practice early on. Maybe I should not have even mentioned ophthalmics and just advised learning to refract well, because that's what most of them will be doing early on, at least until they find better jobs or take the plunge and try to do the medical model -- but good luck doing it from scratch in an urban area. If you have a parent to hand you a practice or some $$$ resources, you have a much better chance of practicing the way you want.
     
  47. Ben Chudner

    Ben Chudner Senior Member
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    I think you are dead on acurate.

    There is a big problem in optometry. We are graduating a lot of new docs every year with a bunch of debt. Most private OD's cannot afford to pay a new doc $100K to start because they are just not that busy. It takes time to build up a practice to support that kind of salary. So until the new doc gets busy enough, owners want to pay in the $60-70K range. That results in a lot of new grads going into corporate offices because there are a lot more opportunities and they promise more money. Most new grads think they will be a "doc in a box" for a couple of years to pay off debt and then go into private practice. The problem with that is the OD's still only want to pay a new associate $60-70K. It's hard to go from $100-120K to $60-70K, so they end up staying in the box.
     
  48. gsinccom

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    how could somebody plan, if this is what it takes, well enough to avoid ever going into corporate optometry then?
     
  49. Hines302

    Hines302 Senior Member
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    I know Ohio State University has a whole curriculum built around Practice Management. In fact at my interview we watched a 15 minute video exactly describing the problem that Mr. Chudner pointed out. They state that they realized this problem about 5 years and as a result have inserted about 8 or so business course into their program. In fact, they even bring over Business Professors from OSU's Fisher College of Business to teach a lot of these courses... in an effort to steer graduates away from retail optometry... and give them the tools they need to be successful in private practice. They really tried to drive this point home both when I visited the school and when I interviewed there. They said this type of program was unique to OSU.

    I know it sounds good on paper... (i know i don’t do it justice)... but if it actually works is a different story.

    This is one of the main reasons I am considering OSU. The problem is that I would be about 30K more in debt after the 4 years than if I went to my instate school (MCO). OSU is a great school as well... and even offers a combined OD/MS program that I would love to take advantage of. The only problem is trying to figure out if its worth the extra 30K in debt??? Any advice??
     
  50. Ben Chudner

    Ben Chudner Senior Member
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    Do not allow yourself to be lured by the promise of $100K right out of school. You will make less going into private practice in the beginning, but if you are successful and can eventually own a practice, you will make more in the long run. That being said, there are not as many opportunities in private practice as there are in corporate. Regardless of what anyone says, with the current amount of OD's graduating every year, there will always be those that end up in a corporate setting. Is this a bad thing? Who knows. All I know is that it's the reality of our profession.
     
  51. Elfego Baca

    Elfego Baca Junior Member
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    My advice is to try and come out of optometry school with as little debt as possible. If that means going to the cheapest school rather than one with a "better reputation" (which is in the eye of the beholder), then go to the cheapest one (or at least one of the cheaper ones, if there still are any). There isn't that much difference between the schools to warrant a huge difference in price. Another way to keep debt lower is to try and work during optometry school, though that takes away from study and socializing time.

    Just about no one who might hire you is going to care where you got your O.D. degree from, and once you have a practice or are working in one your patients certainly won't care either. If you are ashamed of where you went (highly doubtful), you can always keep your diploma in the back room.

    The other options are to be born rich, or marry someone who makes a lot of money. The main thing is that you want to have options like buying a house or condo, decent car, and maybe a practice (or starting one). Your options are fewer if you're making loan payments for 10 - 30 years after graduation.
     

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