Jul 24, 2009
3
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
Hi,

I'm interested in becoming an optometrist, but many people keep telling me that optometry is a dying profession, and that within my lifetime and the near future, people will go straight to eye surgery. So, optometrists will no longer be needed. I am entering my second year in undergraduate college. Has anyone else heard this rumor and what do you think? Is optometry a dying profession with increasing technology?
 
Last edited:

fonziefonz

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Dec 3, 2006
782
0
If anything, new advances in medicine and technology are actually helping the profession.
 

tam2688

tam2688
Jul 17, 2009
49
0
Chicago, IL
Status
Pre-Optometry
More people are doing lasik but optometrists must do the pre and post care for the patients. Many patients with surgeries have relapses in vision, and have to wear glasses for it. Lots of people do not have the money or may know of the complications of surgery and may decide on an optometrist. Young children with only issued of nearsighted/farsightedness will not go and do surgery but get glasses, and many of the patients over 40 who just want some reading glasses won't be doing surgery. For all those and much more, the need for optometrists will only grow, if you think about it, opthomologists and optometrists compliment one another, if more people are getting Lasik, more will need the post care provided by optometrists. If you have visited any of your optometry schools, you will see that the technology that optometrists are using now is highly advanced as well. Finally, optometrists provide services that the surgeons will not/do not provide and for those reasons optometrists will always be in some form of demand.
 

KHE

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2005
3,334
323
Status
Optometrist
Hi,

I'm interested in becoming an optometrist, but many people keep telling me that optometry is a dying profession, and that within my lifetime and the near future, people will go straight to eye surgery. So, optometrists will no longer be needed. I am entering my second year in undergraduate college. Has anyone else heard this rumor and what do you think? Is optometry a dying profession with increasing technology?
Said the same about dentists when they started putting fluoride in the water 30 years ago. Seen a lot of dentists on the bread lines lately?

Said the same thing about teachers 30 years ago when Betamax came out. No need for teachers, some people said. All your kids lessons will be on Betamax tapes and can be watched in the comfort of your own home and rewinded as many times as needed. Seen a lot of teachers on the bread lines lately?

Said the same thing about teachers when the internet got big...no need for teachers....people can just teach themselves online. In fact, there's more of a demand than ever for teachers.
 

KHE

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2005
3,334
323
Status
Optometrist
More people are doing lasik but optometrists must do the pre and post care for the patients. Many patients with surgeries have relapses in vision, and have to wear glasses for it. Lots of people do not have the money or may know of the complications of surgery and may decide on an optometrist. Young children with only issued of nearsighted/farsightedness will not go and do surgery but get glasses, and many of the patients over 40 who just want some reading glasses won't be doing surgery. For all those and much more, the need for optometrists will only grow, if you think about it, opthomologists and optometrists compliment one another, if more people are getting Lasik, more will need the post care provided by optometrists. If you have visited any of your optometry schools, you will see that the technology that optometrists are using now is highly advanced as well. Finally, optometrists provide services that the surgeons will not/do not provide and for those reasons optometrists will always be in some form of demand.
The total number of people having LASIK has grown, but the rate at which people are having it has fallen off sharply in recent years and with the recent down turn in the economy, LASIK at most centers is in a free fall. Many centers are going bankrupt or consolidating. The demand just isn't there. The pent up demand for a procedure like lasik has long since passed.
 

tam2688

tam2688
Jul 17, 2009
49
0
Chicago, IL
Status
Pre-Optometry
Said the same about dentists when they started putting fluoride in the water 30 years ago. Seen a lot of dentists on the bread lines lately?

Said the same thing about teachers 30 years ago when Betamax came out. No need for teachers, some people said. All your kids lessons will be on Betamax tapes and can be watched in the comfort of your own home and rewinded as many times as needed. Seen a lot of teachers on the bread lines lately?

Said the same thing about teachers when the internet got big...no need for teachers....people can just teach themselves online. In fact, there's more of a demand than ever for teachers.
:thumbup:
 

qwopty99

Optometrist
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 4, 2006
990
1
"Optometry" won't go away, but I think the years of getting by just as a refractionist, however, may be over.

I'd therefore try to develop a niche - like contact lenses.
 
Jul 29, 2009
5
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
Hi,

I'm interested in becoming an optometrist, but many people keep telling me that optometry is a dying profession, and that within my lifetime and the near future, people will go straight to eye surgery. So, optometrists will no longer be needed. I am entering my second year in undergraduate college. Has anyone else heard this rumor and what do you think? Is optometry a dying profession with increasing technology?

While shadowing an optometrist in my area within the past few months I've asked all the same questions. He assured me that with a good specialty (like disease) and a solid practice there is no reason to believe those rumors.
 

sevanuh06

10+ Year Member
Dec 19, 2008
4
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
Many state legislatures are currently working on/fighting over/passing laws to allow optometrists to do some simple surgeries themselves! Regardless of this, states are continuing to broaden the scope of optometry. If anything, optometry seems to be a growing field with endless opportunities and areas of expertise.
 
Aug 3, 2009
7
0
Status
Optometrist
Many state legislatures are currently working on/fighting over/passing laws to allow optometrists to do some simple surgeries themselves! Regardless of this, states are continuing to broaden the scope of optometry. If anything, optometry seems to be a growing field with endless opportunities and areas of expertise.
For the most part I agree. I would caution you on the endless opportunities. As a recent grad, I can promise you the job market was especially tough and not as lucrative as you may think!

I believe there is an oversupply of OD's.. flamesuit on.
 

hfpepperbean47

You wish you were me
10+ Year Member
Apr 10, 2007
183
0
Status
Optometry Student
600 million eyes, give or take (+) an ever-expanding population over 40 (+)an exploding population over 70 (+) increasing numbers of people with systemic conditions that require careful monitoring at least yearly = job security.

Optometry, I believe, will continue to be a thriving profession to get involved with - as long as you become a competent clinician.

I know this is a simplified answer as there are many other variables that play into the health of any profession - but vision is never going away, therefore neither will optometry.
 

KHE

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2005
3,334
323
Status
Optometrist
Many state legislatures are currently working on/fighting over/passing laws to allow optometrists to do some simple surgeries themselves! Regardless of this, states are continuing to broaden the scope of optometry. If anything, optometry seems to be a growing field with endless opportunities and areas of expertise.
Let me take this opportunity to remind everyone that scope of practice is largely irrelevant. What matters is your ability to get paid. No point in having a big scope of practice if you can't get paid.
 

captainnerd

10+ Year Member
Aug 21, 2008
504
1
Status
Optometry Student
Yes, optometry is a dying profession. In the future, humans will sense with our ears only.
 

Mike Zeus

5+ Year Member
Sep 5, 2009
22
0
31
Charleston, WV
Status
Dentist
I agree that there will always be a need for quality eye care and thus a place for optometry in the health care team. However, I have similar reservations regarding what PrivateOD has brought to light: the possibility of a flooded job market for new optometrists creating difficulties in finding quality positions. If I'm going to spend $150,000 on training for a profession, I would not like being stuck working at sub-$80k salaries for several years, assuming I'm lucky enough to even land a position.

I'm just finishing up my bachelor's in biomedical science and am trying to decide on a profession to pursue. I had always thought I wanted to be a physician, but have recently deemed the profession to likely be too demanding and stressful for me. I've looked into pharmacy and optometry as suitable alternatives. I'm leaning more toward optometry because I find it more interesting and patient interaction more rewarding. Also, optometrists can more likely own their own practices and have greater potential for growth. Or so I thought. I know it wouldn't be a problem finding a pharmacist position post-graduation. :-/

Any advice/help is appreciated. It's stressful not having a clear plan for the future.
 

KHE

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2005
3,334
323
Status
Optometrist
I agree that there will always be a need for quality eye care and thus a place for optometry in the health care team. However, I have similar reservations regarding what PrivateOD has brought to light: the possibility of a flooded job market for new optometrists creating difficulties in finding quality positions. If I'm going to spend $150,000 on training for a profession, I would not like being stuck working at sub-$80k salaries for several years, assuming I'm lucky enough to even land a position.
That's the wrong way to look at it. People spend $80000 in college getting teaching degrees and end up taking positions that pay $40000 for years. The key is to stretch out the loan payment for as long as possible.

I'm just finishing up my bachelor's in biomedical science and am trying to decide on a profession to pursue. I had always thought I wanted to be a physician, but have recently deemed the profession to likely be too demanding and stressful for me. I've looked into pharmacy and optometry as suitable alternatives. I'm leaning more toward optometry because I find it more interesting and patient interaction more rewarding. Also, optometrists can more likely own their own practices and have greater potential for growth. Or so I thought. I know it wouldn't be a problem finding a pharmacist position post-graduation. :-/

Any advice/help is appreciated. It's stressful not having a clear plan for the future.
If you haven't already spend a couple of days hanging around with pharmacists in different modes of practice (ie: traditional CVS type, hospitals, nursing homes) and spend a few days with optometrists in different practices (commercial, private, if there's a VA hospital nearby) and see what you like.

Then just pick something.
 

Commando303

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 12, 2009
911
18
Status
Hi,

I'm interested in becoming an optometrist, but many people keep telling me that optometry is a dying profession, and that within my lifetime and the near future, people will go straight to eye surgery. So, optometrists will no longer be needed. I am entering my second year in undergraduate college. Has anyone else heard this rumor and what do you think? Is optometry a dying profession with increasing technology?
"Everyone" keeps telling you, in the near future, "everyone" will "go straight to eye surgery"? That's the stupidest thing I've read in this forum in a long while. If anything, the optometrist's profession will change somewhat over time, as he or she gains some of the rights historically held only by ophthalmologists, but I doubt Lenscrafterses will be shutting down very soon (wouldn't it bite me in my ass if that particular chain happened to declare bankruptcy in a couple of months — :laugh:).
 

Commando303

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 12, 2009
911
18
Status
That's the wrong way to look at it. People spend $80000 in college getting teaching degrees and end up taking positions that pay $40000 for years. The key is to stretch out the loan payment for as long as possible.



If you haven't already spend a couple of days hanging around with pharmacists in different modes of practice (ie: traditional CVS type, hospitals, nursing homes) and spend a few days with optometrists in different practices (commercial, private, if there's a VA hospital nearby) and see what you like.

Then just pick something.
Both excellent statements.
 

SonofanOpt

5+ Year Member
Jul 31, 2009
71
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
I'm just finishing up my bachelor's in biomedical science and am trying to decide on a profession to pursue. I had always thought I wanted to be a physician, but have recently deemed the profession to likely be too demanding and stressful for me. I've looked into pharmacy and optometry as suitable alternatives. I'm leaning more toward optometry because I find it more interesting and patient interaction more rewarding. Also, optometrists can more likely own their own practices and have greater potential for growth. Or so I thought. I know it wouldn't be a problem finding a pharmacist position post-graduation. :-/
Wow you sound like me.
Just to throw something out there - my father is a Pharmacist, my mother is an Optometrist (my grandparents were also a doctor/nurse duo, and I have an uncle who is a dentist... should have opened up a one stop health care shop :rolleyes:)

Obviously, I have been afforded the luxury of observing each profession. When talking to my dad about becoming a pharmacist his response was "If you want a guaranteed job that starts off paying very well and barely increases as you continue to work there... or if you want a job where you will have to work from 9-9 on occasion, be very bored, and have to fight for your off days, become a pharmacist." Obviously this is just one person's opinion. I am sure there are many pharmacists who enjoy their job, but for me its kind of hard to get into a profession that was described to me by my father as "boring."
 

ucbsowarrior

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Mar 24, 2005
209
1
Status
Healthcare economics will reshape most healthcare fields. Most ODs will suffer or not become rich after working 20 years. 15% should do exceptionally well.

Hi,

I'm interested in becoming an optometrist, but many people keep telling me that optometry is a dying profession, and that within my lifetime and the near future, people will go straight to eye surgery. So, optometrists will no longer be needed. I am entering my second year in undergraduate college. Has anyone else heard this rumor and what do you think? Is optometry a dying profession with increasing technology?
 

blysssful

SUNY c/o 2013
10+ Year Member
Aug 9, 2007
817
5
NYC
Status
Optometry Student
Healthcare economics will reshape most healthcare fields. Most ODs will suffer or not become rich after working 20 years. 15% should do exceptionally well.
1) "Rich" is a relative term.
2) No one really knows how the health care reform will affect optometrists at this point.
3) What are you basing your estimation of 15% on?
 
Sep 19, 2009
6
0
Status
Optometrist
Hi,

I'm interested in becoming an optometrist, but many people keep telling me that optometry is a dying profession, and that within my lifetime and the near future, people will go straight to eye surgery. So, optometrists will no longer be needed. I am entering my second year in undergraduate college. Has anyone else heard this rumor and what do you think? Is optometry a dying profession with increasing technology?

Well, I wish I would have known about this forum before I applied to optometry school. The fact is, refractive surgery will not kill optometry although it has the potential to make it harder for us in some ways. Most patients don't know it when they come in asking for LASIK, but the truth is, almost everyone who gets refractive surgery will still have to rely on glasses at some point (unless they get monovision done). When presbyopia sets in, everyone needs help, whether you've had lasik or not. Accommodating implants could some day sidestep that problem, but that will not be any time soon since the expense would be enormous and it would be 50+ years before that becomes a "common" option for the general population. So - historically, ODs have made most of their income from selling glasses and contacts - that's a fact and anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves. ODs don't make much on the health side of things, although that's obviously an important part of what we do.

The real problem with optometry's future is two fold:

1) Commercial optometry is influencing private practice optometry and it's never good. Most people who go to optometry school do so with the dream of owning their own practice one day (at least in my class). Commercial optometry is driving that dream out of existence for many people. Anyone can say otherwise, but it simply is the truth. When I graduated, there was basically no hope of getting a PP job other than fill-in work or maybe 1 or 2 days/wk if I was lucky. A FT position with benefits was out of the question with anything other than Luxottica or Walmart/Sams. Like many of my classmates, I gave up and started working commercial as an independent contractor. The pay was ok, but I never thought I'd be forced into working at Target and Walmart after I graduated. I thought I'd have my pick of jobs since that's what I was told OVER AND OVER by optometry school officials. I was told "Don't go commercial, don't sell out, commercial is the evil empire!!" Then I graduated and had no other option, except commercial. Commercial optometry is expanding faster than ever and PP docs are not so it doesn't take a math wizard to see what's happening, unfortunately. I have my own practice and I do pretty well, but I can't tell you how frustrating it is when my patients take my Rx and go 2 blocks down the street to Lenscrafters to get their glasses or go online to 1800 contacts to get their SCLs. You can be the best OD on the planet, but if all your patients start buying their corrective lenses from commercial/retail chains, you'll be out of business in no time.

2) There are simply WAAAAAY too many ODs out there. All of the blame here falls on the people who continue to open private OD schools, cranking out more and more ODs into a job market which doesn't need them. At last count, there were 3 new schools opening at a time when we should be closing programs, not opening them. Ever wonder why private programs are often double or triple the size of state supported ones? Private OD schools make a fortune for themselves and have no regard for what effect the glut is having on the profession. This is where problem #2 affects problem #1. Since there are too many ODs, a huge portion of new grads are forced into going commercial after graduation, which only feeds the problem.

Please understand, I'm not dumping on optometry here. As ODs, we have a tremendous amount of knowledge and an ability to treat patients with a wide range of eye diseases/disorders. We are the main providers of primary eye care in the US. Few people know that there are areas of clinical care that ODs are actually BETTER at than ophthalmologists. That's why it's frustrating to see optometry being gutted by companies who essentially have no concern for people's eye health - they just want to sell glasses. It's getting harder and harder for me to see what's happening to my profession. Unfortunately, I don't think there is any way to correct the problem without limiting the number of ODs who enter the profession every year and also somehow combating the commercial issue. Neither of those things will happen since private schools want the money and commercial chains want even more than money, they want the profession.

I'm not going to tell you not to go to optometry school. I'm not even going to say that you won't be able to be happy as an OD. It's just likely that your goals and dreams as an OD will have to be adjusted. I don't hate what I do. I like my job more or less, but it's not at all what I expected when I was in school. The sad truth is, you can make a good living as an OD for Lenscrafters or Pearle Vision and the fact that it is so tempting, especially for new grads, is hurting the profession. You won't ever be rich and you won't have your autonomy, but it's a decent paycheck. I don't know about you, but when I signed up for school, I never dreamed I'd have that as part of my future, but it was. That being said, there are still some people who make it happen, but you have to be willing to maybe set up shop in a place that doesn't have a lot of ODs or MDs - that usually means rural. If you're willing to live far away from a major city, you probably could do pretty well. Commercials usually don't want to go there and I know of some fairly large, successful rural practices in places like Alaska and Texas. Just know that while there are many successful private practices out there right now, it's getting harder and harder for new guys to start up. 20 years from now, optometry will be very different from what it is today, and most likely not in a good way.

If I could do it all over, I'd look at professions that are not heavily influenced by practitioner gluts and/or commercial enterprises. If you can deal with feet or mouths, I'd go podiatry or dental. Neither has any commercial influences (yet) and as far as I know, there aren't any excess practitioners in either field. Both also pay roughly twice what optometry pays, not that that is the primary factor, but it's real and should be considered, particularly when you leave school with 150K to 200K in debt.

Sorry to be such a downer, but I saw your post and it made me think about what might have happened differently if I had some of the knowledge that I just shared with you. I think I would definitely have looked at some other paths. Please know that the school officials who court you during the application process will probably be blowing sunshine where it doesn't belong for your whole first year. If I could have a "sit-down" with my school's president who basically lied through his teeth during our 1st year welcome speech, I'd have a few words for him. If you're really set on optometry, then go for it, just understand exactly what you're getting into before you sign on the dotted line. Good luck....

Dr. L
 
Sep 19, 2009
6
0
Status
Optometrist
Hi,

I'm interested in becoming an optometrist, but many people keep telling me that optometry is a dying profession, and that within my lifetime and the near future, people will go straight to eye surgery. So, optometrists will no longer be needed. I am entering my second year in undergraduate college. Has anyone else heard this rumor and what do you think? Is optometry a dying profession with increasing technology?

Well, I wish I would have known about this forum before I applied to optometry school. The fact is, refractive surgery will not kill optometry although it has the potential to make it harder for us in some ways. Most patients don't know it when they come in asking for LASIK, but the truth is, almost everyone who gets refractive surgery will still have to rely on glasses at some point (unless they get monovision done). When presbyopia sets in, everyone needs help, whether you've had lasik or not. Accommodating implants could some day sidestep that problem, but that will not be any time soon since the expense would be enormous and it would be 50+ years before that becomes a "common" option for the general population. So - historically, ODs have made most of their income from selling glasses and contacts - that's a fact and anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves. ODs don't make much on the health side of things, although that's obviously an important part of what we do.

The real problem with optometry's future is two fold:

1) Commercial optometry is influencing private practice optometry and it's never good. Most people who go to optometry school do so with the dream of owning their own practice one day (at least in my class). Commercial optometry is driving that dream out of existence for many people. Anyone can say otherwise, but it simply is the truth. When I graduated, there was basically no hope of getting a PP job other than fill-in work or maybe 1 or 2 days/wk if I was lucky. A FT position with benefits was out of the question with anything other than Luxottica or Walmart/Sams. Like many of my classmates, I gave up and started working commercial as an independent contractor. The pay was ok, but I never thought I'd be forced into working at Target and Walmart after I graduated. I thought I'd have my pick of jobs since that's what I was told OVER AND OVER by optometry school officials. I was told "Don't go commercial, don't sell out, commercial is the evil empire!!" Then I graduated and had no other option, except commercial. Commercial optometry is expanding faster than ever and PP docs are not so it doesn't take a math wizard to see what's happening, unfortunately. I have my own practice and I do pretty well, but I can't tell you how frustrating it is when my patients take my Rx and go 2 blocks down the street to Lenscrafters to get their glasses or go online to 1800 contacts to get their SCLs. You can be the best OD on the planet, but if all your patients start buying their corrective lenses from commercial/retail chains, you'll be out of business in no time.

2) There are simply WAAAAAY too many ODs out there. All of the blame here falls on the people who continue to open private OD schools, cranking out more and more ODs into a job market which doesn't need them. At last count, there were 3 new schools opening at a time when we should be closing programs, not opening them. Ever wonder why private programs are often double or triple the size of state supported ones? Private OD schools make a fortune for themselves and have no regard for what effect the glut is having on the profession. This is where problem #2 affects problem #1. Since there are too many ODs, a huge portion of new grads are forced into going commercial after graduation, which only feeds the problem.

Please understand, I'm not dumping on optometry here. As ODs, we have a tremendous amount of knowledge and an ability to treat patients with a wide range of eye diseases/disorders. We are the main providers of primary eye care in the US. Few people know that there are areas of clinical care that ODs are actually BETTER at than ophthalmologists. That's why it's frustrating to see optometry being gutted by companies who essentially have no concern for people's eye health - they just want to sell glasses. It's getting harder and harder for me to see what's happening to my profession. Unfortunately, I don't think there is any way to correct the problem without limiting the number of ODs who enter the profession every year and also somehow combating the commercial issue. Neither of those things will happen since private schools want the money and commercial chains want even more than money, they want the profession.

I'm not going to tell you not to go to optometry school. I'm not even going to say that you won't be able to be happy as an OD. It's just likely that your goals and dreams as an OD will have to be adjusted. I don't hate what I do. I like my job more or less, but it's not at all what I expected when I was in school. The sad truth is, you can make a good living as an OD for Lenscrafters or Pearle Vision and the fact that it is so tempting, especially for new grads, is hurting the profession. You won't ever be rich and you won't have your autonomy, but it's a decent paycheck. I don't know about you, but when I signed up for school, I never dreamed I'd have that as part of my future, but it was. That being said, there are still some people who make it happen, but you have to be willing to maybe set up shop in a place that doesn't have a lot of ODs or MDs - that usually means rural. If you're willing to live far away from a major city, you probably could do pretty well. Commercials usually don't want to go there and I know of some fairly large, successful rural practices in places like Alaska and Texas. Just know that while there are many successful private practices out there right now, it's getting harder and harder for new guys to start up. 20 years from now, optometry will be very different from what it is today, and most likely not in a good way.

If I could do it all over, I'd look at professions that are not heavily influenced by practitioner gluts and/or commercial enterprises. If you can deal with feet or mouths, I'd go podiatry or dental. Neither has any commercial influences (yet) and as far as I know, there aren't any excess practitioners in either field. Both also pay roughly twice what optometry pays, not that that is the primary factor, but it's real and should be considered, particularly when you leave school with 150K to 200K in debt.

Sorry to be such a downer, but I saw your post and it made me think about what might have happened differently if I had some of the knowledge that I just shared with you. I think I would definitely have looked at some other paths. Please know that the school officials who court you during the application process will probably be blowing sunshine where it doesn't belong for your whole first year. If I could have a "sit-down" with my school's president who basically lied through his teeth during our 1st year welcome speech, I'd have a few words for him. If you're really set on optometry, then go for it, just understand exactly what you're getting into before you sign on the dotted line. Good luck....

Dr. L
 
Sep 19, 2009
6
0
Status
Optometrist
Hi,

I'm interested in becoming an optometrist, but many people keep telling me that optometry is a dying profession, and that within my lifetime and the near future, people will go straight to eye surgery. So, optometrists will no longer be needed. I am entering my second year in undergraduate college. Has anyone else heard this rumor and what do you think? Is optometry a dying profession with increasing technology?
Well, I wish I would have known about this forum before I applied to optometry school. The fact is, refractive surgery will not kill optometry although it has the potential to make it harder for us in some ways. Most patients don't know it when they come in asking for LASIK, but the truth is, almost everyone who gets refractive surgery will still have to rely on glasses at some point (unless they get monovision done). When presbyopia sets in, everyone needs help, whether you've had lasik or not. Accommodating implants could some day sidestep that problem, but that will not be any time soon since the expense would be enormous and it would be 50+ years before that becomes a "common" option for the general population. So - historically, ODs have made most of their income from selling glasses and contacts - that's a fact and anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves. ODs don't make much on the health side of things, although that's obviously an important part of what we do.

The real problem with optometry's future is two fold:

1) Commercial optometry is influencing private practice optometry and it's never good. Most people who go to optometry school do so with the dream of owning their own practice one day (at least in my class). Commercial optometry is driving that dream out of existence for many people. Anyone can say otherwise, but it simply is the truth. When I graduated, there was basically no hope of getting a PP job other than fill-in work or maybe 1 or 2 days/wk if I was lucky. A FT position with benefits was out of the question with anything other than Luxottica or Walmart/Sams. Like many of my classmates, I gave up and started working commercial as an independent contractor. The pay was ok, but I never thought I'd be forced into working at Target and Walmart after I graduated. I thought I'd have my pick of jobs since that's what I was told OVER AND OVER by optometry school officials. I was told "Don't go commercial, don't sell out, commercial is the evil empire!!" Then I graduated and had no other option, except commercial. Commercial optometry is expanding faster than ever and PP docs are not so it doesn't take a math wizard to see what's happening, unfortunately. I have my own practice and I do pretty well, but I can't tell you how frustrating it is when my patients take my Rx and go 2 blocks down the street to Lenscrafters to get their glasses or go online to 1800 contacts to get their SCLs. You can be the best OD on the planet, but if all your patients start buying their corrective lenses from commercial/retail chains, you'll be out of business in no time.

2) There are simply WAAAAAY too many ODs out there. All of the blame here falls on the people who continue to open private OD schools, cranking out more and more ODs into a job market which doesn't need them. At last count, there were 3 new schools opening at a time when we should be closing programs, not opening them. Ever wonder why private programs are often double or triple the size of state supported ones? Private OD schools make a fortune for themselves and have no regard for what effect the glut is having on the profession. This is where problem #2 affects problem #1. Since there are too many ODs, a huge portion of new grads are forced into going commercial after graduation, which only feeds the problem.

Please understand, I'm not dumping on optometry here. As ODs, we have a tremendous amount of knowledge and an ability to treat patients with a wide range of eye diseases/disorders. We are the main providers of primary eye care in the US. Few people know that there are areas of clinical care that ODs are actually BETTER at than ophthalmologists. That's why it's frustrating to see optometry being gutted by companies who essentially have no concern for people's eye health - they just want to sell glasses. It's getting harder and harder for me to see what's happening to my profession. Unfortunately, I don't think there is any way to correct the problem without limiting the number of ODs who enter the profession every year and also somehow combating the commercial issue. Neither of those things will happen since private schools want the money and commercial chains want even more than money, they want the profession.

I'm not going to tell you not to go to optometry school. I'm not even going to say that you won't be able to be happy as an OD. It's just likely that your goals and dreams as an OD will have to be adjusted. I don't hate what I do. I like my job more or less, but it's not at all what I expected when I was in school. The sad truth is, you can make a good living as an OD for Lenscrafters or Pearle Vision and the fact that it is so tempting, especially for new grads, is hurting the profession. You won't ever be rich and you won't have your autonomy, but it's a decent paycheck. I don't know about you, but when I signed up for school, I never dreamed I'd have that as part of my future, but it was. That being said, there are still some people who make it happen, but you have to be willing to maybe set up shop in a place that doesn't have a lot of ODs or MDs - that usually means rural. If you're willing to live far away from a major city, you probably could do pretty well. Commercials usually don't want to go there and I know of some fairly large, successful rural practices in places like Alaska and Texas. Just know that while there are many successful private practices out there right now, it's getting harder and harder for new guys to start up. 20 years from now, optometry will be very different from what it is today, and most likely not in a good way.

If I could do it all over, I'd look at professions that are not heavily influenced by practitioner gluts and/or commercial enterprises. If you can deal with feet or mouths, I'd go podiatry or dental. Neither has any commercial influences (yet) and as far as I know, there aren't any excess practitioners in either field. Both also pay roughly twice what optometry pays, not that that is the primary factor, but it's real and should be considered, particularly when you leave school with 150K to 200K in debt.

Sorry to be such a downer, but I saw your post and it made me think about what might have happened differently if I had some of the knowledge that I just shared with you. I think I would definitely have looked at some other paths. Please know that the school officials who court you during the application process will probably be blowing sunshine where it doesn't belong for your whole first year. If I could have a "sit-down" with my school's president who basically lied through his teeth during our 1st year welcome speech, I'd have a few words for him. If you're really set on optometry, then go for it, just understand exactly what you're getting into before you sign on the dotted line. Good luck....

Dr. L
 
Sep 19, 2009
6
0
Status
Optometrist
Hi,

I'm interested in becoming an optometrist, but many people keep telling me that optometry is a dying profession, and that within my lifetime and the near future, people will go straight to eye surgery. So, optometrists will no longer be needed. I am entering my second year in undergraduate college. Has anyone else heard this rumor and what do you think? Is optometry a dying profession with increasing technology?

Well, I wish I would have known about this forum before I applied to optometry school. The fact is, refractive surgery will not kill optometry although it has the potential to make it harder for us in some ways. Most patients don't know it when they come in asking for LASIK, but the truth is, almost everyone who gets refractive surgery will still have to rely on glasses at some point (unless they get monovision done). When presbyopia sets in, everyone needs help, whether you've had lasik or not. Accommodating implants could some day sidestep that problem, but that will not be any time soon since the expense would be enormous and it would be 50+ years before that becomes a "common" option for the general population. So - historically, ODs have made most of their income from selling glasses and contacts - that's a fact and anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves. ODs don't make much on the health side of things, although that's obviously an important part of what we do.

The real problem with optometry's future is two fold:

1) Commercial optometry is influencing private practice optometry and it's never good. Most people who go to optometry school do so with the dream of owning their own practice one day (at least in my class). Commercial optometry is driving that dream out of existence for many people. Anyone can say otherwise, but it simply is the truth. When I graduated, there was basically no hope of getting a PP job other than fill-in work or maybe 1 or 2 days/wk if I was lucky. A FT position with benefits was out of the question with anything other than Luxottica or Walmart/Sams. Like many of my classmates, I gave up and started working commercial as an independent contractor. The pay was ok, but I never thought I'd be forced into working at Target and Walmart after I graduated. I thought I'd have my pick of jobs since that's what I was told OVER AND OVER by optometry school officials. I was told "Don't go commercial, don't sell out, commercial is the evil empire!!" Then I graduated and had no other option, except commercial. Commercial optometry is expanding faster than ever and PP docs are not so it doesn't take a math wizard to see what's happening, unfortunately. I have my own practice and I do pretty well, but I can't tell you how frustrating it is when my patients take my Rx and go 2 blocks down the street to Lenscrafters to get their glasses or go online to 1800 contacts to get their SCLs. You can be the best OD on the planet, but if all your patients start buying their corrective lenses from commercial/retail chains, you'll be out of business in no time.

2) There are simply WAAAAAY too many ODs out there. All of the blame here falls on the people who continue to open private OD schools, cranking out more and more ODs into a job market which doesn't need them. At last count, there were 3 new schools opening at a time when we should be closing programs, not opening them. Ever wonder why private programs are often double or triple the size of state supported ones? Private OD schools make a fortune for themselves and have no regard for what effect the glut is having on the profession. This is where problem #2 affects problem #1. Since there are too many ODs, a huge portion of new grads are forced into going commercial after graduation, which only feeds the problem.

Please understand, I'm not dumping on optometry here. As ODs, we have a tremendous amount of knowledge and an ability to treat patients with a wide range of eye diseases/disorders. We are the main providers of primary eye care in the US. Few people know that there are areas of clinical care that ODs are actually BETTER at than ophthalmologists. That's why it's frustrating to see optometry being gutted by companies who essentially have no concern for people's eye health - they just want to sell glasses. It's getting harder and harder for me to see what's happening to my profession. Unfortunately, I don't think there is any way to correct the problem without limiting the number of ODs who enter the profession every year and also somehow combating the commercial issue. Neither of those things will happen since private schools want the money and commercial chains want even more than money, they want the profession.

I'm not going to tell you not to go to optometry school. I'm not even going to say that you won't be able to be happy as an OD. It's just likely that your goals and dreams as an OD will have to be adjusted. I don't hate what I do. I like my job more or less, but it's not at all what I expected when I was in school. The sad truth is, you can make a good living as an OD for Lenscrafters or Pearle Vision and the fact that it is so tempting, especially for new grads, is hurting the profession. You won't ever be rich and you won't have your autonomy, but it's a decent paycheck. I don't know about you, but when I signed up for school, I never dreamed I'd have that as part of my future, but it was. That being said, there are still some people who make it happen, but you have to be willing to maybe set up shop in a place that doesn't have a lot of ODs or MDs - that usually means rural. If you're willing to live far away from a major city, you probably could do pretty well. Commercials usually don't want to go there and I know of some fairly large, successful rural practices in places like Alaska and Texas. Just know that while there are many successful private practices out there right now, it's getting harder and harder for new guys to start up. 20 years from now, optometry will be very different from what it is today, and most likely not in a good way.

If I could do it all over, I'd look at professions that are not heavily influenced by practitioner gluts and/or commercial enterprises. If you can deal with feet or mouths, I'd go podiatry or dental. Neither has any commercial influences (yet) and as far as I know, there aren't any excess practitioners in either field. Both also pay roughly twice what optometry pays, not that that is the primary factor, but it's real and should be considered, particularly when you leave school with 150K to 200K in debt.

Sorry to be such a downer, but I saw your post and it made me think about what might have happened differently if I had some of the knowledge that I just shared with you. I think I would definitely have looked at some other paths. Please know that the school officials who court you during the application process will probably be blowing sunshine where it doesn't belong for your whole first year. If I could have a "sit-down" with my school's president who basically lied through his teeth during our 1st year welcome speech, I'd have a few words for him. If you're really set on optometry, then go for it, just understand exactly what you're getting into before you sign on the dotted line. Good luck....

Dr. L
 
Sep 19, 2009
6
0
Status
Optometrist
Hi,

I'm interested in becoming an optometrist, but many people keep telling me that optometry is a dying profession, and that within my lifetime and the near future, people will go straight to eye surgery. So, optometrists will no longer be needed. I am entering my second year in undergraduate college. Has anyone else heard this rumor and what do you think? Is optometry a dying profession with increasing technology?

Well, I wish I would have known about this forum before I applied to optometry school. The fact is, refractive surgery will not kill optometry although it has the potential to make it harder for us in some ways. Most patients don't know it when they come in asking for LASIK, but the truth is, almost everyone who gets refractive surgery will still have to rely on glasses at some point (unless they get monovision done). When presbyopia sets in, everyone needs help, whether you've had lasik or not. Accommodating implants could some day sidestep that problem, but that will not be any time soon since the expense would be enormous and it would be 50+ years before that becomes a "common" option for the general population. So - historically, ODs have made most of their income from selling glasses and contacts - that's a fact and anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves. ODs don't make much on the health side of things, although that's obviously an important part of what we do.

The real problem with optometry's future is two fold:

1) Commercial optometry is influencing private practice optometry and it's never good. Most people who go to optometry school do so with the dream of owning their own practice one day (at least in my class). Commercial optometry is driving that dream out of existence for many people. Anyone can say otherwise, but it simply is the truth. When I graduated, there was basically no hope of getting a PP job other than fill-in work or maybe 1 or 2 days/wk if I was lucky. A FT position with benefits was out of the question with anything other than Luxottica or Walmart/Sams. Like many of my classmates, I gave up and started working commercial as an independent contractor. The pay was ok, but I never thought I'd be forced into working at Target and Walmart after I graduated. I thought I'd have my pick of jobs since that's what I was told OVER AND OVER by optometry school officials. I was told "Don't go commercial, don't sell out, commercial is the evil empire!!" Then I graduated and had no other option, except commercial. Commercial optometry is expanding faster than ever and PP docs are not so it doesn't take a math wizard to see what's happening, unfortunately. I have my own practice and I do pretty well, but I can't tell you how frustrating it is when my patients take my Rx and go 2 blocks down the street to Lenscrafters to get their glasses or go online to 1800 contacts to get their SCLs. You can be the best OD on the planet, but if all your patients start buying their corrective lenses from commercial/retail chains, you'll be out of business in no time.

2) There are simply WAAAAAY too many ODs out there. All of the blame here falls on the people who continue to open private OD schools, cranking out more and more ODs into a job market which doesn't need them. At last count, there were 3 new schools opening at a time when we should be closing programs, not opening them. Ever wonder why private programs are often double or triple the size of state supported ones? Private OD schools make a fortune for themselves and have no regard for what effect the glut is having on the profession. This is where problem #2 affects problem #1. Since there are too many ODs, a huge portion of new grads are forced into going commercial after graduation, which only feeds the problem.

Please understand, I'm not dumping on optometry here. As ODs, we have a tremendous amount of knowledge and an ability to treat patients with a wide range of eye diseases/disorders. We are the main providers of primary eye care in the US. Few people know that there are areas of clinical care that ODs are actually BETTER at than ophthalmologists. That's why it's frustrating to see optometry being gutted by companies who essentially have no concern for people's eye health - they just want to sell glasses. It's getting harder and harder for me to see what's happening to my profession. Unfortunately, I don't think there is any way to correct the problem without limiting the number of ODs who enter the profession every year and also somehow combating the commercial issue. Neither of those things will happen since private schools want the money and commercial chains want even more than money, they want the profession.

I'm not going to tell you not to go to optometry school. I'm not even going to say that you won't be able to be happy as an OD. It's just likely that your goals and dreams as an OD will have to be adjusted. I don't hate what I do. I like my job more or less, but it's not at all what I expected when I was in school. The sad truth is, you can make a good living as an OD for Lenscrafters or Pearle Vision and the fact that it is so tempting, especially for new grads, is hurting the profession. You won't ever be rich and you won't have your autonomy, but it's a decent paycheck. I don't know about you, but when I signed up for school, I never dreamed I'd have that as part of my future, but it was. That being said, there are still some people who make it happen, but you have to be willing to maybe set up shop in a place that doesn't have a lot of ODs or MDs - that usually means rural. If you're willing to live far away from a major city, you probably could do pretty well. Commercials usually don't want to go there and I know of some fairly large, successful rural practices in places like Alaska and Texas. Just know that while there are many successful private practices out there right now, it's getting harder and harder for new guys to start up. 20 years from now, optometry will be very different from what it is today, and most likely not in a good way.

If I could do it all over, I'd look at professions that are not heavily influenced by practitioner gluts and/or commercial enterprises. If you can deal with feet or mouths, I'd go podiatry or dental. Neither has any commercial influences (yet) and as far as I know, there aren't any excess practitioners in either field. Both also pay roughly twice what optometry pays, not that that is the primary factor, but it's real and should be considered, particularly when you leave school with 150K to 200K in debt.

Sorry to be such a downer, but I saw your post and it made me think about what might have happened differently if I had some of the knowledge that I just shared with you. I think I would definitely have looked at some other paths. Please know that the school officials who court you during the application process will probably be blowing sunshine where it doesn't belong for your whole first year. If I could have a "sit-down" with my school's president who basically lied through his teeth during our 1st year welcome speech, I'd have a few words for him. If you're really set on optometry, then go for it, just understand exactly what you're getting into before you sign on the dotted line. Good luck....

Dr. L
 

OD4eyes

PCO c/o 2014
Jul 31, 2009
111
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
1) Commercial optometry is influencing private practice optometry and it's never good.
2) There are simply WAAAAAY too many ODs out there.
Sorry to be such a downer, but I saw your post and it made me think about what might have happened differently if I had some of the knowledge that I just shared with you. I think I would definitely have looked at some other paths. Please know that the school officials who court you during the application process will probably be blowing sunshine where it doesn't belong for your whole first year. If I could have a "sit-down" with my school's president who basically lied through his teeth during our 1st year welcome speech, I'd have a few words for him. If you're really set on optometry, then go for it, just understand exactly what you're getting into before you sign on the dotted line. Good luck....

Dr. L[/QUOTE]

I do agree with most of what is said. That is why I advise you to shadow private optometrists and ask questions. I did work for a corporate optical before and I hated it. The doctor was a brand new OD from PCO and was getting her foot in the door. She did everything which included dilations, refractions, selling glasses and at times answering phones. I could tell that she felt pressured to be fast and sell $500 glasses.
It is difficult to become an private OD when places like Cohen's or Walmart offer free exams with the purchase of glasses or free contacts. Not to mention, most of the time, the refractions at these places is like take out; FAST, CHEAP, and UNHEALTHY. The problem with corporate opticals is that they diminsh the true value of the profession. That is why private doctors suffer. They are forced to lower exam fees in fear of losing patients to the evils that is corporate optometry. This devalues thier practice and degrades the value of their expertise. In my opinion you get what you pay for. :cool:
I work for an independent doctor of Lenscrafters, which far better from my experience at Cohen's. The doctor and his staff handles everything expect for the sale of glasses. It has its benefits and downsides. We charge patients the way all private ODs should and we do NOT FEEL SORRY. The major problem with private ODs is charging patients. Their will always be that one patient to complain and compare prices without considering the services. From my experience, the worst patients are NYS plans from eyemed... they except everything to be free. If you ever open a practice, make sure that you have a strong staff that is able to communicate to patients properly regarding their insurance and fees. The most important rule to keep in mind is that the DOCTOR SHOULD NOT BE THE ONE TAKING PAYMENT FROM THE PATIENT; your staff is responsible for charing and recieving payments. NEVER ASSOCIATE THE DOCTOR WITH MONEY!
Well, hope this helps you. Remember you have to really want it and be willingly to make sacrifices. Optometry is a awarding profession. It is profession that you have to be ready to committ your life to because it requires constant education and changes are being made. Best of luck to you! :)
 
Sep 19, 2009
6
0
Status
Optometrist
Hey everyone,

I'm not sure why my response was posted seven hundred times! The site kept freezing when I hit the submit button and I didn't know it was actually posting when I thought it wasn't. Just didn't want everyone to think I was doing that for effect or something. Sorry to waste the virtual web space! Best of luck again to the OP.

Dr. L
 

Eyed

10+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2009
28
0
Status
Well, I wish I would have known about this forum before I applied to optometry school. The fact is, refractive surgery will not kill optometry although it has the potential to make it harder for us in some ways. Most patients don't know it when they come in asking for LASIK, but the truth is, almost everyone who gets refractive surgery will still have to rely on glasses at some point (unless they get monovision done). When presbyopia sets in, everyone needs help, whether you've had lasik or not. Accommodating implants could some day sidestep that problem, but that will not be any time soon since the expense would be enormous and it would be 50+ years before that becomes a "common" option for the general population. So - historically, ODs have made most of their income from selling glasses and contacts - that's a fact and anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves. ODs don't make much on the health side of things, although that's obviously an important part of what we do.

The real problem with optometry's future is two fold:

1) Commercial optometry is influencing private practice optometry and it's never good. Most people who go to optometry school do so with the dream of owning their own practice one day (at least in my class). Commercial optometry is driving that dream out of existence for many people. Anyone can say otherwise, but it simply is the truth. When I graduated, there was basically no hope of getting a PP job other than fill-in work or maybe 1 or 2 days/wk if I was lucky. A FT position with benefits was out of the question with anything other than Luxottica or Walmart/Sams. Like many of my classmates, I gave up and started working commercial as an independent contractor. The pay was ok, but I never thought I'd be forced into working at Target and Walmart after I graduated. I thought I'd have my pick of jobs since that's what I was told OVER AND OVER by optometry school officials. I was told "Don't go commercial, don't sell out, commercial is the evil empire!!" Then I graduated and had no other option, except commercial. Commercial optometry is expanding faster than ever and PP docs are not so it doesn't take a math wizard to see what's happening, unfortunately. I have my own practice and I do pretty well, but I can't tell you how frustrating it is when my patients take my Rx and go 2 blocks down the street to Lenscrafters to get their glasses or go online to 1800 contacts to get their SCLs. You can be the best OD on the planet, but if all your patients start buying their corrective lenses from commercial/retail chains, you'll be out of business in no time.

2) There are simply WAAAAAY too many ODs out there. All of the blame here falls on the people who continue to open private OD schools, cranking out more and more ODs into a job market which doesn't need them. At last count, there were 3 new schools opening at a time when we should be closing programs, not opening them. Ever wonder why private programs are often double or triple the size of state supported ones? Private OD schools make a fortune for themselves and have no regard for what effect the glut is having on the profession. This is where problem #2 affects problem #1. Since there are too many ODs, a huge portion of new grads are forced into going commercial after graduation, which only feeds the problem.

Please understand, I'm not dumping on optometry here. As ODs, we have a tremendous amount of knowledge and an ability to treat patients with a wide range of eye diseases/disorders. We are the main providers of primary eye care in the US. Few people know that there are areas of clinical care that ODs are actually BETTER at than ophthalmologists. That's why it's frustrating to see optometry being gutted by companies who essentially have no concern for people's eye health - they just want to sell glasses. It's getting harder and harder for me to see what's happening to my profession. Unfortunately, I don't think there is any way to correct the problem without limiting the number of ODs who enter the profession every year and also somehow combating the commercial issue. Neither of those things will happen since private schools want the money and commercial chains want even more than money, they want the profession.

I'm not going to tell you not to go to optometry school. I'm not even going to say that you won't be able to be happy as an OD. It's just likely that your goals and dreams as an OD will have to be adjusted. I don't hate what I do. I like my job more or less, but it's not at all what I expected when I was in school. The sad truth is, you can make a good living as an OD for Lenscrafters or Pearle Vision and the fact that it is so tempting, especially for new grads, is hurting the profession. You won't ever be rich and you won't have your autonomy, but it's a decent paycheck. I don't know about you, but when I signed up for school, I never dreamed I'd have that as part of my future, but it was. That being said, there are still some people who make it happen, but you have to be willing to maybe set up shop in a place that doesn't have a lot of ODs or MDs - that usually means rural. If you're willing to live far away from a major city, you probably could do pretty well. Commercials usually don't want to go there and I know of some fairly large, successful rural practices in places like Alaska and Texas. Just know that while there are many successful private practices out there right now, it's getting harder and harder for new guys to start up. 20 years from now, optometry will be very different from what it is today, and most likely not in a good way.

If I could do it all over, I'd look at professions that are not heavily influenced by practitioner gluts and/or commercial enterprises. If you can deal with feet or mouths, I'd go podiatry or dental. Neither has any commercial influences (yet) and as far as I know, there aren't any excess practitioners in either field. Both also pay roughly twice what optometry pays, not that that is the primary factor, but it's real and should be considered, particularly when you leave school with 150K to 200K in debt.

Sorry to be such a downer, but I saw your post and it made me think about what might have happened differently if I had some of the knowledge that I just shared with you. I think I would definitely have looked at some other paths. Please know that the school officials who court you during the application process will probably be blowing sunshine where it doesn't belong for your whole first year. If I could have a "sit-down" with my school's president who basically lied through his teeth during our 1st year welcome speech, I'd have a few words for him. If you're really set on optometry, then go for it, just understand exactly what you're getting into before you sign on the dotted line. Good luck....

Dr. L




Dr. L,

I decided to choose the path of optometry somewhere between my freshman and sophomore year of undergrad. In the beginning I became caught up with the overly praised profession of becoming an optometrist. I chose it mostly because it was one of the few professions in the health field that would allow me to develop patient relationships as well as a healthy relationship with my family. However, after shadowing several optometrists and reading threads (like these) it really worries me and questions what I'm getting myself into. The first optometrist I shadowed graduated from UHCO, and was one of the few people I knew that got a 400 on their OAT. When I shadowed her practice, it was not what I had envisioned. Her patient schedule was pretty empty, consisting of 3 or 4 patients on the weekdays. She talked to me about commercial optometrists devaluing the quality of optometry. I've met optometrists who recently graduated and couldn't find a job outside of commercial opticals. I've also met optometrists who could only find positions 1-2 days/week. I currently work for a private practice and it really infuriates me when patients assume that everything is covered under insurance. Do these people not understand that optometrists undergo a 4 year graduate program that costs anywhere from 200-300 thousand dollars?!?! These people don't treat optometrists as actual doctors. If you tell a patient that their CAT scan is going to cost thousands of dollars, there are no questions asked. If you tell a patient that their 120 dollar contact lens fit is not covered under insurance they turn belligerent.

Anyhow, it's just really disheartening because in the back of my mind I am actually really worried about my future. It is obvious that optometry is over saturated now, but what will happen in the future? Everytime I read threads like this I try my best to push it into another corner of my mind and concentrate on how much of myself I've sacrificed to apply for optometry school. All the time shadowing, working, studying for the OAT, money spent on classes, Kaplan, OPTOMCAS, supplementals. The thing is, I know that in the long run the money that I've spent is miniscule, and the time it would take me to switch to another profession like dentistry (1-2 yrs) is nothing when compared to a life long career. But honestly, I'm 22... I want to move on with my life... I want to be enrolled in a graduate profession and make my parents proud. Anyway, I'm just ranting... just thought I'd like to put in my two cents on the whole situation.
 

OD4eyes

PCO c/o 2014
Jul 31, 2009
111
0
Status
Pre-Optometry
If you tell a patient that their 120 dollar contact lens fit is not covered under insurance they turn belligerent.

Anyhow, it's just really disheartening because in the back of my mind I am actually really worried about my future. It is obvious that optometry is over saturated now, but what will happen in the future? Everytime I read threads like this I try my best to push it into another corner of my mind and concentrate on how much of myself I've sacrificed to apply for optometry school. All the time shadowing, working, studying for the OAT, money spent on classes, Kaplan, OPTOMCAS, supplementals. The thing is, I know that in the long run the money that I've spent is miniscule, and the time it would take me to switch to another profession like dentistry (1-2 yrs) is nothing when compared to a life long career. But honestly, I'm 22... I want to move on with my life... I want to be enrolled in a graduate profession and make my parents proud. Anyway, I'm just ranting... just thought I'd like to put in my two cents on the whole situation.[/QUOTE]

I'm 22 and I too worry about my future in optometry. However, I have thrown myself so deep in the profession that I truly do not see myself doing anything else with my life. I have considered other career paths and really do not know how happy they will make me.
I wish things were different in the sense that insurances and even patients do no always value the services given by the optometrist. I have worked for a private OD for 2 years and have seen quite a few ignorant patients with silly questions: Isn't the exam free? Why you don't take my insurance? It doesn't cover contacts? Yet these patients come in wearing name brand apparel and still complain about the fees.
It is really hard to say where optometry will be in 10 years from. Things are be done to protect the future of optometry.

Are you an optometry student? I am sure whatever you decide, you will make the right decision and be happy.
 

KHE

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2005
3,334
323
Status
Optometrist
Dr. L,

The first optometrist I shadowed graduated from UHCO, and was one of the few people I knew that got a 400 on their OAT. When I shadowed her practice, it was not what I had envisioned. Her patient schedule was pretty empty, consisting of 3 or 4 patients on the weekdays. She talked to me about commercial optometrists devaluing the quality of optometry. I've met optometrists who recently graduated and couldn't find a job outside of commercial opticals. I've also met optometrists who could only find positions 1-2 days/week.
How are these people searching for positions? A word to the wise.....do not use online listings to search for positions in this field, particularly quality positions.

I currently work for a private practice and it really infuriates me when patients assume that everything is covered under insurance. Do these people not understand that optometrists undergo a 4 year graduate program that costs anywhere from 200-300 thousand dollars?!?!
Patients don't give a crap how long you went to school or how much it cost you.

If you tell a patient that their CAT scan is going to cost thousands of dollars, there are no questions asked. If you tell a patient that their 120 dollar contact lens fit is not covered under insurance they turn belligerent.
I disagree. Many patients forego CT scans, other tests, and medications because of costs. If your patients are turning belligerent, there's something wrong with your office and/or your staff. My contact lens fees are a lot higher than that and people don't bitch.

But honestly, I'm 22... I want to move on with my life... I want to be enrolled in a graduate profession and make my parents proud. Anyway, I'm just ranting... just thought I'd like to put in my two cents on the whole situation.
Don't do things to make your parents proud. That's a recipe for disaster.


You mentioned earlier in your posting about patients wearing name brand apparel balking at fees for contact lenses. These same people who won't pay for your time and expertise are perfectly willing to shell out hundreds of dollars at Abercrombie? Why?

Thing about this for a second.....this was discussed on another forum.

A while ago, Joshua Bell, the violin virtuoso performed a very difficult piece with the Boston Symphony. Every ticket was sold out and the cheapest seats in the house were well over $100 a ticket. Of course, he gave a brilliant performance and was given a standing ovation. For this, he was paid $60000, or about a thousand dollars a minute.

3 days later, he performed the exact same symphony in a Washington DC subway station. Few people stopped to notice this world class musician playing some of the greatest music ever written on one of the most incredible violins ever made, a Stradivarius. At the end of the hour, he had collected just over $32.

Now.....for the sake of a discussion on here.....what does that story mean to you all?
 
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Eyed

10+ Year Member
Mar 23, 2009
28
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"Patients don't give a crap how long you went to school or how much it cost you."


I'm not saying that I wish the patients were more empathetic.. or "gave a crap" about loans from school or the number of years I've spent... What I am saying is that most students come out with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt, and there is a real problem for future optometrists if patients are not willing to spend a dime for an eye exam while tuition fees are rising every year.


"I disagree. Many patients forego CT scans, other tests, and medications because of costs. If your patients are turning belligerent, there's something wrong with your office and/or your staff. My contact lens fees are a lot higher than that and people don't bitch."

Well congratulations if you're patients don't "bitch". You are very lucky that you do not have to deal with incompetent patients who do not understand their insurance benefits. I do not think there is anything wrong with the office or the rest of the staff. The office makes over a million a year, sells very high end glasses and is located in downtown Chicago. The staff is very close, many of them working here for over 10 years and have served many Chicagoan celebrities such as Oprah and Mrs. Jordan.


"You mentioned earlier in your posting about patients wearing name brand apparel balking at fees for contact lenses. These same people who won't pay for your time and expertise are perfectly willing to shell out hundreds of dollars at Abercrombie? Why?"

I didn't mention anything about Abercrombie.


Are you seriously an optometrist?? judging from your language you sound more like an overly dramatic teenager than a professional eye care health provider.
 

BlackHawk77

5+ Year Member
Sep 24, 2009
19
0
Status
Hi,

I'm interested in becoming an optometrist, but many people keep telling me that optometry is a dying profession, and that within my lifetime and the near future, people will go straight to eye surgery. So, optometrists will no longer be needed. I am entering my second year in undergraduate college. Has anyone else heard this rumor and what do you think? Is optometry a dying profession with increasing technology?
Many LASIK surgeons are either wearing glasses or contact lenses.
 

KHE

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2005
3,334
323
Status
Optometrist
I'm not saying that I wish the patients were more empathetic.. or "gave a crap" about loans from school or the number of years I've spent... What I am saying is that most students come out with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt, and there is a real problem for future optometrists if patients are not willing to spend a dime for an eye exam while tuition fees are rising every year.
So again....why do you think that patients are willing to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on clothes, TVs, vacations etc. but not on contact lens expertise in your office?



"
Well congratulations if you're patients don't "bitch". You are very lucky that you do not have to deal with incompetent patients who do not understand their insurance benefits. I do not think there is anything wrong with the office or the rest of the staff. The office makes over a million a year, sells very high end glasses and is located in downtown Chicago. The staff is very close, many of them working here for over 10 years and have served many Chicagoan celebrities such as Oprah and Mrs. Jordan.
Oh trust me, I've practiced in offices where people bitch a lot. And I'm not saying that people never complain in my office. But we just explain their coverage, explain the fees and they have a choice: See us, or go elsewhere. It's great that the office makes over a million dollars a year but if it's the type of office that's catering to Oprah, then maybe it should stick to catering to Oprah rather than worrying about and dealing with people who bitch about contact lens fees.


"
I didn't mention anything about Abercrombie.
I never said you did. I quoted your post complaining that people were wearing name brand clothing (I just threw out Abercrombie as an example) and yet complaining about contact lens fees. So I'll ask again.....why do you think these same people are willing to spend hundreds of dollars for a hoodie made in China or Vietnam, but not on contact lens expertise from a trained professional?

"
Are you seriously an optometrist?? judging from your language you sound more like an overly dramatic teenager than a professional eye care health provider.
lol. Ok.
 

KHE

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Jun 14, 2005
3,334
323
Status
Optometrist
i read all the way to the bottom of this and then lost track of the topic. ;)

KHE,
i am just wondering how long you have been an optometrist? the tones of your post are kind of bitter, is this the result of years of putting up with the profession? just wonderin'
Coming up on 10 years now. Not bitter....just trying to help you all avoid the multitude of mistakes that I and many of my cohorts made. Unfortunately, I see many of the same attitudes and thought processes going on in this forum that I had all those years ago.
 
Nov 9, 2009
2
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Status
It's just unfortunate that students with such good scores are still applying to optometry schools...it is such a waste, I would say invest your time, money and energy and go to medical school...or do a masters and make the same income if not more. Optometry is dying and unfortunatelly there are more schools taking money from good students and putting them in a lot of debt, which is hard to recover with the amount you make when you graduate. Teh supporters of optometry are those who had enough money to start their own business and mak it with the help of their parents who were already doctors. It makes me so angry tht OD schools are still advertising this profession to be what it is not. They put you through hellish four years of school and then you get out and realise your scope of practice is so limited, everything you learnt is a total waste!!!
 

blysssful

SUNY c/o 2013
10+ Year Member
Aug 9, 2007
817
5
NYC
Status
Optometry Student
It's just unfortunate that students with such good scores are still applying to optometry schools...it is such a waste, I would say invest your time, money and energy and go to medical school...or do a masters and make the same income if not more. Optometry is dying and unfortunatelly there are more schools taking money from good students and putting them in a lot of debt, which is hard to recover with the amount you make when you graduate. Teh supporters of optometry are those who had enough money to start their own business and mak it with the help of their parents who were already doctors. It makes me so angry tht OD schools are still advertising this profession to be what it is not. They put you through hellish four years of school and then you get out and realise your scope of practice is so limited, everything you learnt is a total waste!!!
:barf:

Go spread your negativity elsewhere.
 

Arctic

PCO Class of 2014
Aug 16, 2009
200
0
Status
Optometry Student
:barf:

Go spread your negativity elsewhere.

I couldn't agree more blysssful. It IS important for students to have a realistic understanding of what they are getting themselves into; this holds true for optometry as well as med. school. But the outlandish level of negativity in a few of these posts is ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!