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vasquez32

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I have been surfing the web and have been reading alot about oversupply of optometrist. Is it true or not? (does anybody know any web sites where they show optometrists by region?). What about current average salary in the state of Texas?
 

abs1

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I'll give you my take on the infamous "OD-Oversupply" debate, Antonio:

I have had the same concern in the past and have talked to many OD's about it. Here's what I learned, and take it with a grain of salt. The fact is, if you ask many or most (note, not all) PRIVATE practice OD's they will tell you that there ARE too many OD's. :( On the other hand, if you ask most of the SCHOOLS of optometry they will tell you that there are NOT too many ODs. :) And my experience is that CORPORATE OD's are mixed in their opinions. :confused: All give specific examples.

All sides clearly respond to this question based on their position and how it benefits or hurts them...private OD's want less competition and schools want more students and more tuition. What is the truth???...quite simply,I dont know. :rolleyes:

The best I can come up with is that it may depend on where and how you would like to practice optometry? The fact is that it is hard to find a town or city that doesnt have a bunch of OD's let alone a bunch of chains here and there (read: everywhere!). But that doesnt mean that there arent places to start your own practice and that you cant get a job at one of those chains (TomOD is shuddering right now).

So, are there too many OD's?. Some say yes, some say no. I think the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. But more than anything, i think the answer you will get will depend on WHO you ask :wink: ........and the debate goes on......
 

TomOD

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I think most eye docs will tell you with no hesitation that there are WAY too many OD's in the country. Of course most automechanics will probably tell you that there are too many mechanics around as well. And dentist say that also (although that is debatable). It depends on who you ask. The general public (ie your patients) do think there are too many OD's. The more OD's the better for them......More competition and cheaper prices (bad for us).

So from my view, I would say YES there are too many OD's. But then again I want to be the only one in town and have pt.s lined up down the street to see me.

Tom
 
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TomOD

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Oops...should be the general public (your pts) do NOT think there are too...... <img border="0" alt="[Wowie]" title="" src="graemlins/wowie.gif" />
 

DocClown

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With only 17 OD schools in the U.S.(if you count the one in P.R.) I find it hard to believe that there is an oversupply.
 

abs1

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Yes, but if you factor in the fact that OD's work until they are 80 then that creates a "few" less job opportunties....and like i said, i really think the "oversupply" debate applies mostly to private practice and not corporate, etc...
 

johnM

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do you guys think that the refractive surgeries (eg LASIK) will amplify this oversupply of OD's? I know that people will still have to go to OD's, and as they get older their vision will go out again, but if more and more people get their eye's "fixed" will this be a problem for optometrists?
 

cpw

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Not as I see it no. OD's can worth WITH ophthalmologists to co-manage lasik patients. The office I worked at was making a fair chunk of change working with a local OMD to manage pre and post-lasik patients. It didn't seem to affect the number of people coming for exams. We were always booked.

Think of this though... most people after two or three years (from what I've seen) post lasik start to need glasses again (depending on how bad their vision was pre-op), people under the age of 23 or so really aren't good candidates (their Rx is not stable) and people over 40 are going to need reading glasses which can't be corrected with lasik. the patient base is still there you just have to adapt to fit the need.
 

mpp

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I agree with cpw. I don't think LASIK will lower the need for optometrists. The popularity of LASIK-only eye centers has opened a new field for optometrists: co-managing surgery patients. It's really works well for everybody and patients get top notch care from professionals that are experts in their field. The ophthalomologist does not need to do the pre- and post-operative checks and care, only the surgery itself. Opticians and others technical support staff in eye care are not qualified to do the detailed analysis prior and after surgery to ensure the best outcome for the patient. Optometrists are the perfect blend of clinician and technician to fulfill this role.

If you are interested in going to optometry school, I would suggest that you find a school that offers intensive clinical training in care of surgery patients, especially those schools that offer surgery by ophthalmologists in their teaching clinics. There will be a strong need for this type of optometrist in the coming decades.
 

johnM

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I agree that there is definitely a place for OD's in surgical support, and actually have some experience with that. I volunteered for an optomestrist who worked with a few opthamologists, doing pre- and post-surgical care. However, this always seemed somewhat self-defeating to me. First off, I don't buy the comment that most people need glasses again 2-3 years after LASIK, the data that I've look into simply does not support this. Rather, it seems that many people who get the procedure done see the OD maybe a couple times after the procedure and then don't bother to come back, and probably won't until they are old and need reading glasses. Now sure, the doctor I was working for had a great opportunity here, but my question refers more to whether he is decreasing the patient-base for the rest of OD's, thereby increasing the 'oversupply.'
 

mpp

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...seems logical but I don't think it is entirely correct that O.D.'s assisting with surgery are decreasing their patient base...

If that were true than wouldn't you say that a regular O.D. prescribing glasses/contacts is always decreasing the patient base. Once they have those glasses, what do they need the O.D. for? Same goes for any doc. Once you have your ailment cured, no need for the doc. This isn't the case though.

Can you point to some research showing that LASIK patients visit the O.D.'s less frequently than the population as a whole?
 

johnM

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mpp, I'm laughing now at how ridiculous my comment was, that curing people is decreasing the patient base, as if that would be a bad thing! That's really funny! <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" />

**************

•••quote:•••Originally posted by mpp:
[QB
Can you point to some research showing that LASIK patients visit the O.D.'s less frequently than the population as a whole?[/QB]••••Not particularly, but there is plenty of evidence showing that the results of LASIK are stable, this was my first hit on med-line:
Esquenazi S, Mendoza A. J Refract Surg 1999 Nov-Dec;15(6):648-52. Two-year follow-up of laser in situ keratomileusis for hyperopia.
 

mpp

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It is kinda funny but really not that ridiculous. I think it is partially true especially in the case of O.D.'s.

In reality there is sort of an ethical problem here which is similar with physicians (and other health care practioners) that use long-term treatments for patients. It becomes sort of a self-referral practice (which is highly unethical in medicine) in which the patient must come back to you to get that prescription refilled, next chiropractic exam, new eye exam, stitches removed, etc., etc.

The hope is that all health care providers will always keep the best interest of the patient first.
 
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ckent

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My understanding of it was that lasik surgery is not supposed to be done unless the patient's vision has been stable for a number of years, it is not supposed to be done on a patient whose vision keeps getting progressively worse (ie the optometry patient). Therefore, I wouldn't think that Lasik surgery would have any effect on on optometry service demand at all.
 

mpp

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Good point ckent. Unfortunately I think that this is getting overlooked at times. I would not be surprised if the majority of patients with less than ideal outcomes after LASIK are due to having unstable vision prior to the surgery.
 

abs1

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LASIK is definitely a "good thing" for OD's! At first OD's were scared, but it turns out that LASIK has helped them two-fold. First, as mentioned, new job opportunities have opened up for OD's to co-manage LASIK pt's with MDs. Thus, decreasing the oversupply to some extent. :)

And secondly, and I think very importantly, the high publicity of LASIK has gotten more and more people thinking about their vision! Let's face it, not everyone feels comfortable with a laser being shot into their eyeballs. But hearing about LASIK surgery every day on the radio and tv, etc. prompts one to think about maybe needing another pair of eyeglasses or cl's or a new eye exam. This is a great benefit! Its almost free advertising for eyecare! :D

And dont jump too quickly to think that LASIK will ever fully replace eyeglasses. Not likely. Thats what everyone thought about contact lenses when they were introduced. But eyeglass sales still greatly outnumber cl sales today! You just cant beat a great pair of specs!! :cool:
 

acurarte

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Optometrists have been extremely smart in limiting the number of graduating OD's as well as the number of schools. With this fact in mind in combination with the growing population plays in your alls' favor.

In addition, some of the more attractive states to work in have created difficult boards with lower overall pass rates. I know many states now accept national boards but some of the more attractive states do not...

Lasik is here to stay and there will always be patients. Old people are still old and younger people are getting older. I think OD's need to be progressive in treating ocular disease pathology and pre/post operative care in addition to the traditional refractive practices. Shift the paradigm!
 

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Because bumping a 2+ year old dead thread just to say "good post" is kind of frustrating. When I come in here and see new posts, I tend to assume its worth my time to read it - I hate being wrong.

Lol, its kind of funny and sad how I didn't realize this was an old thread because of its oh so played out title. Some things never change. ;)
 
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