5 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Opening My Optometry Practice Cold

I wish I had known about […so much…] before I opened my optometry practice cold

There is so much to consider when opening an optometry practice cold that despite months of preparation, you will still feel unprepared. When I started my practice one year ago, there was a lot of unknowns. A year in, there’s still a lot I don’t know, but I hope these recommendations and ideas will provide new graduate entrepreneurs with knowledge that may be of benefit when opening cold.

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1. Lens Technologies

When it came to optics class as a student, I couldn’t have been any less interested. When I opened my optometry practice cold, I soon realized that I needed to stay current on lens technologies. I need to be able to clearly articulate to my patients about our advanced technology and why competitors’ offerings are not equal.

I’ve tried two different lens companies since opening to better understand for myself the differences. As new grads, we are not progressive lens wearers so we must rely on patient feedback. I would recommend new graduates visit the optiboard for specific information on progressive lens types.

At graduation, most of my colleagues and I would not have been able to explain molded vs. free-form technologies. There is not a huge emphasis placed on prescribing from the chair in optometry school, however, this is vital to optical production.suitcases

Here’s a brief summary of the differences:

Free Form Technologies:

  • created when a computer digitally surfaces the back of a lens blanks
  • less peripheral distortion and customization of the lens for the patient and frame selected
  • a lab’s inventory costs decline so the price we pay for lenses goes directly towards an investment in technology

Molded Technologies:

  • made from a mold
  • mold was originally created digitally, but the lenses themselves are duplicated from a mold
  • considered conventional progressive lenses
  • labs have a much higher inventory of stock lenses increasing both their cost and the retailer’s cost

Your labs as well as your sales representatives can be very helpful on specific lens information.  A subscription to the Lens Guru is helpful for more specific information.

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About Courtney Dryer

Courtney Dryer
Courtney Dryer is a 2011 graduate of SCO. She opened 4 Eyes Optometry in her hometown of Charlotte, NC in February of 2013. After 5 years, the practice name was changed to Autarchic Spec Shop to renew the practice's commitment to independent optometry. In addition to consulting with new graduate optometrists on start-up practices, she contributes regularly to New Grad Optometry and has guest blogged for Invision Magazine. The unique design of her boutique practice was featured in Women in Optometry. In 2015, Vision Monday named her a Rising Star, and one of the most influential women in optical.


  1. Matthew Ward

    Great article Courtney. Thanks for sharing and putting that together. I couldn’t agree more on the lens technology. Optics wasn’t my favorite topic in class either.

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