Alarming or Amazing? Infographic of Optometrists and Population

The following is a metrics study comparing the number of Optometrists in each state versus population.

I obtained this data for no other reason than pure curiosity. These metrics are not meant to demonstrate an oversupply or undersupply of optometrists.

Before viewing the metrics, please read these important facts regarding these numbers! They will help you understand what the data measures and assumes.

Licensed ODs:

  1. The number of optometrists in each state was obtained by data provided by each state’s respective board of optometry. If that data was not available in a workforce/professional licensing report, I spoke directly to a representative of the state board to obtain a count.
  2. These numbers ARE NOT perfectly accurate. There are many licensed ODs in states that are currently not working, or working part time. There are retired ODs that still maintain active licenses. These numbers DO NOT account for that.
  3. Furthermore, many ODs hold active licenses in multiple states. This WAS NOT accounted for.
  4. Inactivity was only taken into account and omitted from state counts when data allowed for it.
  5. A precise count was usually attainable; however, in a few instances (Nebraska and North Dakota), only an estimate could be provided.
  6. In many cases, the data obtained represents the last count conducted. While most of the counts are very current and represent numbers examined within the last month or so, some of these counts could be anywhere from early to mid to year ending 2014. In other words, while most of these numbers are current, a few state numbers may be a bit outdated.
  7. Number of patients per OD clearly omits the presence of ophthalmologists.

State Population:

  1. The population of each state obviously is not entirely accurate and current. I obtained estimations from The United States Census Bureau. The Census conducts population studies (the last was 2010, and the next is not scheduled until 2020 [how fitting!]), and provides projections and estimations using various formulas and methodologies. The most recent projection for 2013 estimation was utilized.

Click the infographic to open the large PDF version


Manipulations of the Data:

The following are interesting calculations and manipulations of the data. Obviously, there are several assumptions made in the calculation of these figures (accounting for ophthalmology would clearly skew the numbers).

Assuming every single person in each state went to see an OD in that state, and the total population was split equally among each individual OD:

  • The state representing the most patients per OD is South Carolina at 8,682 patients per OD.
  • The state representing the least patients per OD is Rhode Island at 1,962 patients per OD.

Assuming the average revenue per patient is $306.00(1), and assuming the same stipulations as referenced above, total revenue captured by each OD:

In the top three states would include:

  • South Carolina at $2,656,546.79
  • Louisiana at $2,545,672.34
  • Mississippi at $2,353,980.31

In the bottom three states would include:

  • Rhode Island at $600,302.92
  • Alaska at $626,602.76
  • Indiana at $687,652.53

What do you make of these metrics? Have questions about the data? Please comment below!


1. “THE STATE OF THE OPTOMETRIC PROFESSION: 2013.” Review of Optometric Business (2013): Web. 16 Nov. 2014. <>

About Antonio Chirumbolo

Antonio Chirumbolo
Antonio Chirumbolo, OD, is Associate Director of Marketing at CovalentCareers. Antonio's focus is in the world of digital publications and healthcare marketing, with special attention on content creation, management, and development.


  1. Ryan Corte O.D.

    Very impressed with this article! I can only imagine how much hard work and patience it took to collect all this data. Kudos to the new Editor-In-Chief, Dr. Chirumbolo!

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