The Future of Optometry – How to be Proactive in a Changing Profession

There is no question the landscape of healthcare is changing.

Optometry is no exception.

The future of Optometry is frequently called into question due to increasing competition, online retailers, and disruptive technology. It can be difficult to have a positive outlook on the profession, with so much to be weary of. This sentiment naturally varies depending from person to person which largely in part depends on how long they have been practicing, and what area of the profession they are involved in.

Some optometrists love a great challenge, while others might begin to take a guarded viewpoint on the future of optometry and the profession.

Hear what this legendary OD has to say about combatting disruptive technology!

We decided to capture the thoughts of four different individuals at Vision Expo East 2017  and attempt to understand how the future of Optometry is perceived by individuals at different stages of their careers.

This film features the thoughts of:

  • Dr. Joel Kestenbaum OD – Optix Family Eyecare, Long Island, NY
  • Dr. Aaron Lech, OD, FAAO – Clearvue Eyecare, California
  • Dr. Matt Geller, OD – Founder of NewGradOptometry.com and Co-Founder CovalentCareers.com
  • Bianca Augustino, class of 2018 – Current Optometry Student

The future of Optometry:

Here are some key talking points:

Joel Kenstenbaum O.D.

  • There is an increasing amount of consolidation within the industry including that in the corporate world. This can take away from some of the independence that we’ve enjoyed in the past.
  • Do not underestimate the power of emotional attachment people have to their health. That is something you cannot get from a robot, machine, or app.

Technology will certainly play a role in the future of optometry; however, it will not replace the one on one interaction that patients seek.

Aaron Lech, O.D., FAAO

  • There is much to be optimistic about in regards to the future of optometry.
  • The pressure that change is exerting on us will require us to change the way we do things. We will have to remedy inefficiencies in what we do.
  • There are a lot of opportunities for younger OD’s to purchase existing practices from the baby boomers who are transitioning out of care.

Younger ODs need to be connecting with veteran ODs to learn from the experience they have, and to potentially create opportunities to take over their practices.

Matthew Geller, O.D.

  • There is a lot of competition out there, not just in terms of other practices, but now in regards to technology.
  • The future of private practice rests in creating a complete experience.
  • We need to be willing to change the way we do things in our practices.

We will need to learn how to utilize technology to our advantage to strengthen the way we deliver healthcare.

Bianca Augustino, class of 2018

  • There is a lot to be concerned about as an optometry student, but also a lot to be optimistic about.
  • Online “exams” and disruption is causing a lot of fear in students.

The strength of new and upcoming ODs is that we are very creative. We don’t sit back and rest on something that is working well, we want to always try to improve things.

What do you think about the future of optometry? Are you excited? Fearful? What will you do to combat those fears you might have and prepare for the future?

Get the discussion going and comment below!

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.

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