The Truth About Working in Corporate Optometry – An Overview of LensCrafters

Don’t go corporate! You’ll work long, hard hours and on weekends, you’ll be a slave to a giant corporation that dictates how you practice, and you’ll watch your ocular disease training slowly wither away…”

Sound familiar? Yeah, that’s what I heard in optometry school, too.

Are there lousy optometry jobs out there? Of course (and they aren’t all corporate). In my experience, corporate optometry for the new grad optometrist doesn’t have to be as bad as some make it out to be.

I’ve been working at a LensCrafters in a high-end mall for about 7 months now, and I still have no compelling reason to leave.

Kyle Douglas WilsonConsider my typical work day

Convenient start time

My first patient is scheduled at 10 am, which means I get plenty of morning time (including extra sleep if needed). This schedule also shortens my commute because I miss the early morning traffic.

Techs do all the pre-testing

My OD employer has his practice fully staffed with techs, receptionists, a third-party billing specialist, and an office manager. The whole team is tight-knit and likes to laugh often, which makes coming to work interesting and fun.

It also means that all the pre-testing is done by the time the patient sees me!

  • the patient history
  • IOP’s
  • autorefraction
  • auto-K’s
  • VA’s
  • Optos® Daytona retinal imaging

This has dramatically reduced my exam time compared to when I was doing everything myself as a 4th year.

Schedule pace

Full eye exams are scheduled every 30 minutes, with occasional contact lens checks and office visits in between. It is not uncommon in this environment for patients to no-show. This allows us to take walk-ins with little notice, which makes for happy patients.

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About kylewilson

Kylewilson

6 comments

  1. Matthew Geller

    Hey Kyle! Great article…. Was it hard finding your job at Lenscrafters? What did you do to find it?

    Thanks!

  2. Kylewilson

    Actually, I found my job using many of the resources that Antonio mentions in his recent article “The New Graduate Optometrist Guide to Job Searching”. I think that the AOA Excel site in specific was the one that I found my job on.

    The hiring process was not too difficult. I submitted an online application and was contacted by a recruiter for Luxottica. She coordinated a phone interview for me with a regional manager from Luxottica/LensCrafters, as well as a second phone interview with the manager from the LensCrafters where I was applying, and then I spoke with the actual OD who owned the practice.

    The decision to hire me was ultimately his. Since he owns the practice, not Luxottica, he and I worked out a contract over a couple of weeks that was agreeable for both parties.

  3. Let me start by saying I am a BIG supporter of what you guys are doing here at New Grad Optometry and what Matt did at Optometrystudent.com.

    With that said, I have to highlight some of the points you made in your article, which was well written by the way.

    First off when you hear docs complain about corporate, they really aren’t talking about what you are doing, I think that can be misleading and needs to be highlighted.

    Correct me if I am wrong, I am just going by what it says in your article, if this next line is not true disregard the rest of this comment.

    From what it sounds like you actually work for an OD that has a private practice within a Lenscrafters. Am I right?

    That is MUCH different than working for corporate. Because “THE TRUTH” about working for corporate is you are treated like a commodity, with very strict productivity goals and now medical goals. (ie. counting how many Spectral OCT’s do per day.)

    Another “truth” is that corporate is destroying our profession, in a very real and tangible way. It’s hard to see the change as new grad because you can’t feel it when you get in mid ride, there is no basis of comparison to see that medical is being slowly removed from our profession in favor of pushing OD’s into refractionist and way low reimbursement rates (speak to your OD employer about the new eyemed contract) I know you and I did not become Doctors to do something that a tech can do with a little practice.

    And just the fact that you would not want that make a career out of corporate optometry should tell you something.

    That is “The Truth” about working in corporate.

    Again, I see where your coming from in this article, but I think what you are describing is different than what you have been warned against, and I think that story needs to be told to, because I know you all at newgrad wouldn’t want to mislead your readers. Where you work, actually sounds like a really good gig.

    But remember Luxxottica own’s every part of our industry, and they make most of their money in materials, so docs that take Eyemed, work for lenscrafters, sears, target, pearl, and people who buy from sunglass hut are all feeding the giant.

    OD’s never stood for the 30 dollar eyemed reimbursements that we get today… this is not hype but instead a very strong warning about supporting our Goliath of an enemy.

    I know it is hard to see when they seem so nice to you in your face, even when reps take you to dinner, it is easy to glaze over and be blinded by the glitter.. especially as a new grad. I know I was too! but until you get to private practice you don’t see their claws, behind their smile.

    Anyway off to my office .. by the way I am home and it is 946 am, Private practice has everyone of the same perks.

    Keep up the good work, I think you guys are doing a phenomenal job I wish I had a resource like this when I first graduated! I hope this brought some clarity to the issue.

    • Matthew Geller

      Dr. Calderon, thanks for commenting on this article and for supporting our project. There is certainly truth to what you are saying. Kyle is simply trying to talk about his day-to-day life at Lenscrafters. I think any reader would understand he is not making any claims about what is “right and wrong” in optometry. He certainly isn’t trying to claim anything against private practice or non-corporate modalities. Having an article about the “truth of your day-to-day life” is what he is doing here.

      Kyle and our team is well aware of the vertical integration of corporate optometry and that requires another article with a headline something along the lines of – “The True Effects of what Corporate Optometry is Doing to The Field of Eye Care”.

      I think we can all agree that corporations, online retailers and the changing of health insurance is changing optometry, BIG time. My one problem is that the majority of optometrists have not the slightest clue how to embrace change. They try to swim against the river and they end up where the stream wants to take them, regardless. If ODs spent more time innovating and less time organizing a fight we would be better off. This is a very general statement and doesn’t apply to all ODs or all those in the industry. At the end of the day, there are waves of new ODs that will be going in to corporate optometry and that will not change. The question is, what will the private practitioners do take new graduates under their wing in order to build larger group practices with lean operational structure?

      What you are saying does have validity. In the future lets keep comments as positive in nature as possible. Like we practice evidence based medicine, lets practice evidence based commenting. Kyle’s experience is a mere case study of his experience as a new graduate. He is not attesting to much else than that. Additionally, I understand the claim that corporate optometry is destroying optometry, but is also the ODs reaction to corporate optometry, online retailers and health insurance companies that is important to look at as well. NewGradOptometry.com wont really be a place to discuss assumptions of causality in the industry. This will be a place for proactive thinkers and change-embracers. There are are wonderful places for that type of brainstorming but here we will be focusing on the experience, case study, and recommendations from new graduates, for new graduates.

      Dr. Wilson will be a player in the industry of eye care. With his ability to deliver knowledge to others he will help optometry navigate the river of reform instead of being someone who swims against it to save “the old school” way of doing things. That is what this article is about, a new way of thinking.

      Dr. C, perhaps we can get you on the blog as a guest writer to talk about your private practice experience? It would be great to let new grads know your experience and show them the beauty that is private practice. I think it would be a great motivator to shape and mold the future OD. Let me know and thanks so much for offering your words of wisdom on this topic.

  4. I have no doubt that Dr. Wilson and all of you at NGO are going to lead the way in the eye care industry, you already are, KUDOS! I recommend your resource as often as I can. I am only a few short years ahead of you guys so I don’t even know what “the OLD School” was like. But what I do know is since I graduated there has been a definite shift in our profession, not in our favor… you’re right, who’s to blame is debatable and this is not the forum for that discussion.

    You are also right that change is coming and “how” we swim our course will decide a great deal as to where we end up. Like many rivers, some forks lead to waterfalls and others to smooth sailing. New grads would benefit from knowing which course will allow for them to pay off their massive student debt and live a good life for the next 30 – 40 years.

    You let me know what you need and I’ll be more than happy to help. Keep of the good work!

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