Changes in Professional Optometry

March 01, 2016

I’ve talked a lot about disruption and the need for innovation across everything we do at VSP Global. That’s because rapid and constant change is affecting our industry just like every other industry. The individual consumer is determining the course of the marketplace, from the retail experience to the 24-hour news cycle and everything in-between. 

I am seeing the same thing when it comes to eye care; our members want choices in how it’s delivered. For some, that means visiting their optometrist in a private practice. For others it might mean visiting a retail setting, logging online, or seeking an integrated medical setting. We need to be able to serve our members wherever, whenever, and however they want it to remain relevant. Regardless of their desired channel of delivery, our members are being cared for by qualified optometrists who have graduated from the same schools of optometry, passed the same board certifications, and share a passion in fulfilling the mission of helping people see. 

I recently received an eye exam at my optometrist's private practice. She mentioned that she also works at a Walmart location and increases her income by working at both locations. Out of curiosity, I asked her if she gives the same eye exam at both locations. She looks surprised – and possibly offended – and told me that there was no difference. She gives the same eye exam no matter where she is practicing. This conversation was a good reminder to me of how diverse and accessible the field of professional optometry is, and how it’s the dedication of the optometric team to their field, not the name on the door, that matters to the individual. 

Our world today includes healthcare reform, changing patient demographics, unlimited access to information, an online marketplace, and in some cases, more impersonal and homogenized care. We can either stand by and hope we’re immune to disruption, or we can look for opportunities and models within a changing marketplace that will allow professional optometry to not only remain competitive, but thrive in a new era of medicine and patient care. 

So, which direction do you want to go?

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