Posts

5 Reasons Why a Corporate Optometry Sublease Might be the Best Option During Recession

Subleasing space in corporate optometry might be the best option during a recession. Subleasing can come with particular challenges, but much less risk than starting a private practice cold during a recession. Subleasing starting costs are much less than starting a new practice.

A successful optometry clinic is about finding a suitable location that attracts patents, analyzing competition, and ensuring you’re doing what it takes to thrive in the healthcare sector. The last few years haven’t been ideal, considering the high unemployment rate and COVID-19. However, subleasing space might be best option during a recession.

Let’s explore why subleasing in a recession might be best option.

1. Available Resources

When a recession hits the economy, it might become challenging in many ways. However, if you look closely, you’ll find more resources than ever. Resources that provided from corporate to help you succeed. Many times corporate has data to forecast economic changes and provide a game plan to help your sublease.

2. Less Competition

Some experts say recession might be the best time to sublease your corporate optometry, as there’s almost no competition during the economic downturn. Operating during a recession can help you get a competitive edge and make arranging funding more accessible. Since covid, some offices have closed down and we will see more closure during a recession. Finding a sublease that has been established and working between 2 might be the best option.

3. Inflation

Prices will go up during an inflation. Many corporate optometry subleases have kept OD’s rent the same. We will start to see more patients come into retail locations as they look for more affordable healthcare. The volume will help you grow during a recession. A recession is undoubtedly not the best economic situation, but if you’re clever, you’ll manage to make the best use of recession.

4. More Motivation

Every optometrist aims have their own practice, which brings them the required motivation to start their clinic. Knowing a recession is here, might be the motivation to work harder and continue to strive to succeed.

5. Reduce Unemployment

Many people lose their jobs and actively seek employment when a recession hits. When you begin subleasing your optometry clinic, you’ll need valuable people to help you run your business effectively. You’ll get a chance to improve the economy’s situation by providing work to unemployed people.

The more people earn, the more stable the economy will eventually become. Hence, unemployed individuals find jobs, and you get a team of hard workers who run day-to-day tasks effectively and handle patient care. Again, a win-win.

5 Essential Business Planning Tips That Can Help Optometrists Survive a Recession.

Various small businesses could be severely hit by a recession. Proper planning is the key to long-term business success. And it becomes all the more important in the face of uncertain circumstances such as the ones we are facing currently.

Here are five essential business planning tips that every optometrist must follow if they wish to power through a recession and ensure sustained growth in the coming year.

1. Think Strategically

There are several strategic approaches that optometrists can benefit from. Strategic thinking is what helps you succeed in a competitive market. Businesses that don’t have a strategic plan in place are bound to have a hard time in fulfilling their short term as well as long term goals.

Take time to think about your business’s vision and mission. What is your unique selling proposition? How do your products and services differ from those of your competitors? Do you do any specialty care?

Focus on aspects that will prompt customers to choose your services over the alternative options.

2. Don’t Skip Marketing

Your revenues may be down these days, but that’s no reason to skip marketing. Marketing plays a key role in keeping your business in the public eye. You can cut down on the marketing budget if you want. But don’t forgo it altogether.

Identify the channels that can bring in the maximum customers and run your marketing campaigns on those platforms only. Staying active on social media is a great way to connect with your audience, so don’t forget to leverage that.

3. Form Alliances

One of the most strategic business planning tips in today’s economy is to form alliances. Collaborating with other optometry businesses operating both locally and other medical professionals can help you gain access to new streams of income. It can enable you to identify and exploit opportunities that still exist in an otherwise halted economy.

4. Sort Out Your Finances

Finances are the core element that determine the viability of your business plan. Make sure that you always have sufficient capital at hand for debt servicing, asset acquisition, business expansion, and the likes.

In addition to the current expenses, think about other costs you may incur down the lane.

5. Structure Your Workforce

You need to think about the future implications on your business in regards to your staff.

Will those employees be willing to rejoin when your business gains momentum again if you cut their hours? Do you want them to rejoin or wish to hire new workers instead? What are the skills you will need to keep your business running in a changing economy?

If you plan to hire new employees, make sure you have capital available for any training that may be required.

End Note

No one plans to fail; they fail to plan. So, follow these business planning tips to help your optometry business not just survive, but thrive regardless of how the economy may be performing.

Recipe for Success in Optometry: Grit and Resilience

Grit and resilience are key ingredients in the recipe of success. Humans possess a remarkable ability to work hard towards their goals and keep recovering from setbacks in the way.

You can succeed in your life and career as an optometrist once you understand the growth mindset and discover the power of grit and resilience. Keep reading to know how you can boost your resolve and keep setting and achieving high targets.

What is the Growth Mindset?

The Growth Mindset is a belief that you can achieve something once you acquire the skill to do so. Carol Dweck, an American psychologist, has identified two kinds of mindsets: fixed and growth.

A person with a fixed mindset believes that basic qualities are inherent and different ones cannot be developed. Growth mindset, on the other hand, dictates that you can enhance your qualities through efforts.

An individual may have a fixed mindset about some abilities and a growth mindset about others. For instance, a person may firmly believe that sketching well is a built-in talent that they cannot acquire. On the other hand, they may feel that they can improve in sports with enough practice.

It is imperative to approach your life and career with a growth mindset in order to succeed in your life and career as an optometrist. You may not have scored a high grade after studying optometry, but that doesn’t mean you cannot become a successful optometrist after gaining experience in the industry.

Developing Grit and Resilience

Grit implies resolve, and resilience refers to your ability to bounce back from a stressful situation. People who are able to grow are those who learn to overcome obstacles and setbacks. Here is how you can develop grit and resilience in your life and career as an optometrist:

1. Asses Yourself

Want to figure out how resilient you are? Take a quiz online to evaluate the extent to which you adhere to a growth mindset. Gauging you abilities will help you determine whether you are on the right track. If the results show that you have a growth mindset, work on enhancing it. In case you discover that you have a relatively rigid frame of mind, it is time to start taking corrective measures.

2. Stay Around Positive People

Your mindset helps define your life. Likewise, the thoughts and behavior of the people around you also influence your reality. You cannot always opt to be around the people of your choice, but you can selective about who you wish to spend most of your time with. Engage in productive discussions with fellow optometrists and keep in touch with your mentor in the field to stay motivated.

3. Set Goals

Grit involves maintaining interest and effort towards long-term goals. It can get difficult to make a lasting commitment, especially if you face several hurdles in the way. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that success comes to those who stay strong, even through times of crisis. Don’t shy away from ambitious targets. Work hard and persevere to make your mark in the field of optometry.

4. Celebrate Milestones

Success doesn’t always have to be measured in the form of outcomes. Sometimes, you make painstaking efforts, but victory gets delayed. Pat yourself on the back for the hard work and know that setbacks are always a possibility. Making efforts in the right direction will always be fruitful, even if it takes some time.

It takes time and effort to reach your goals and to stay strong in the face of obstacles. Once you adopt grit and resilience, you will understand that hard work always pays off. A positive and driven mindset will eventually bring success in your life and career as an optometrist.

The Impact of the Pandemic on Buying or Selling an Optometry Practice

The optometry business experienced steady growth from 2015-2020 due to the rise in aging population and increased awareness of eye health. However, similar to several other industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the optometry industry. Many older ODs are looking for an exit strategy more now than ever. Some might sell at a discount to be able to sell it faster. Loans have become lower but if you were out of work for 2-3 months than you might rethink getting a loan if a second wave could shut down a new practice again.

Several optometric practices have been forced to shut down as a significant number of people are now purchasing eyeglasses and contact lenses online.

If you’re considering buying or selling an optometry practice, here are some factors to consider before you take the plunge:

Purchasing an Optometry Practice

Before you purchase an optometry practice, you should have clear goals in mind. Think about your goals for buying an optometry business and how you can secure a perfect deal for yourself.

You can either make a complete purchase or a partial one. A complete purchase is when you buy the entire business at a certain price. You quote a rate and then negotiate with the seller to form a purchase agreement. Arrange funding to pay for the practice and your job is done. Purchasing a business provides you with complete control over it.

A partial purchase is not as expensive as a complete purchase, making it easier for you to get a loan for it. This involves negotiating with the current owner and buying a percentage of the business. The cost and cash flow will be based on the percentage you own. In case you plan to eventually own the entire practice, the agreement may initially include incremental purchases until you own it completely. Important criteria that you need to keep in mind when purchasing an optometric practice include:

1. Location

Optometry practice owners typically run a business in the city they live in. While this is not necessary, practicing along with community involvement is usually a factor in growth.

Consider the presence of other optometrists in the vicinity when you decide to purchase a business. Check if the market is saturated or there is a need for more optometry practices.

Assess whether there is a growing demand for your products and services in the area you decide to buy a practice. Evaluate the demographics to ascertain the general age groups of people and whether the community is retiring, growing or stable. It is important to weigh in other factors, such as the lifestyles of people who have been affected in the area due to the pandemic.

Whether buying a corporate or private practice consider that many people have a shifted to not going to mall settings or areas where many people gather.

2. Practice Type

Spend time deciding the type of practice you want to buy. Do you want to buy a large, well-established practice or a reasonably priced smaller practice that you aim to transform into a full-time one? Several small optometry businesses are now up for sale as the baby boomer generation is retiring.

If you prefer to buy an already established business at a high price, you will not need to make additional investments. On the other hand, buying a smaller and older business may require you to invest in updated equipment or get the place remodeled.

3. Finances

It is important to carry out a financial assessment before buying a practice. Consider hiring an accountant to review all records. Make sure you have a good know-how of fee schedules, cash on hand, income sources, account receivables, accounts payable, overhead, the sales contract and the transaction itself.

It is relatively easy to get a bank loan for purchasing an optometry practice. Banks typically look for good credit history, small credit card debt, and personal tax returns that can prove a high level of income. If you are married and your spouse is working, that is also a plus point with banks that finance private businesses.

4. Hire a Broker

Perhaps, you are looking to buy an optometry practice but do not have time to search for one. Moreover, you may lack sound knowledge of the terms of sale. In such a scenario, your best bet is to hire a practice broker.

Brokers conduct extensive market research to help you decide which kind of business is most suitable for you to purchase. You can focus on working full time while your broker confidentially surveys the market for you. They will also be responsible for determining a fair market valuation and negotiate the terms of the transaction. Finally, your agent can help you receive funds for the purchase and guard you against common mistakes, such as overpaying for the new practice.

Selling an Optometry Practice

Ever since the pandemic hit, most businesses all over the world have experienced a financial setback. This has shrunk the buyer market, making it challenging for you to find a buyer for your optometry practice at the same time you wish to sell it. Therefore, you must ensure your business is not only good enough to be sold but also gets you the value it’s worth.

1. Exit Strategy

It is often difficult for optometrists to slow down as they grow older. Many are solo practitioners who do not have many alterative options to choose from. Some hire an associate as they lessen their working hours. Others choose to sell the entire business and either work part-time or retire completely.

Here are some key factors you need to consider when deciding your exit strategy from your optometry practice:

Your Goals

· Do you want to retire or work for the new owner?

· If yes, then will you work full-time or part-time? If you own the building where you practiced in, do you want to sell it or give it up for rent?

· Compare your income from the practice with the amount you need to sell it in to be able to afford to retire.

Timeline

· Keep in mind that selling your optometry practice may take six months to a year. Smaller and rural practices usually take more time to sell than larger, urban practices.

· Plan your exit strategy in advance to increase the chance of its sale.

· Ideally, you should prepare for sale 2-3 years before you plan to retire.

2. Reputation

Reputation matters a lot in the field of optometry. Clients are usually loyal to particular practices and often choose optometrists who belong to their friends or family circles.

Make sure your practice has attained sufficient goodwill before you decide to sell it. Create brand awareness in your community, retain your employees, offer efficient customer service and develop a strong marketing campaign.

The scope of digital marketing has grown in leaps and bounds, especially after the pandemic struck the world. Focus on maintaining a fully functional website and advertising customer reviews online. Satisfied clients are more likely to recommend your practice to their friends. A good reputation build over time will enhance the appeal and value of your optometry business with potential buyers.

3. Electronic Record System

Purchasing an electronic record system has the dual benefit of adding to your goodwill and managing your business before the sale. It enables you to run revenue reports, track your clients and help with scheduling visits.

An electronic system is a modern way of managing patient care while you can devote your time to attract more clients and organize your financials to make your practice ready for sale. Make sure you begin planning your sale strategy 2-3 years in advance and consider hiring an agent if you feel the need for assistance in the process.

4. Hire a Broker

Decide whether you have time to manage the sale process alone or require a broker who can help you. If you are considering selling your optometry practice, then it can be challenging to handle the sale transaction along with attending to your patients.

Services of an agent or broker include producing an in-depth prospectus of your business, checking out potential buyers, marketing the practice confidentially, determining the asking price, facilitating the buyer in obtaining funds, and working with an attorney to draft the sales agreement.

Hiring a broker has the advantage of reducing your stress and receiving a good value for your business in the current circumstances.

While many people now prefer to buy eyeglasses and contact lenses online to reduce physical contact, COVID-19 has not completely extinguished to physically visit optometrists. Diagnosing and treating eye diseases are still important jobs that need to be performed physically. Did you know that more than 6 out of 10 people wear eyeglasses or contact lenses? Whether you are preparing to sell or purchase an optometry practice, make sure you focus on strategies to increase sales through digital marketing.

Get your website optimized and use social media for advertisement. You can introduce special services, such as enabling customers to buy eyeglasses online if they are free of eye disease and have a prescription that does not date back beyond a certain time period, such as 24 months.

References:

1. IBIS World, 2020 https://www.ibisworld.com/united-states/market-research-reports/optometrists-industry/

2. CBS, 2013 https://www.cbs.nl/en-gb/news/2013/38/more-than-6-in-10-people-wear-glasses-or-contact-lenses

8 Tips for Doing Competitor Analysis in Optometry

One of the smartest and most effective ways to grow and develop your optometry brand is to research your competition. Keeping tabs on what other market players are doing helps you identify their strengths and weaknesses. This, in turn, can help you create a unique value proposition that makes your own services stand out. Here are ten easy ways to perform competitor analysis in optometry:

1. Go to Professional Conferences

Attending trade shows, professional conventions, and conferences is an excellent way to stay up to date with what your competitors are doing. Interact with their representatives to learn about their services and product offerings.

2. Read Industry Reports

This can help you gain insight into the current market conditions and the latest advancements in the industry. Corporate and even privately held optometry firms have to file certain reports with various regulatory authorities on a regular basis. These might be available directly on the local planning commissions’ website, or you may get access on request. Jobson has great surveys and information that they post.

3. Check Out Your Competitor’s Online Marketing Strategy

Every business in the modern world has an online presence. Browsing your competitor’s website can tell you a lot about their services and how they operate. If you have a basic know-how of SEO, you can use tools Google Trends to identify how other optometrists are attracting visitors. Take note of social media platforms they are using, how they post and what content they post. Engagement is key, how are they engaging their audience?

6. Email Strategy

You can subscribe to your competitor’s newsletter on their website. This will keep you in the loop in regards to how they communicate with their customers. You will get insist information on new topics or products in your inbox!

7. Secret Shopper

This is hands down the most comprehensive strategy for doing a competitor analysis in optometry. Getting someone to get information on employees, supplies price points and how patients view the practice is critical.

8. Partnerships

Look out for any advertisements and job openings that other players in the industry may post from time to time. Pay attention what they are looking for in a candidate and who they partner with for their business. You should be thinking big picture long term.

Eye-Opening Truth: Corporate Optometry Myths Debunked

For many optometrists, both young and experienced, the term ‘corporate optometry’ has a rather negative connotation. It resonates with unpleasant work settings, long working hours, stunted career growth, and whatnot. This is mostly because of the misconceptions and stereotypes that surround the field of corporate optometry.

Take a look at some of the most common corporate optometry myths to see if you have also believed them to be true so far.

1. As a Corporate OD don’t do Medical.

Refracting lies at the core of optometry, and as such, is a major part of corporate practices too. However, it sure isn’t the ‘only’ thing that ODs do at the job.

Many don’t realize this but as a corporate OD, you can easily practice full-scope optometry or even specialize in a particular medical model for eyecare if you prefer.

2. Exams are different in a corporate setting.

This is one of those corporate optometry myths that are loosely based around perspective. Many Corporate ODs will practice just like ODs in a private practice. Many times Corporate locations have the latest technology to better assist ODs with their exams.

The reality, however, is that patients aren’t biased about the type of setting in optometry. If you perform comprehensive eye examinations and are able to satisfy your patients with regards to the treatment options and answering their queries, they will choose your practice regardless of whether it’s centrally managed or privately run. Corporate ODs do dilate their patients and treat eye disease.

3. Corporate ODs Need to Sell Eye wear

If you think corporate ODs are required to promote the optical and upsell its products and services, you aren’t in the minority.

Unfortunately, that might be true in some cases, but that fact is that you can work as a corporate OD and still be completely independent from the company – at least with regards to being forced to increase the business’s sales.

Depending on which brand you join, you can enjoy full autonomy over treating your patients. You won’t be pressurized into making recommendations that you know aren’t really required by the patient.

4. Corporate ODs Only Accept Vision Care Plans

This might be true to some extent depending on which enterprise you join. Some corporate ODs may see a high level of vision plans because the company markets to patients in that optical side. However, many corporate optometry practices cater to medical eye care patients too. This allows you to build your medical expertise in the real sense.

We hope debunking these common corporate optometry myths has opened your eyes to the truth and increase your willingness to gain field experience in this eye care setting.

Tips on How to Sell When Patients Just want an Rx.

In the current environment, many patients are price concise. Many small business owners are struggling with the increased costs and increased demands to provide a safe environment.

Here are some tips on how to sell a glasses or contacts when your patients are looking for just an Rx.

Let’s take a look at some tips on how to be smarter when it comes to selling.

1. Be Smarter When It Comes to Research

The last thing you should do is stop exploring new opportunities even when the sales are slow. Even when you think customers aren’t interested in your products and there’s no point in wasting resources on customer acquisition, you still need to talk to people to learn about the reason why customers don’t buy and what you need to do differently.

Owing to the current crisis, what most customers are buying has drastically changed, but that doesn’t mean you should stop selling products that add value to your customers’ lives. Check in with your customers every now and then to learn if what they’re buying has changed from what they were buying a couple of months ago.

It’s also important to let your customers know what they’re missing out on, show them a new market that they can exploit, and facilitate their buying journey.

2. Think like a Customer

Instead of believing the narrative that no one’s interested in buying from you, you need to look for people who are buying, regardless of the circumstances, and why so you can learn how to market your products better and let your customers know how you’re adding value to their lives and solving the problems they’re facing.

You need to think like a customer in order to determine what’s keeping you from buying things you’d otherwise purchase. Envision the buyer’s journey to identify the hurdles they face so you can look for ways to make the whole process much easier for them.

3. Identify What Your Customers Need

There’s nothing wrong with asking customers what they’re looking for and how you can be of service. This is your time to learn about your target market and understand their pain points so you can offer products that help make their lives easier. Even if you offer those products

now, you can always offer them in the future. Once you’ve gained the trust of your patients and built a strong relationship with them, it’ll be a lot easier for you to sell to them.

It’s important to pay close attention to other things your customers buy that are similar or complementary to your products so you can have more of an advantage selling to them in the future.

Bottom Line

Even though the present circumstances have caused many small businesses to go bankrupt, they’ve allowed most of us to think and prepare for the future in a way we hadn’t before.

You need to take this time to explore newer offerings that can put you out of business if you carried on the same way and figure out strategies that can help you sustain your business in the long run.

Improving Patient Satisfaction: 5 Questions Optometrists Should Ask Themselves.

The optometry industry is so highly competitive. If you want to rise above the competition and take your practice to great heights, improving patient satisfaction should be your top priority.

There are many ways in which you can build a strong relationship with your patients so that they stay loyal to your services for the long term.

Following are the five most important things you need to consider when growing your brand.

What Tools Do You Need?

Technology can help your practice in various ways. Certain tools can help streamline operations and enhance productivity, whereas others can help reduce bottlenecks, unnecessary redos, ease scheduling, and so on.

To build your practice, the first thing you need to decide is the type of tools that you will need. For this, you need to look into the main areas that need improvement.

For instance, if you want to make patient scheduling more efficient, a software system might help. Or if you want to build a stronger rapport with the patients by providing pre and post-treatment support, starting an online blog that discusses different issues might be the way to go. You want to promote those blogs on your Facebook page and in your newsletters.

What Is Your Social Media Marketing Strategy?

If you aren’t leveraging social media to improve your brand, you are only shooting yourself in the foot.

Being active on different social media platforms can help create brand awareness. However, you shouldn’t use these sites for advertisement purposes only.

Rather, you should use social media to establish a smooth and efficient, two-way communication with your patients and potential patients.

Are You Showcasing Your Practice Reviews Online?

Encourage your patients to rate and review your services online. Positive online reviews are worth their weight in gold and can be far more beneficial for your practice than you may have imagined.

Moreover, positive ratings push your website higher up on the search engine results page. So, your practice is likely to become more noticeable to people when they look for terms such as “optometrist in Chicago”. Think like your patients think and you will be ahead of the competition.

However, keep in mind that while positive reviews can work wonders for your brand image, a negative one can easily taint it too. Using a technology solution such as online reputation management services can prevent you from losing potential patients due to negative feedback from an angry client.

How is your website appearance?

In today’s digital age, it is common for patients to search for and browse the clinic’s website when considering a new OD.

First impressions matter. Therefore, make sure that your website has a prim and proper presentation. It should be up-to-date and offer vital information at a glance. This includes the services you offer, hours of operation, contact details, and other info.

Also, pay attention to the message you send out.

Your website presentation and the info it contains should make the visitor more confident in choosing you.

Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly? According to google analytics, more than 65% of all web traffic comes from mobile phone users.

Put simply, having a great website may not provide you with the best benefits unless it is optimized for mobile phones too. Make sure it loads quickly and looks impressive on desktops, tablets, and smartphones alike. It needs to be a seamless experience. You have a few seconds to capture their attention!

Bottom Line

Happy and satisfied patients stay not only committed to your services but also enable new patient acquisition by generating positive feedback.

Focus on the aspects of improving patient satisfaction discussed above, and you can take your practice from surviving to thriving.

Corporate OD Reopening Survey

58% are seeing 2 patients per hour
23% are seeing 1 patient per hour
17% are seeing 3 patients per hour
2% are seeing 4 or more per hour

Corporate Optometry surveyed 348 corporate optometrists to see how many patients they will see an hour as they reopen their practice. Generally corporate opticals are high volume locations. Corporate ODs were provided ppe supplies by there corporate partners. All the safety precautions and protocols have been reinstated to provide a safe environment for the ODs, staff and patients.

With these new changes, the number of patients being seen per hour has changed as well. Many ODs have reduced their days but extended their hours. Others have reduced hours per day and kept the number per days. In the chart above a 58% of Corporate ODs will see 2 patients per hour as they reopen their practices. Many feel that is a safe number to do an exam and have time to clean after each patient.

How are adjusting to the new norm in your practice?

Corporate ODs should evaluate the optical side of the business in corporate optometry.

There are so many different factors to consider  in the business aspects of  corporate optometry. Many ODs will focus on their own business and ignore the optical.  Their success is your own success in corporate optometry. Evaluating the corporate optical should be part of the Corporate ODs business plan.

Here are some questions to ask : This information should be something that you have access to

What is the gross revenue of the optical?

Has the optical grown over the last year?

What is the sales to staff ratio?

Which staff member generates most income for the optical?

What are the hours of operation?

How much money does the optical generate,  how many are outside sales vs from you?

What is the per patient transaction ?

What is the percentage of sales that are upgrades?

How does that optical compare to the over all region and company?

Is the practice driven by managed care?

How much money do they spend on marketing and appearance of location?

 

The optical business is largely driven by the optical staff. The optical staff can really influence your business as well.  Understanding the importance of the optical growth to your own business will help you set goals that can be achieved by you and the optical manager. Consider involving regional management if you feel that your location is not reaching the potential that you believe it could be.

Podcast

Partnering with Optical Staff for Sublease Success.

Corporate Optometry Nation
Corporate Optometry Nation
Partnering with Optical Staff for Sublease Success.
/

Corporate Optometry Nation Podcast interviews Dr Diana Ramirez. Dr Ramirez has a sublease with Walmart in Texas. She was awarded 2020 OD of the Year at Walmart for Excellence in Patient Care. Listen in to the podcast was Dr Sampalis interviews her about how she works with the optical staff to secure her success in her own practice. Learn how to motivate and partner with the optical staff in corporate optometry.

Corporate Optometry India Part 3

Corporate Optometry Nation
Corporate Optometry Nation
Corporate Optometry India Part 3
/

Optometry and Youth: Catch Them Young !!

Current scenario in Indian Optometry

Indian optometry is at a very interesting and critical juncture. The allied and health care council bill 2018 is tabled in the upper house of the parliament and gone to the standing committee for deliberation with various stakeholders. Their suggestions will be considered and revised bill will be presented in the parliament.

It could be a giant step towards professional recognition of Optometry.

We have the Optometry Council of India (OCI), a peer regulating body with the responsibility of establishing & maintaining high standards of optometry education & recognition of optometry qualifications in India. The Indian Optometry Federation (IOF) is an umbrella organization of various associations. State associations are members of this association. Lobbying with govt about optometry rights etc. Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) works with the institutes to standardize curricula, infra structure and also towards capacity building of educators. These organizations are doing a good job in getting optometry recognized by the government and bringing standardization within the profession.  In other words, we are getting our house in order.

The other important aspect is creating awareness about the profession and getting public recognition. We need people to know about optometry and its scope. We want people to come asking for the optometrist for a comprehensive eye test. For that each optometrist has to offer the best clinical eye examination and provide the best services to patients.

This is exactly why I chose to focus on the awareness part. Looking at the students’ enthusiasm and creativity I thought they can definitely contribute a lot in this area. One fine day a group of optometry students and fresh graduates was formed and it still continues to work cohesively as one unit.

Role of youth

Almost everything that is great has been done by youth- Benjamin Disraeli

We are sitting on a gold mine. Probably it is the largest untapped resource. There are more than 50 institutes offering a 4-year B. Optometry program. Imagine the number of students graduating every year. Most of them are technologically savvy. They are very active on social media. They are happy to travel and meet new people. Most of the students I have seen are are passionate about the profession and want to contribute in a significant way. If we can channelize their energy and creativity, we can do wonders. There is no dearth of raw talent. They need direction. They need acknowledgement & recognition. More importantly they need to have the feeling that they belong to the community.

How have they contributed till now?

These students and fresh graduates have been very active in last twelve months or so. One group has started ‘Let’s RevolutionaryEYES’ – Social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, twitter and youtube. They regularly post content related to eyecare and eye related facts etc. The platform serves to both optometrists and public. As ‘World Optometry Day’ is celebrated across the world on 23rd March, 23rd of every month is dedicated to #Optometry #Eyecare. All social media channels are flooded with eye care related posts on this day. It is a great way to catch attention of people.

Another team created an explanatory video about scope of optometry. It covers what students are taught in a four-year course and what investigations an optometrist can perform. A poem composed by one group along with visuals was so well received by all that it even reached the govt. officials and was appreciated.

The Optometry Council of India (OCI) required eye awareness posters for their pan India campaign. These students conceptualized and designed posters with innovative ideas. Their efforts were recognized by OCI and Bausch + Lomb and these posters are being used extensively now.

This group also raised some fund through their efforts and contribution to the field. What is heartening to know is that they donated to the Kerala flood victims. Along with talent today’s optometry youth also has Good values.

Their energy and creativity were at display during awareness walks and street plays on World Sight Day.

Recently four new graduates under the supervision of Masterclass Optometry conceptualized and organized a program ‘Shaping Millennial’s for final year students. This program was developed considering what confusion a graduating student goes through. Over 225 students from 13 institutes were benefited from expert’s guidance.

Way forward 

We have just unlocked the potential of this goldmine. We need to keep nurturing these minds. They need to be kept busy in a right way. We are already working on a new project wherein the Optometry Council of India needs Optometrists to approach high schools and counsel the class 11,12 students about optometry, refractive errors and eyecare in general. Many of these fresh graduates from different parts of India have already offered to be a part of this project. We are really excited to see how it works. You never know, going forward we could help them find the right placement for work. Also, we could establish international links wherein these youngsters can freely interact with international students and experts.

The future definitely belongs to the youth. The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Its time for the senior optometrists to acknowledge their potential and help them convert it into performance. Young ODs need role models NOT just critics !!