POP-UP POLL: If You Had It To Do All Over Again - RESULTS


WO asked: What factors do you feel contribute to your answer for the question above? Here's what you responded.

Optometry has opened doors I never even knew existed. Couldn't have made a better choice!

leadership role in the practice, some flexibility in schedule, academic/research relationships

Boredom with the routine. And loneliness being the only OD. Would've been nice to have been part of a group.

Managed Career, Over entitlement of patients

I have always enjoyed helping people solve their vision difficulties. This is especially true with the very young (vision therapy) and the older patient (low vision). Also the ability to control my own destiny.

Too many regulations, reimbursement decreasing for the medical and vision insurances, my costs going up, increased optical competition including the internet

Dropped all vision plans.

Recently sold to private equity investors - focus has always been on building relationships and providing superior performance - now emphasis is on price of glasses and contacts for attracting patients.

I had high hopes and optimism when I started. Over my career I've been discouraged by having to fight and scrabble and defend my right to treat and diagnose patients. It's a chronic underdog syndrome and it's wearisome.

Lowering my expectations of optometry

Managed care, too much commoditization of eye care, and the entitlement mentality of patients are all factors which have ruined optometry.

Lack of personal time and income not as expected

Working full time corporate now and I feel burned out.

I am enjoying the practice ownership because of the autonomy.

I love my private practice and the autonomy it gives me.

Sick and tired of Medicare/insurance/coding rat race Spend more time debating codes than taking care of the patient.

Too many regulatory changes take away the joy of treating patients.

EHR , Bureaucracy and government intervention.

I'm my own boss now... I call the shots.

I am an independent office owner and I like the flexibility and creating my own destiny. I may have joined a couple of practice management groups earlier in my practice and may have done a little better financially

I'm more confident in my skill level. I just am blessed to live in a beautiful place with amazing family and friends.

Lack of income, long hours, lack of respect for our profession by other health professionals and insurance companies.

went from associate in private group practice to part owner/partner

Meaningful use, HIPPA audit concerns, rising IT costs/issues have taken some joy away from concentrating on our patients.

I am appreciated as a healthcare professional.

Our profession is devalued by vision plans and corporate optometry. The reimbursement rate is poor and most ODs have to supplement income by selling glasses and contacts etc. I went to school to be a doctor and should be able to make a decent living on exam fees. Vision plans reimburse $40-65 for an exam and this has not increased over the past 15 years. I don't own an optical and don't want to. I work in 2 private practice offices, I don't take vision plans at the main one, but unfortunately the office I work at 1 day a week does. The optical owner pays me more per patient than the vision plans reimburse, so that makes it a little more feasible. I can think of no other profession that goes to school for 8 or more years that would take such low reimbursement. I think our optometric association should stand up for us with this, but it doesn't. It just pushes for extra board certification, which only costs the ODs more money, and for what? To get that $40 exam fee? It doesn't add up to me. I have no problem with doctors making money on glasses, but that should be the icing on the cake, not the bread and butter. All optometrists that I talk to these days do not recommend their children or other students to go to optometry school. Unfortunately over 50% of optometry school go into to corporate settings, which I understand due to the debt load they incur these days, but for most ODs this is not their dream. I still like what I do, but not near as much as I used to.

Personal and professional gratification of improving quality of lives through vision

I am in private practice and own my building

Low pay. Overwhelming debt. No respect. No future.

being my own boss and having great staff. and having a very wonderful husband.

increased competition, lower than expected compensation (no paid time off, no benefits, no pay increase in the last 9 years), politics, uncertainty of the future of the profession

I am able to practice our profession utilizing maximally the training I received...am able to spend the necessary time with a patient, without someone knocking on the door and saying 'hurry up' and also without being warned about not changing eyeglass prescriptions (when not necessary) to enable more sales. I can also pray with patients who are really hurting, and not be concerned about losing my job...I do work very hard and long hours but truly enjoy what I do...am very thankful for Optometry and feel very privileged to be in a profession that enables me to impact peoples' lives effectively.

Optometry is boring and has poor business opportunities.

I love what I do! But my income is not what I need to sustain a successful retirement. Since I am self-employed, I have no "benefits". I look at my friends from high school and college who became firefighters or teachers or xxx that are now retiring with pensions, and I will be working at least another 15 years.

Technology problems

Insurance and retail degradation

Practice in different setting ie not commercial

The margins in optometry are shrinking rapidly. Glasses and contacts, the bread and butter of profits, are increasingly going online, while VCPs pay less for the exam than ever and force us into billing through them instead of better paying medical insurance. You either do high volume VCP or try to bill medical insurance out the wazoo, which is increasingly difficult in this high deductible world where the now disgruntled patient is having to pull that money out of their pocket before their deductible is met. Most of us are running faster (um, excuse me “leaner”) just to keep the same income. You can’t make a reasonable living doing regular eye exams at a reasonable pace anymore. Everyone has to have a schtick to hope to be profitable.
I hate that every time this kind of poll is taken and results come out they ignore every stated concern and come up with some fake, rug-sweeping answer for the article. "So, in conclusion, optometry is still a great profession! It's what you make of it! Do better to embrace it and you'll reap rewards!" Crap journalism. You shouldn't dismiss 40%+ - literally the majority of respondents - as "discontents". Hello, the default satisfaction is falling and many are unhappy with their wages/working conditions. Unless you manage to be in the top 20%, it's not a good profession. Please don’t take the sunny outliers that inherited daddy’s practice, had no or low student loans, and nepotism-track wage as the gospel truth and inexplicably dismiss everyone else. For the rest of us, it’s a grim future growing dimmer by the day as profit margins shrink, our own healthcare insurance costs skyrocket, and we are reduced to a commodity that many would like to condense to an app within 15 years. Sure, there’s medical to treat. But not nearly enough to go around and sustain everyone, especially with the coming oversupply.
Just asking this question “would you do it again…” is telling. If you have to ask, you already know your answer.

Working part time.

insurance companies and the wack a code mentality suck the joy out of practice

Online and big box retail competition for material goods, Limitations of licensure, social media.

The medical practice I worked in was very MD controlled - ODs were only permitted to do routine exams and refraction. All symptomatic patients (red eyes, flashes, floaters, etc) went to the MD clinic. I invested too much time and energy learning disease to practice that way, so I left.

provide niche optometry

Own practice. More headaches but in control (I think!)

Predatory mentors in the early years.

Optometry is poorly positioned among healthcare professionals.

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