Article Date: 11/1/2009

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from the sponsor

Dear Colleagues:

Recently I had a conversation with my eldest son, and I shared that conversation with Carole. My son had completed his first month of college and was beginning to think more seriously about his career path. Although I am a second-generation optometrist, I've never really talked to him in any great detail about selecting optometry as a career. I've only done my best to demonstrate why optometry has been a great career for me.

I found it interesting to listen to colleagues' comments when I mentioned my son had shown interest in the profession. Colleagues who are actively involved in organized optometry were extremely positive. Many have sons and daughters who are in optometry school or recently graduated from an optometry program. They were extremely positive about their offspring joining the ranks and felt very gratified about their children's career choice. On the other hand, I experienced a few optometrists who weren't so positive. They seemed to be bogged down in the issues of managed health care and the fact that they�re working harder to make the same money they did in years past.

I wanted to better understand those who were less positive about the profession, in order to be sure I was seeing the big picture. I observed that most of them felt very constrained. They'd been doing the same thing for so many years that they seemed unable to grasp the opportunities and diversity of paths afforded by our profession. There was, in my mind, a lack of creativity and open thinking about the opportunities that exist for a young graduate today.

It's my opinion that an optometric career allows for a very diverse set of options. It affords you, the young practitioner, the ability to work in a wide variety of rural and urban environments, such as independent practice, retail practice, group practice (MD, OD or both), hospital-based practice, managed healthcare practice, primary research, clinical research, academia and industry. Additionally, there are many subspecialties that allow graduates to pursue specific areas of the profession they�re passionate about, such as disease, contact lenses, vision therapy, pediatrics, geriatrics, low vision and sports vision. And this is just the beginning.

In the end, I encouraged my son to consider optometry, because it affords the opportunity for a great career with a tremendously wide range of options for those willing to think broad and think big. I should note that when I asked the "negative" colleagues if they had to do it over again would they still choose optometry, the answer was always "yes."

The future of optometry is in good hands. New OD is here to help. Let us know what you think!

All the best,
Howard and Carole

Carole Bratteig
Professional Education Manager
Transitions Optical, Inc.

Howard B. Purcell, OD, FAAO, Dipl.
Vice President
Customer Development Group
Essilor of America

Optometric Management, Issue: November 2009