Article Date: 12/1/2011

From The Sponsor

From The Sponsor

We're All in This Together

The world is getting smaller. How many times have you heard that lately? We talk about it in relation to commerce, communication and socialization but do we talk about it enough as it relates to optometry?

As we've both spent significant time traveling around the world engaging with our optometric colleagues, we wanted to share a glimpse into our profession from separate trips we recently took to the UK.

Howard had the opportunity to visit the UK for meetings, while Pete was in London for the World Council of Optometry Governing Board. During our trips, we had the chance to meet many optometric colleagues, office administrators and opticians/technicians. It was a real education, as we continued to glean a great deal about our profession through the eyes of our colleagues outside the United States.

The first observation, which is hard to miss, relates to the incredible respect and admiration our colleagues have for us and how far we've come within the field of optometry. While the UK was able to utilize diagnostic pharmaceuticals in the 1930s, our colleagues in England still aren't permitted to prescribe therapeutics and are primarily focused on refraction. However, that doesn't tell the full story. Our colleagues (more female than male graduates) are very committed to the profession. They love what they do and truly want to work for progress and expanded scope — but they need our help.

From the minute we arrived, it was clear that a very dominant player existed in the vision care space. This organization is hard to miss. Turn on any TV or radio or drive round the roadways and you'll hear about, an organization that is outspending nearly everyone inside and outside of the optical category on advertising. They have had a very significant impact on the independent practitioner. The power of their marketing efforts, along with a high-end environment, incredible customer service and rock-bottom prices makes this group a true and unique force in the optical category. This single entity has had a very significant impact on the independent and has reduced their numbers dramatically.

So, why should this be of any concern to us? Well, in a world that continues to get smaller, what we see in other parts of the world is likely to be seen in our own back yard. Gone are the days (if they ever existed) when the only unique business models were born in the United States. The future of our success in optometry will continue to be dominated by what happens in North America, but an astute practitioner will also watch the trends outside of our geographical boundaries. An astute optometrist will learn all he can about what's happening in other countries and will consider this information as he makes decisions on how his practice will grow and change.

Yes, the world is getting smaller and access to information is overwhelming, but keeping close to global discoveries and business trends will allow all of us to better serve the needs of our patients and help prepare us for what is to come. No one likes surprises.

It was great to see so many of you in Boston for AAO. Your enthusiasm and passion for the profession is clear and to be admired. Happy Holidays!

All the best,
Pete & Howard

Dr. Peter Kehoe
Professional Development Advisor,
Transitions Optical, Inc.

Dr. Howard B. Purcell
Vice President, Customer Development Group,
Essilor of America

Optometric Management, Issue: December 2011