o.d. to o.d.: Looking Ahead

Now is the time to set your goals for the year 2003 and beyond. This month's articles provide some ideas.

o.d. to o.d.
Looking Ahead
Now is the time to set your goals for the year 2003 and beyond. This month's articles provide some ideas.
BY NEIL B. GAILMARD, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O., Chief Optometric Editor

Now that the holidays are behind us, it feels good to settle back into our offices and focus on our practices. The beginning of the new year is the traditional time to revaluate business plans and set goals for the future. Two articles in this issue may help you do just that.

Opening Cold?

A new author, whom I think we may be seeing more of in the future, is Tom Miller, O.D., of North Carolina. This recent graduate of Southern College of Optometry offers a refreshingly optimistic view of the profession of optometry. He has reason to feel that way.

Since opening his new solo practice right out of school a couple years ago, he has achieved success very quickly. We all know doctors who opened cold -- but Dr. Miller did it recently, and he's still in the process. Of course, Tom worked hard to build his fledgling practice -- but he also worked smart. He shares his innovative and practical ideas for starting a practice on page 38.

Not just for recent grads

Tom's article is certainly not just targeted for recent optometry school graduates and students. Many optometrists, of all ages, in various employment modes of practice, dream of owning their own practices and being their own bosses. They contemplate making the switch and taking the plunge. These doctors may work for optometrists, ophthalmologists, optical chains, retail superstores, HMOs, the military, optometry schools or other organizations.

Sadly, there is a common and pervasive view that opening cold just can't be done today; that it's too difficult or too expensive. Which is why I love to run articles that clearly show that it can be done.

You can choose to take one of several roads on the path to practice ownership, such as buying a practice from a retiring doctor or joining a practice as an associate and becoming a partner over time.

But opening cold is the least expensive path to immediate ownership; an exam room full of equipment is less expensive than most cars. Of course there are other start-up costs, but they really can be manageable. And the rewards are tremendous. Tom's article will help and inspire readers who are thinking about opening a practice, and those who already have one.

The future of optometry

The other article I want to call your attention to in this issue is "The Future of Optometry" on page 47. While this story looks 10 to 20 years down the road, it's interesting to contemplate what could be. Senior Associate Editor René Luthe asked optometrists and optical industry leaders for their predictions on topics from managed care to instrumentation to contact lenses. She called upon an interesting cross-section of people, and you will recognize many of those who responded.

Opportunity knocks

Opportunity exists for doctors who can achieve or adopt some of these predictions earlier than anticipated -- or even right now. Innovation is continually rewarded in the marketplace.

Have a prosperous new year!

You may contact Dr. Gailmard at