"Careers for the Coming Decade 2010-2020:"
- THIRD LARGEST independent healthcare profession.
- According to the American Optometric Association, average annual income from the primary practice of optometry was $132,052 in 2011.
- Recent history – optometrists gained the rights to prescribe therapeutic pharmaceuticals:
- Optometry is now the primary entry point in the health care delivery system. Insurance payers want their members to see optometrists first!
- Third party insurance plans trust us to be the gatekeepers-- optometrists decide how eye care is accessed by patients because they can treat or triage ANY ocular problem
- Specialization occurring within optometric education creating more market demand for optometric services. (Cornea/Contact Lens, Pediatric Optometry, Vision Therapy, Low Vision).
- Optometrist continuing to provide 2/3’s+ of all eye care in the U.S.
- Will become even more recognized and respected as a major health care profession by all disciplines within the medical community.
- U.S. ophthalmic market totaled $27.2 billion (2006 poll) which is up 6.5 percent over two years ago. Private optometry accounts for the largest share of this market—approx. 39.1%.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics expects more than 24 percent growth through 2018.
- 75% of Optometrists make $59.91 an hour while seeing patients in clean, low-stress environments (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
- Aging population—Baby Boomers will need eye care.
- Rising third party payers want full service providers—that's optometrists!
- Pre and post-op care for Laser Vision Correction is done by optometrists—ophthalmology relies on us for this service.
- Occupational visual demands are greater than ever before.
- Optometry has the second highest small business success rate.
- Laws have changed in two U.S. states granting laser and surgical privileges to optometrists.
- Four Years of professional school for Doctor of Optometry—ready for licensure and practice.
- Increasing demand for co-management of patients with MD’s.
- Options of private practice, military, VA hospitals and HMO’s.