Written By Despina
Contributing Optometrist

I have been reading Steve’s post in the forum entitled ‘The Dark Side of the Vision Industry’,  and it brought back memories of the good old days in the optics business. The family-run business, providing a professional service to loyal patients that came back year after year, the child patients that grew into adult patients, and the ones that came in just for a chat. Sometimes they needed new prescriptions, sometimes they didn’t. Perhaps we were imparting old-timey pseudoscientific knowledge (Jake, I hear you), but that was what we thought was right, back then.

Then, as Steve said so rightly, the big multiple companies moved in, with their quantity-over-quality policy, price-cutting and salary cutting, quickie 15-minute eye-tests-unless-you-pay-for-extras, plus a different optometrist every time you visit. The optometry business is tricky; it’s a medical profession plus a fashion retail business, all in one. These big guys are forgetting the point, and letting the latter take over the former. But patients are tempted by two-for-one made in China special offers, it’s a sign of the times, so these companies are getting bigger and bigger while the small businesses suffer.

So take Steve’s advice and choose your optometrist carefully. Just as I avoid dentists that put braces on every 7 year-old, and pathologists that recommend an MRI scan for every minor head-ache, you can avoid the sharks and find an optometrist that actually cares. I assure you they are out there.