Optometry has changed significantly in the last 10 to 15 years. From the advancements in multifocal lenses, to the disposable nature of contact lenses and everything else in between. There are now more optometry retailers than ever, with most of those being owned by large Corporate entities who treat each individual as a “consumer” rather than as a traditional “patient”.
Now, some interesting things you may, or may not have known. There are multiple types of “business models” in optometry. These range from Corporations, Franchises, Buying Groups and Independent standalone optometrists.
- Corporations are generally owned by a corporate entity with a head office which controls what happens in each location.
- Franchises are companies owned by an individual who have bought the rights to sell a “company’s” goods (generally a corporation).
- Buying Groups are independent practices which combine together to leverage increased purchasing power to deliver better pricing and products for their patients
- Independent standalone are practices who do not identify with the above and are owned by individuals.
Most people may have noticed that in the last decade, there has been a significant amount of advertising material which specifically mention value and budget in terms of spectacles and contact lenses with the slogan “No Gap”. The not so obvious change is that the majority of this has been done by Multi-national corporate entities (Corporations and Franchises) based overseas whose sole goal is to saturate the market and increase their profits while delivering “budget” products rather than focusing on patient care.
In the 90’s there were approximately 100 optometrists graduating each year, which has risen to almost 360 in 2016. Now this increase in training of optometrist is mainly due to the aging population with baby boomers hitting the 50-70 years of age requiring more personalised care.
Did you know, that at the start of 2015, there was a 5% cut to optometry rebates? According to the government, they are estimated to save about $90 million over 4 years. How does this make any sense, when our population is aging, yet we are cutting funding to healthcare?
We have heard significantly about supporting our farmers, supporting local Australian businesses and jobs, as well as Australian manufacturing, however rarely hear of supporting our Australian health care providers.
So the next time you think “I need an eye-test” or notice that your vision isn’t as good as it used to be, don’t forget to think about the future of Australian Eye Care; seek an Australian Owned company like Eyecare Plus or an independent optometrist, where we treat you for who you are, and not for what you spend. Why should you be told to put a price on your health?
For more information on eye health and eye conditions or to find your local Eyecare Plus optometrist visit: www.eyecarevision.com.au
Optometrists are experts in vision care who diagnose, manage and treat a wide range of vision problems, eye diseases and ocular conditions. By prescribing spectacles, contact lenses, vision aids and other treatments, optometrists help their patients maximise and retain good vision for life.