The state of optometry: 3 tips to increase demand and revenue
"We're confident optometry will not only survive, but thrive."
Each week, AOA News is offering a new entry in a series based on "The State of the Optometric Profession: 2013." This report and summit from Optometry's Meeting® 2013 included analysis on key industry influencers.
Up this week: demand--and what it means for your practice.
Demand: Growth from existing patients and an aging population
Primary eye care represents a major market. According to the report, more than 200 million Americans require vision correction, which is 65 percent of the population.
With that in mind, new opportunities for optometry will come from increased demand from existing patients and expanded care for older populations and those at risk for eye disease.
In particular, demand for therapeutic eye care is projected to grow as the baby boomer generation ages. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the over-55 population will grow by 10 percent between 2010 and 2020. In turn, a 2 percent annual increase in the number of patients with diabetes, cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and age-related eye diseases will occur.
"We're confident optometry will not only survive, but thrive," said Mark Wright, O.D., Review of Optometric Business professional editor.
How to improve demand
Priorities to increase patient demand for eye care services include:
- Improve patient education. Consumer spending trends may produce only modest growth. ODs are encouraged to focus on educating patients about the benefits of regular exams and about advances in eyewear and contact lenses. Doing so can increase revenue per patient visit.
- Market medical eye care services. The report noted that this is the largest untapped revenue resource in OD practices.
- Capture new demand. Eye care benefits, including those related to government and other third-party plans, are set to expand. Optometrists can benefit from this expansion and access to a larger patient base.