At our recent Network meeting at the Gaylord Resort in Nashville, over 100 optometrist owners gathered to share ideas, analyze their own performance against their peers and lay out plans for the next several months. The optimism was high, and the ideas flowed. The energy was palpable.
During this past session, I celebrated my 50th year in eyecare by presenting “A Retrospective Perspective.” This look at history and the disruptions created by such new entries into the market as Lenscrafters, Walmart, 1-800 Contacts, Warby Parker and others was superimposed over the growth of our market. With all the disruption and innovation that has occurred over the past 50 years, one thing has rung true. The market has grown exponentially as a result. Despite the gloom and doom voiced by many, the eye care industry has grown by over 2000 percent during the past five decades. Optometry has fared very well.
But what’s next? What impact will telemedicine play in optometry? Will artificial intelligence take over the subjective refraction and the detection of disease, making an eye exam delivered at a kiosk in the mall possible? Will genetic editing replace the need for optometry? Will 3D printing allow for the manufacturing of frames AND lenses on-site? Innovation is coming on-line almost daily in our profession…does it spell the end of optometry? Or the beginning of a new era?
Innovation can be scary, for sure. But these technological advancements drive an almost undebatable prediction…that the eyecare industry will almost double in size in the next decade! That’s right, the prognosticators anticipate 6.5% annual compound growth in demand over the next decade. This is thanks to an aging population and the increased demands on our visual system. Said another way, progressive optometrists are almost guaranteed a doubling of opportunity over the next ten years. No, the sky isn’t falling on optometry. No, the end of private practice is not in sight. Indeed, this next decade spells unprecedented opportunity for those who are prepared.
But will technology replace the personal care approach by optometrists? Yes! In the same way that the vending machine has replaced farm-to-table restaurants. Yes! In the same way that Amazon has replaced the small-town bookstore (our local Green Toad Bookstore, by the way, is booming). Yes! In the same way that grocery delivery has
replaced the shopping experience. Yes! In the same way that small farms delivering fresh produce at Farmer’s Markets are dying…a collective NOT!
Such initiatives have impact, for sure. They’ve made restaurants, bookstores and farmers better. And our industry’s own disruptions have done the same thing…they’ve made optometry better.
So, if you’re wondering what’s around the corner and how you can tap into our industry’s growth curve, give us a call. For over 30 years we’ve been helping the owners of larger practices achieve breakthroughs both personally and professionally. It starts with curiosity…give us a call and find out.