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Pros & Cons of Corporate Optometry

The optical retail industry has great potential for profit and professional security. The Vision Council’s 2023 inSights report estimated the industry’s market value at $76.5 billion in 2022, with over 48,000 brick-and-mortar optometry practices throughout the country. But what’s the best way to find success in this industry? For some, corporate optometry may be the best option. Let’s look at what this entails, its perks and downsides, and a potential alternative: an optometry franchise like Pearle Vision.

An Overview

Corporate optometry refers to an optometry practice owned by a large company/corporation. Individual locations are owned by the parent corporation, which employs the on-site staff. Corporate-owned optometry practices can have various positions available, including:

  • Optometrists – staff who conduct eye exams and tests to assess patient eye health and visual conditions.
  • Certified paraoptometrics – staff who record patient medial history, prepare patients for exams and instruct patients in how to use contact lenses and eyeglasses.
  • Certified ophthalmic assistants – staff who administer diagnostic tests and medications.

Other positions often employed at these practices are receptionists to help with patient scheduling and opticians who dispense and/or repair eyewear.

The Benefits and Drawbacks

Pursuing a corporate optometry career may be the right fit for you, but it’s a decision that should be considered carefully. Like any position, there are pros and cons to factor in.


  • A career in corporate optometry gives you options even if you don’t have a lot of business experience. The company owns and runs the practices, so it’s a good choice if you’re not interested in having a lot of administrative responsibility.
  • Most corporate-owned practices offer a good starting salary, since the practice is fully owned by the company and all its staff are company employees.
  • Some optometry corporations offer their staff student debt assistance, so if you’re looking for help paying off loans, this may be your best career option.
  • Optometry corporations often incorporate new, innovative customer care technology and techniques.
  • Being a part of a large corporation means you are part of a company that can make a global impact with its operation; you might be best suited for this type of optometric work if you’re concerned with being part of thought leaders and trendsetters in the industry.


  • Being an employee of an optometry corporation can exclude you from certain insurance panels; you need to be prepared to turn some patients away due to not being on an accepted insurance panel.
  • Some corporate practices may have proprietary or preferred products that you’ll be required to offer patients even if it’s not the best treatment option for them; you’ll have to be ready to sell the products your company prioritizes.
  • A corporate-owned practice has to set their prices according to company direction. While factors such as economic inflation may affect your expenses, you have to be prepared to defer to your parent company when it comes to prices for services like eye exams.
  • A company-owned practice is directly affected by changes to the parent company. You need to be ready to adapt to changes like parent company mergers and large-scale industry movements that may result in the company changing their policies and required practices.

Franchise Optometry: An Alternative

A corporate practice may be the best choice for those looking for a position that is secure and with limited responsibilities. However, for professionals like you with more ambition who want more control over their practice, an optometry franchise like Pearle Vision may be a better choice. Franchising offers similar benefits to a company-owned practice with fewer drawbacks. As a franchisee of Pearle Vision, you’d be the owner of your own practice, meaning its profits are your own. You’re able to hire your own staff, rather than a parent company hiring your coworkers.

A franchisor like Pearle Vision also provides franchisees like you with many of the same support services a parent company would, such as market research, large-scale advertising, and administrative support services. You’ll have much more operational flexibility, so long as you meet franchisor requirements and brand standards. A franchise like Pearle Vision also allows you more opportunities for growth, such as expanding an existing location or opening additional ones.

Whatever path you choose for your professional future, making an informed decision is important. Whether working for a corporation-owned practice or purchasing a franchise of your own, you’ll be much happier and fulfilled following the path that feels right for you.

Open Your Eyes to Opening a Pearle Vision Practice

We’re eager to welcome you to our retail optometry franchise. Our brand has 50+ years of experience to share with you. From onboarding, site selection, and ongoing training to marketing and administrative support, we’re with you every step of the way. Get started by submitting a franchise form today and learn more about franchising with Pearle Vision.


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