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Private Practice Optometrist: What It Is and How to Become One

Optometry is a field with broad appeal. There’s the medical aspect of the industry, improving the lives of those in need of better eyecare, and there’s also the business side for those who want to own and operate a business in a thriving, growing market. In this blog, we’ll look at what it means to be a private practice optometrist, the perks and challenges, and how to start an optometry practice, like those operated under the Pearle Vision brand.

An Optometry Overview

Most private practice optometrists provide primary eye care services while also making eyewear available to their patients. The optometrist’s regular duties and responsibilities may include:

  • Providing regular eye exams
  • Prescribing glasses or contact lenses
  • Diagnosing eye conditions and prescribing medications
  • Educating patients on eye health
  • Developing treatment plans based on test results
  • Advising patients on the best eyewear solutions for their needs

An optometry practice also offers a range of eyeglass frames from various manufacturers. Styles and brands of eyewear may differ between practices. This can add to the challenge of running a practice, but there are ways to make it easier, like joining a franchise. A franchise like Pearle Vision will provide support services to simplify things like setting up supply chains and handling billing.

Pros and Cons

Every industry has its strengths and weaknesses, perks and challenges. When you become a private practice optometrist, you can look forward to having a good work-life balance, thanks to a field that allows you to have regular business hours during the work week; these hours may fall outside the typical 9-5 bracket, and may also include weekends. Your work environment will also be a clean, safe one that doesn’t carry a lot of risks to your own health. You can choose from a variety of optometry specializations, such as pediatric eye care, geriatric optometry, contact lens fitting, and more. Lastly, there’s great career stability and potential for growth. Market analysts IBISWorld reports that as of January 2024, the optometry market in the U.S. is valued at $24.3 billion, and market size is projected to grow through 2029.

There are, however, challenges to being an optometrist. First, you’ll need to meet the stringent educational requirements, which include a bachelor’s degree and a Doctor of Optometry degree. Another challenge is licensing; every state requires optometrists to get a state-issued license by passing examinations, and many require regular renewal. Lastly, there’s limited opportunity for professional collaboration. Most optometrists operate independently, so you can end up with a sense of isolation from other professionals in eyecare.

A franchise like Pearle Vision can help alleviate some of these downsides. We provide a comprehensive training course to ensure you know what’s needed to run your practice, and with our proven business model, you’ll be able to capitalize on your local market. We’ll help guide you through all the necessary steps to open your practice and stick with you during your time as a franchisee, so you’re never alone.

Opening a Business to Open Eyes

Opening an optometry practice is best done with forethought and preparation. First, you want to research the market in which you plan to open your practice and find out what local patients need in terms of eyecare. When you know what your future patients may need, you can create a business plan with goals and methods to achieve them.

Depending on the size of your practice, you may need to hire staff, such as a receptionist, eyewear salesperson or optician, and a medical technician. Consider your size and space requirements as well when looking for a good location; you want a place with suitable space, located in an easy-to-find spot for patients, visible to traffic.

It’s important to invest in quality medical technology to give your patients the best possible care. You also want to develop a marketing strategy to help attract and retain patients. Finally, once you’re ready, have a grand opening to get an influx of initial patients, and over time, make sure to maintain and improve your quality of service in response to patient input and feedback.

With all that’s required to open and operate an optometry practice, you may want a helping hand and guidance. This is where franchising may be your best way to professional success. A franchisor like Pearle Vision will be with you every step of the way. You’ll be provided with training in how to operate a practice under the brand, location selection assistance, experienced advice whenever you need it, administrative services like market research and large-scale advertising, and more. Running an optometry practice can be a rewarding and fulfilling professional endeavor, and franchises like Pearle Vision are ready to equip you for your best chance at success.

Pursue Your Vision of Success with Pearle Vision

We’re eager to welcome ambitious practice owners like you to the Pearle Vision team. The optical industry is growing, and we want optometrists like you to help us grow into more markets. Fill out a franchise form today to get started with franchising with Pearle Vision.


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