Ways to Overcome Optometry’s Biggest Hurdles

Ways to Overcome Optometry’s Biggest Hurdles

Posted by EyePromise on Feb 15th 2024

 Like other businesses, running an independent optometry practice comes with its challenges. Between standing out amongst competitors, staffing issues, and general patient satisfaction, practice success can seem like an overwhelming feat. However, Vittorio Mena, OD, MS, shared his suggestions for overcoming optometry’s biggest hurdles in a Review of Optometric Business article.

Challenge One: Burnout

Whether it’s affecting doctors, staff, or both, burnout can be a serious issue. The American Medical Association (AMA) identifies “burnout” as feelings of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization (lack of empathy or negative attitudes), or feeling of decreased personal achievement. The AMA also recorded that 63% of physicians are experiencing some level of burnout.

Burnout can be caused by several reasons, including trying to fit too many patients into a single day, difficulty working with insurance companies, staff turnover, and/or little to no time/energy for extracurricular activities. Some solutions Dr. Mena offered include:

  • Aim for quality patient interactions vs. quantity. A quality patient connection can remind those practitioners experiencing burnout why they became an optometrist in the first place. This also bolsters the patient experience and makes them feel like a person vs. just another exam.
  • Hire appropriately. Being short staffed can be a fast track to burnout. Hiring to fill roles is one aspect of business, but building a culture where the previous person in the role trains the new person can smooth out the transition.
  • Incentivize the team where possible. Giving your staff goals to work towards that has a little something in it for them can help keep their heads in the game. However, it’s important to note that these goals are SMART: Specific; Measurable; Attainable; Relevant; Timely. Offering goals that aren’t SMART could end up worsening burnout.

Challenge Two: Online Retailers

Shopping online is easy for patients, so it makes sense that they would seek out this option for things like glasses and contacts. However, maintaining an online storefront can be quite the undertaking. Dr. Mena has a few suggestions for competing with online retailers:

  • Match or beat online prices. This isn’t feasible for everyone, but independent optometrists have more control over pricing in their practices. Offering a price match can help patients make the decision to purchase in-practice vs. shopping online.
  • Offer bundles. Glasses and contact lenses are often purchased together. By offering a discount for these items when purchased, you can win some of those customers back from the online stores. If patients are adamant about not wearing contacts, offer a bundle with prescription sunglasses.
  • Offer lower cost options. Another opportunity that may not be for everyone, but again, independent practices have more control over inventory and what kinds of products they offer. By choosing to carry some less expensive frame options, you’re opening up your buying opportunities to those patients who may have otherwise elected to price shop.

Challenge Three: Buying Groups

As an independent optometry practice, it can be intimidating going up against large buying groups or private equity companies. However, Dr. Mena has some suggestions here, as well.

  • Focus on patient care. Creating an excellent patient experience helps differentiate your practice from group-owned practices. Additionally, taking an extra 5-10 minutes with patients helps them feel like you’re invested in their care and, therefore, they’ll be more open to investing in their eye health.
  • Focus on practice atmosphere and flow. Along the same lines as the above suggestion, independent optometrists have much more control over the look, feel, and flow of their practices. Work with your team to create an inviting but efficient flow for your patients.
  • Determine what makes your office different. Maybe it’s a specialized care like occasional dry eye, macular health, or blood sugar control issues. Maybe it’s offering a mobile optometry office so you can see your patients in their neck of the woods. Whatever you choose, make it unique to you.

The EyePromise® Solution

As the #1 nutraceutical choice of eye doctors and professional athletes, EyePromise offers a unique opportunity to both stand out and improve patient care. By working with EyePromise, you have access to the most comprehensive nutritional partnership in the industry known as the Zea Performance System™. Here’s how it works in just 4 easy steps:


Have all patients get a quick and easy MPOD test in the exam room with the self-administered Zx Pro™. The Zx Pro is the latest in MPOD measurement technology. This portable, light-weight device is equipped with an audio tutorial, making it easy for patients to self-administer the exam. The fast, non-invasive, monocular exam makes it easy to test almost any patient and delivers a numerical score to correlate to the patient’s level of risk for:

  • Blue light damage
  • Night driving or day glare challenges
  • Cognitive health concerns
  • Age-related eye health issues
  • Eye health related to diabetes


Determine which EyePromise nutraceutical your patient should take based on their lifestyle, health history, and risk factors. EyePromise eye health nutraceuticals are the most science-supported, comprehensive line available. Each formula is expertly crafted with the highest quality, natural ingredients. Third-party tested by NSF International for quality, purity, and formulation (what’s on the label is what’s in each dose), you can trust that EyePromise nutraceuticals meet your patients’ needs. Additionally, EyePromise nutraceuticals are backed by a 60-day, money-back satisfaction guarantee and a 6-month MPOD increase guarantee.


Take advantage of Auto Refill Program (ARP) to help boost patient compliance and maintain prescription refills. The Auto Refill Program (ARP) is the industry-leading compliance program for eye health nutraceuticals. The ARP delivers automatic shipments of the prescribed EyePromise nutraceutical to the patient’s home, eliminating the need for office inventory and follow-up. Additionally, it offers your patients additional savings that they won’t get from purchasing online, including free shipping and discounted bottles. Enrollment is easy with your personalized e-commerce page (created and maintained by EyePromise) that can be added to any computer, allowing staff to implement the program easily and efficiently.


Every patient measured should be scheduled for a 6-month follow-up retest to either track progress or verify a healthy score.

Beyond these easy-to-implement components, becoming an EyePromise partner also means unprecedented practice support. From in-practice patient education tools to staff trainings, EyePromise ensures that your practice is set up for success. To learn more, have your local EyePromise Regional Account Manager contact you!

There are always going to be challenges when running an optometry practice, but hopefully, some of the common hurdles just became a little less daunting.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.