Article

THE FUTURE IS FEMALE.

The rise of women in corporate optometry is undeniable. Here, 4 women O.D.s share why corporate optometry is a perfect fit.

Though there are still more male optometrists practicing today in the U.S. than female O.D.s, things are about to change.

According to the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), nearly 70% of the students enrolled last year as full-time optometry students in the U.S. were women. ASCO numbers also show that female optometry students have outnumbered male students throughout the last decade.

As they graduate, female optometrists will be faced with the same career choices as their male colleagues. One of those choices: whether to enter corporate optometry. And, the reasons why corporate optometry is an attractive choice—for women, particularly—are varied.

Partnering with a corporate optical allows O.D.s to be successful without the financial outlay of opening cold or buying a practice. Or, owning a clinic adjacent to a corporate optical is a way to practice without the extensive work, product maintenance, and staffing responsibilities that go into running a full practice. For some women, other benefits such as flexibility, mobility, and life-work balance carry equal importance.

Here, we check in with four female optometrists on why they chose to work in corporate optometry—and how it became a perfect fit for them and their lifestyle.

BECAUSE I WANT FLEXIBILITY.

Why Corporate Optometry Works for Me.

“I joined corporate optometry because my husband was active-duty Navy, and moving every three years is not conducive to owning a private practice.”

Corporate optometry, often with locations throughout the country, does offer the flexibility to work in different locations and move around as needed. Many young O.D.s like to be able to relocate easily and travel to other opportunities for themselves or their partner. Corporate optometry provides that flexibility to move within the company across the country and not have to worry about getting another job and starting over.

BECAUSE I VALUE A RESPECTED NAME.

Why Corporate Optometry Works for Me.

“I like working in partnership with For Eyes because I can focus on eye care without the high pressure of eyewear and contact lens sales. I like to spend an adequate amount of time with each patient. I have seen patients for over 20 years in Bethesda. Ten of those years were with For Eyes, a corporate name with a more community and personal vibe.”

Many O.D.s, like Dr. Lerner, enjoy simply doing what they do best and what they went to school for—taking care of patients. Employment in corporate optometry allows not only the flexibility to transfer from one state to another within the company, it also allows O.D.s to focus only on their exam rooms.

Corporate opticals also come with instant name recognition and, often, a longtime membership in the community.

BECAUSE I WANT A BALANCE.

Why Corporate Optometry Works for Me.

“I have zero interest in running an optical and managing employees, so I never wanted my own private practice. I found an opportunity working for another Walmart O.D. after I graduated, took over another store a couple years later, and have never looked for another job since.”

Learning to run an optometric business and expanding one’s clinical skills is a great reason why many young female O.D.s choose corporate optometry as a career path (or at least a career starter). It offers optometrists the ability to focus on eye care and build a patient base, while at the same time providing the space they want to grow at a personal level and have a family.

BECAUSE LIFE MOVES FAST.

Why Corporate Optometry Works for Me.

“My first job out of school was corporate. It’s nice to just show up and do exams, and I don’t have to worry about the staff. Benefits like paid time off and a 401(k) match are all perks as well. In the future, I will keep my options open as I plan to expand my family one day.”

Many corporate opticals will provide health benefits at 30 hours a week or four days a week. Some corporate opticals will allow an employed O.D. to convert to sublease after the location has been built up. This allows O.D.s to “have it all” when raising a family and then switching to a sublease situation as family financial obligations change over the years.

MORE ONLINE

Join the “Corporate Optometry on Facebook” group (facebook.com/groups/corporateoptometry ).

Upon graduating from optometry school, many young women will find that corporate optometry aligns with their desires to practice optometry in a way that is flexible and convenient, balances what they want in life with employment or a sublease situation, and allows them to adjust their focus as they get older and their life or career desires change.

Corporate optometry often presents a unique opportunity to feel like you have your own business—without the additional hassles of running your own business. It allows O.D.s to focus on the things that O.D.s want to focus on—and that is patient care. COT!