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    Would you want your kids to become optometrists?

    The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica.

    I have two kids in college, and up until last year, they never showed an interest in becoming an optometrist. Like many of you, I had them work in the offices doing all the glamour jobs—licking recall stamps, counting frames, taking out trash, cleaning baseboards, and many of the other jobs that often cause a revolt of paid employees.

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    Eventually both kids did work in the office doing “real” jobs like patient pre-testing and selling glasses. However, this was always more a job of convenience and necessity rather than of passion. Neither of them showed an interest in actually being an optometrist.    

    Then suddenly two years ago at Christmas, both started asking what I thought about them going to optometry school. Since that time, I have had an opportunity to give more than 50 lectures, and it is generally a question I pose to the audience.

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    I ask the audience to disregard the kid’s personality and just ask from a professional standpoint: would they recommend optometry as a profession? In my ultra-scientific poll of hand raising and head shaking along with audience discussion, it appears that the consensus is 35 percent “yes” and 65 percent “no.”

    Most of those saying “no” cite decreased reimbursements, high cost of student loans, and an increase in the regulatory environment as the reasons for saying no.

    Next: Supply and demand

    Carl H. Spear, OD, MBA, FAAO
    Dr. Spear owns a multi-location group practice with his wife Dr. Katie Gilbert Spear in Pensacola, FL. Dr. Spear is commander of the ...


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