Meeting Minutes 2/16/2022

Location: Fry 33

Meeting Called by: Pre-Optometry Club

Duration: 45 minutes

Guest Speaker: Dr Fries: Mode of Practice in Optometry 



  • There are many ways to be an optometrist outside of private practice, including group practice, ophthalmology/optometry, public health/military/VA, interdisciplinary care, academic/research, corporate or professional affairs, etc.
  • Most optometrists practice in some form of a private practice, corporate is second and the OD/MD or multidisciplinary is third in popularity. 
  • Private Practice: individual, primary care, specialty (contact lenses, low vision, vision therapy, pediatrics, clinical trials, etc), or group practice. 
    • Advantages : freedom, quality of life, control, contentment 
    • Disadvantages: no freedom (?),  find work life balance, control, requires self discipline 
  • Retail/Corporate Optometry: you don’t work for Walmart/Costco but lease the space within their facilities. The companies do all the marketing for you, but don’t pay you. You make an earning from patients; You are incharge of the exam fees but no investment is necessary within the business (ie. sign a contract for a couple years and then leave). Limited starting salaries and opportunities but easy to find openings due to high turnover.
  • Interdisciplinary: hospital or clinic, FQHC, health clinic, hospital. As an optometrist, you would be a part of a team of providers for a patient, all coordinating care quickly. OSU has ties to an FQHC, Lower Lights Christian Health Center, students care for a diverse population with many conditions and lifestyles. 
  • Military: 3 branches (air force, navy and army) employ optometrists. They offer scholarship opportunities for schooling in return for service as well. No basic training is necessary, opportunities to practice and travel around the world. 
  • OD/MD: when optometrists work with/for opthamologists in a medical setting. Usually very large practices focused on pre/post surgical care or disease specific treatment. Examples: Cincinnati Eye Institute, Columbus Ophthalmology. 
  • VA Medical Center: veterans administration, hospitals run by the federal government treating veterans. Optometrists can practice to the highest level of scope of practice (because it is federally run) , usually requiring a residency, traditionally in a VA, and offers a benefit structure. 
  • Indian Health services: working on reservations, providing health care and eye exams. Unique patient population with unique eye conditions. Usually in rural settings, decent pay and benefits including loan repayment opportunities. 
  • Public Health: combines optometry and the world of population health, community based care (promote eye health, epidemiology and biostatistics). Opportunities may exist within public health departments. Expanded role of a lecturer or educator, educating the general population instead of one person. Work in health policy and research, working in labs for federal agencies (CDC, FDA…)
  • Academia/Research: Teaching at an academic institution (clinical or didactic). Research at an academic institution, government agency (grants, grant writing publishing, presenting). Usually requires advanced degrees beyond OD (ex. T-35 Program at OSU)
  • HMO: doctors employed by insurance companies (such as an HMO) to see their patients. Working as a salaried employee for insurance companies. 
  • Industry: Contact lens company (J&J, Cooper, B&L), Optical lab(Hoya, Shamir), Pharmaceutical companies, surgical companies. Less practicing more human relations. 
  • Consultant: lecturer, practice consultant or key opinion leader. Older optometrists looking for a change/less practicing. Usually comes later in career when some experience and knowledge has been gained about the industry.