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Corporate and Independent Optometry – What’s the Difference?

There are pros and cons of taking your business to a corporate practice or an independent practice. What are the fundamental differences between a corporate or and independent establishment? What does that mean for your eyes and eye health? This week, we’ll discuss the features and benefits between a corporate and independent optometry practice.

What is Corporate Optometry?

In the optical industry, the term corporate optometry applies to group practices and large commercial establishments which controls a significant market share of the industry. In most cases, this is your standard everyday optometry store located in a shopping mall would most likely fit the definition of corporate optometry practice.

Being a part of a large commercial and retail practice means you have a strong influence in the optical industry. Solid guidelines are written on how these firms are to operate, especially if they are a part of a franchising model. As a result, these commercial practices have procured strong supply chain logistics, most likely through overseas channels, which results in reduced consumer prices. Prices can remain even more competitive if the corporate practice adopts a vertical retail model.

To ensure prices remain competitive, as a consumer, your options are artificially limited. You don’t have a much of choice in terms of lens options, coatings and frames. Most commercial retail outlets have 2 to 3 lens options without any further customisation to the consumer’s needs. For example, there are a lot of different types of multifocal lenses available in the market. Award-winning reputable laboratories like Rodenstock produce some of the best multifocal lenses on the market. Lens offered from vertical retail outlets only stock their house brand (Homebrand) lenses, which may or may not work for the consumer, and certainly aren’t very customisable. There range is limited, and the consumer is often forced to make a decision based on price, rather than clinical need.

Commercial optometry outlets have very little wriggle room to be flexible and often offer a “suitable substitute.”

Understanding Independent Optometry

Think about the last time you went to McDonald’s. Apart from a Big Mac of McChicken, you don’t have much of other different choices. What if you want your burger steaks done medium rare? It’ll be odd to ask for this type of request, but not at your local, independently owned fancy burger joint.

A Capital Eye, we make lens and frame recommendations based on your latest prescription, your clinical need and how you use them. This is to ensure that you are not making unnecessary compromises. We have access to a wide variety of international and local labs to ensure your requirements are met.

Independent optometry practices, like Capital Eye, are not contractually tied to any given wholesaler or supplier. This gives us the clinical freedom to dispense and source glasses, lenses and contact lenses that suits and meets the need of our patients.

Your Optometrists

Could you recall the name optometrist you saw last? If you did happen to remember, did you manage to see the same optometrist again? In the scene of corporate optometry, it is quite often (not always) to see a different optometrist each visit.

Optometrist contracts are usually two years, which is conveniently, on average, is the timeframe of your routine review. So for each biennial eye check you have, you’re more likely to see a different optometrist.

Because of the vast expansion and location of these corporate practices, it is not uncommon to rotate the clinical staff locally, or even nationally. This means, even though you want to see a particular clinician; it is not always guaranteed.

At Capital Eye, like most independently owned optometry practice, being an owner-operator establishment, you are more likely to see the same optometrist each time you have your routine eye check. We value this clinician-client relationship as it makes managing our patients easier and avoids you having to speak to multiple people with the same issue. This guarantees our work to be clear and consistent, and to ensure you are always looked after by the same great staff each time.

The Bottom Line

What sets independent and corporate optometry apart is the service. Not in the sense how well you are treated, but in terms of full-scope optometry practice, and options which may be available to you which may not be discussed.

For example, at Capital Eye, we have state-of-the-art technologies for diagnosing and the treatment of dry eyes. A practice, be it corporate or independent may not have this piece of technology, and it is unlikely to be discussed during your initial consultation. Each mode of practice has its pros and cons. It is up to the consumer to decide which mode of practice would best suit their needs.

At Capital Eye, we believe in giving independent advice and discussing a range of option which would not leave you short-changed. If you are overdue for an eye check, you can make an appointment instantly online. We welcome you to our Capital Eye family.