Welcome!

News Feed Item

The end of high street opticians

LONDON, Jan. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The current high street model for optometry is bowing under pressure, with more and more practices closing down every year. The emphasis on sales rather than eye care is no good for anyone - opticians are being squeezed out by a business model that doesn't work, and consumers are being sold a false perception of the value of proper eye examinations.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140127/MN52948)

Opticians have become increasingly sales-driven - trying to attract customers with discounts, promotions and low prices. The majority of staff are unqualified sales assistants, and performance is measured by conversion rates. Clinical care has been devalued thanks to free eye test campaigns, and professionals are being pressured into spending shorter and shorter chair time with their patients.

In a bid to survive, many opticians are becoming more clinically specialised - studying for additional qualifications and/or investing in expensive technology in order to differentiate themselves from their competitors. But the cost of all this has to be met somehow, for example by charging more for examinations - and that is counter-intuitive to the current high street model.

Another threat to opticians is the availability of automated eye-testing technology. Steffan Rygaard, Founder and Managing Director of Visiondirect.co.uk, says: "Self-testing equipment and software are continuously being developed. An eye test requires both objective and subjective results, and both are not far off being completed by automation. You can download software to your mobile device and generate a prescription which is good enough to know your reading correction. Automated testing kiosks and booths are already in existence. High street opticians could end up as glorified salespeople."

But there is a major concern about this technology. Many eye diseases and other conditions can only be detected by a qualified optician through a comprehensive eye examination, carrying out vital tests that simply cannot be replicated by a machine. Opticians play a crucial role in primary care and the public depend on them to detect conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macula degeneration. In an increasingly ageing population, these are all becoming more widespread.

In the context of providing the essential healthcare function of early detection, diagnosis, treatment and management, it's clear that compromising the value of opticians is not in the public's best interests. But if opticians are to uphold their profession of looking after the health of people's eyes, then the business model is going to have to change. At the moment it's just not viable; opticians and the institutions representing them have mixed interests.

Consumer power plays a huge part in the current business model. Rygaard says: "The power of the consumer is far stronger than any governing force in the UK marketplace. Margins will be eroded from all angles. Contact lenses, and in fact all eye wear, will become cheaper and cheaper. The consumer wants to pay the lowest price and search engines, comparison sites and forums will catalyse this forward. Competition will mean that companies will continuously try to buy products from the lowest sources."

But if this is allowed to continue, the situation will become completely unsustainable. Could separating the clinical and commercial aspects of optometry be the answer? This would allow high standards of patient care to continue in a clinical setting - off the high street - and retailers to compete separately on prices and sales.

Rygaard certainly believes that there is a need for change: "I don't see how the future high street optician can compete without majorly evolving. The optician needs to be much more specialised. The future means that testing and screening becomes clinical and less high street. The product will be a fight for margins and slimming down your cost base. On a time scale, I predict it is likely to change within 10 years."

By separating the clinical and retail practices, the future of optometry could be much brighter for everyone. Rygaard says: "I believe the opticians and their services should to be protected to the extent that they are valued by the public, and profitable enough as standalone service providers without the need for retail/commercial sales to enter the equation. This is a win/win situation for the public and the professionals."

Written by Parag Patel for Visiondirect.co.uk

Media Contact: Gareth Woods, Visiondirect.co.uk, 0044-(0)8447454545, [email protected]

News distributed by PR Newswire iReach: https://ireach.prnewswire.com

SOURCE VisionDirect.co.uk

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
"DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited to help the great team at @DevOpsSUMMIT and CloudEXPO tell the world how they can leverage this emerging disruptive trend."
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
You want to start your DevOps journey but where do you begin? Do you say DevOps loudly 5 times while looking in the mirror and it suddenly appears? Do you hire someone? Do you upskill your existing team? Here are some tips to help support your DevOps transformation. Conor Delanbanque has been involved with building & scaling teams in the DevOps space globally. He is the Head of DevOps Practice at MThree Consulting, a global technology consultancy. Conor founded the Future of DevOps Thought Leade...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, discussed how to use Kubernetes to set up a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace. H...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Everyone wants the rainbow - reduced IT costs, scalability, continuity, flexibility, manageability, and innovation. But in order to get to that collaboration rainbow, you need the cloud! In this presentation, we'll cover three areas: First - the rainbow of benefits from cloud collaboration. There are many different reasons why more and more companies and institutions are moving to the cloud. Benefits include: cost savings (reducing on-prem infrastructure, reducing data center foot print, redu...
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term.
The technologies behind big data and cloud computing are converging quickly, offering businesses new capabilities for fast, easy, wide-ranging access to data. However, to capitalize on the cost-efficiencies and time-to-value opportunities of analytics in the cloud, big data and cloud technologies must be integrated and managed properly. Pythian's Director of Big Data and Data Science, Danil Zburivsky will explore: The main technology components and best practices being deployed to take advantage...
Most DevOps journeys involve several phases of maturity. Research shows that the inflection point where organizations begin to see maximum value is when they implement tight integration deploying their code to their infrastructure. Success at this level is the last barrier to at-will deployment. Storage, for instance, is more capable than where we read and write data. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Atwell, a Developer Advocate for NetApp, will discuss the role and value...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busi...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.