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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Akvelon will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Akvelon is a business and technology consulting firm that specializes in applying cutting-edge technology to problems in fields as diverse as mobile technology, sports technology, finance, and healthcare.
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, will introduce two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera offers a radically new approach to data management, where innovative software makes data infrastructure invisible, elastic and able to perform at the highest level. It eliminates hardware lock-in and gives IT organizations the choice to source x86 server nodes, with business model option...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, I provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading the...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
Historically, some banking activities such as trading have been relying heavily on analytics and cutting edge algorithmic tools. The coming of age of powerful data analytics solutions combined with the development of intelligent algorithms have created new opportunities for financial institutions. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sebastien Meunier, Head of Digital for North America at Chappuis Halder & Co., discussed how these tools can be leveraged to develop a lasting competitive advantage ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Elastifile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Elastifile Cloud File System (ECFS) is software-defined data infrastructure designed for seamless and efficient management of dynamic workloads across heterogeneous environments. Elastifile provides the architecture needed to optimize your hybrid cloud environment, by facilitating efficient...
“Why didn’t testing catch this” must become “How did this make it to testing?” Traditional quality teams are the crutch and excuse keeping organizations from making the necessary investment in people, process, and technology to accelerate test automation. Just like societies that did not build waterways because the labor to keep carrying the water was so cheap, we have created disincentives to automate. In her session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Anne Hungate, President of Daring System...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?
Most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes a lot of work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reduction in cost ...
"Cloud computing is certainly changing how people consume storage, how they use it, and what they use it for. It's also making people rethink how they architect their environment," stated Brad Winett, Senior Technologist for DDN Storage, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We provide IoT solutions. We provide the most compatible solutions for many applications. Our solutions are industry agnostic and also protocol agnostic," explained Richard Han, Head of Sales and Marketing and Engineering at Systena America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.