Click here to close now.

SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Lori MacVittie, Esmeralda Swartz, AppDynamics Blog, Mike Kavis, Cloud Best Practices Network

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 robomq.io will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. robomq.io is an interoperable and composable platform that connects any device to any application. It helps systems integrators and the solution providers build new and innovative products and service for industries requiring monitoring or intelligence from devices and sensors.
Today, IT is not just a cost center. IT is an enabler and driver of business. With the emergence of the hybrid cloud paradigm, IT now has increasingly more capabilities to create new strategic opportunities for a business. Hybrid cloud allows an organization to utilize multi-tenant public clouds, dedicated private clouds, bare metal hosting, and the associated support and services for the right use cases through an on-demand, XaaS model. This model of IT creates tremendous opportunities for busi...
Wearable technology was dominant at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) , and MWC was no exception to this trend. New versions of favorites, such as the Samsung Gear (three new products were released: the Gear 2, the Gear 2 Neo and the Gear Fit), shared the limelight with new wearables like Pebble Time Steel (the new premium version of the company’s previously released smartwatch) and the LG Watch Urbane. The most dramatic difference at MWC was an emphasis on presenting we...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the DevOps Institute has been named “Association Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The DevOps Institute provides enterprise level training and certification. Working with thought leaders from the DevOps community, the IT Service Management field and the IT training market, the DevOps Institute is setting the standard in quality for DevOps education and training.
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a “Make or Buy” decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud busi...
Businesses are looking to empower employees and departments to do more, go faster, and streamline their processes. For all workers – but mobile workers especially – utilizing the cloud to reconnect documents and improve processes without destructing existing workflows can have a dramatic impact on productivity. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Mark Grilli, vice president of Acrobat Solutions marketing at Adobe Systems Incorporated, will outline new ways that the cloud is changing the way peo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that WSM International (WSM), the world’s leading cloud and server migration services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. WSM is a solutions integrator with a core focus on cloud and server migration, transformation and DevOps services.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY., and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides private all-in-one social intranets allowing workers to securely collaborate from anywhere in the world and from any device. Social, mobile, and eas...
WSM International has launched a DevOps services division that offers assessment, consulting and implementation to large enterprises and organizations with complex infrastructures. The concept of DevOps is to blend information technology (IT) software development with operations to optimize the computing infrastructure according to the specific needs of the organization. According to a recent press release from Gartner, "By 2016, DevOps will evolve from a niche strategy employed by large cloud ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that QTS Realty Trust, one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing providers of data center facilities and cloud services and a leader in security and compliance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. QTS Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: QTS) is a leading national provider of data center solutions and fully managed services, and a leader in security and compliance...
Sematext is a globally distributed organization that builds innovative Cloud and On Premises solutions for performance monitoring, alerting and anomaly detection (SPM), log management and analytics (Logsene), and search analytics (SSA). We also provide Search and Big Data consulting services and offer 24/7 production support for Solr and Elasticsearch.
The speed of software changes in growing and large scale rapid-paced DevOps environments presents a challenge for continuous testing. Many organizations struggle to get this right. Practices that work for small scale continuous testing may not be sufficient as the requirements grow. In his session at DevOps Summit, Marc Hornbeek, Sr. Solutions Architect of DevOps continuous test solutions at Spirent Communications, will explain the best practices of continuous testing at high scale, which is r...
Modern Systems announced completion of a successful project with its new Rapid Program Modernization (eavRPMa"c) software. The eavRPMa"c technology architecturally transforms legacy applications, enabling faster feature development and reducing time-to-market for critical software updates. Working with Modern Systems, the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) leveraged eavRPMa"c to transform its Student Information System from Software AG's Natural syntax to a modern application lev...
DevOps is all the rage these days and with good reason as it promises to reduce the time-to-market for new applications. It also promises to improve change management, allowing teams to deploy changes to their applications quickly and efficiently. However, DevOps isn’t something you buy, install, or implement; rather it is the symptom of an appropriate organizational system. In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Thiele, EVP, Data Center Technologies at SUPERNAP International, will discuss how ...