Simon Jones: High stakes on the high street
Author: Simon Jones
News that Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology have collaborated to launch an advanced clinical optometry and ophthalmology master’s course should be viewed as a precursor for how the role of the optometrist could evolve during the next decade.
A broadened clinical skillset will undoubtedly put the new breed of optometrists on the front foot when it comes to negotiating the landscape of optometry in the future and further education will be an essential part of enhanced roles.
I read this week’s Moneo column (page 8) with great interest and the points about relying on revenue through the sale of spectacles rather that viable clinical fees got me thinking.
On a recent trip to New York for Vision Expo East, it was clear that building better businesses was high up on the content agenda. Retail tours around Manhattan gave an insight into what the optical practice of today needs to look and feel like. Talks from high profile rappers underlined the importance of being genuine, telling a story and conveying passion – because that’s what people respond to.
Trying to predict what the optical retail landscape will look like in future is tricky, but it’s safe to say that it will be different and going on that journey will be difficult. Enhanced services and closer links with ophthalmology will be of little use if practitioners aren’t in tune with what the retail sector is doing.
As Moneo says, online spectacle sales have been looming over the profession for several years and now is the time to adapt. I would argue that the threat of evolving retail looms equally large and exists in the slick operations of the multiple machines.
Consider stores where you enjoy shopping, think about what you enjoy about them and try to adopt one of those principles in practice. Ignore upping your retail game at your peril.