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  • Writer's pictureDr. Ryan Corte

Don't Make These Optometry Mistakes | 15 Mistakes To Avoid as an Optometrist

Don’t make these mistakes as an optometrist!

In this video, I share the biggest mistakes made in optometry and how to avoid them.

Mistakes happen. When they do, it's best to learn from each mistake so you can improve over time.

Here are some of the biggest mistakes I see happening in optometry.

1) Not satisfying the patient's chief complaint

The patient's chief complaint is the reason they came to see you in the first place. If you don't satisfy it, they're going to leave your office disappointed.

Patients that visit your practice want to make sure that their biggest problems are taken care. Make sure you don't overlook this throughout the exam process.

2) Not reviewing all the patient's visual options

Glasses, contact lenses, refractive surgery...we have a lot of ways to satisfy our patient's visual needs.

Review the all options that make the most sense for each particular patient. Provide them with custom visual solutions and they will be a patient of yours forever.

3) Not educating the patient on their eye health and wellness

Every patient that presents to your office is a truly unique encounter to educate them on:

  • How lifestyle impacts their eyes

  • The value of your services

  • How the eye tells you what's going on throughout the body, particularly when it comes to systemic diseases and conditions

Don't waste the opportunity to educate each and every patient on what you're doing and why you're doing it.

4) Not practicing (and billing) medical optometry

Optometry is so much more than, "which is better one or two?"

The profession has evolved over time and the future is medical and specialized optometry.

When providing medical eye care, make sure you're billing medically! Don't bill the patient's vision care plan for medical office visits.

This is critical if you want to build a medical optometry practice and be reimbursed accordingly.

5) Making assumptions about patients

Never make assumptions about your patients. Just don't do it!

You can't assume what the patient knows about their eye health and wellness or understands the value of your services. Also, you don't know what the patient can and can't afford when it comes to the latest and greatest in innovation and technology.

In particular, don't make assumptions based on their appearance, insurance coverage, or what they walk in with.

Doing so is the wrong way to provide patient care. Instead, educate and prescribe to the highest level.

6) Dismissing industry sales reps

The eye care industry is full of a ton of valuable professionals that work in sales and business development. The job of these individuals is to support you and your practice.

Do not dismiss them, even if you know what they support isn't your preferred option. It's always good to take the time to get to know them and learn about the benefits that their product or service provides.

Optometry sales representatives are invaluable assets that can truly change your practice.

7) Not supporting the profession of optometry

Say it with me, "optometry is a legislative profession."

Of course, you already knew this because you heard it throughout optometry school.

Never forget that with a stroke of a pen we can increase our scope of practice and we can lose our scope of practice.

Put your money where your mouth is and support legislative optometry. This can be done through financial contributions and/or volunteering.

8) Not considering optometric specialties

Optometry continues to evolve! The ways to practice have advanced in so many ways.

Specialties in optometry include:

  • Specialty contact lenses

  • Myopia control

  • Dry eye and ocular surface disease

  • Pediatric optometry

  • Geriatric optometry

  • Neuro-optometry

  • Low vision optometry

  • Cosmetic optometry

  • Sports vision

RELATED: 10 Types of Optometry Specialties (coming soon)

9) Ignoring your gut instinct

If something makes you uncomfortable, don't ignore it. Do what's right for the patient!

Do not send them out the door and say "have a good day." Seek consult or a second opinion from another medical professional.

It's not rare if it's in your chair. If you feel like something's wrong, and in your gut, you know that they need further care, get them into the right hands to do so.

10) Not staying up to date with the latest scope of practice and new technology

The profession of optometry has evolved so much in the past 10-15 years.

Take the time to dig in and learn about what's going on and how you can provide better patient care. When appropriate, invest in the training and technology to do so.

11) Not respecting or investing in your eye care team

Your eye care team is the reason you're able to provide high-quality patient care.

They support your every effort so respect them, empower them, and delegate responsibilities to them so they can gain more experience and advance in their career.

12) Turning into a robot

Optometry has a lot of repetitive tasks. I see a number of colleagues that go to work and get very robotic in the way they provide patient care.

Don't forget, we're serving people! Take the time to get to know your patients. Build life-long relationships.

If you find that you're getting burnt out, take time to think about why and address it accordingly.

Personally, I recommend diversifying and learning new specialties within the profession.

13) Not connecting with other medical professionals

Take the time to get to know other optometrists in your area.

Reach out and connect with local ODs. Network, learn from each other, and build relationships. Do the same with other ophthalmologists in the region so you can co-manage more efficiently and effectively.

Also, reach out to primary care doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other health care professionals. There are a lot of people that we can collaborate with, you just have to get to know them to do so.

14) Not investing in marketing

There are so many different ways to market your practice.

This includes internal marketing, external marketing, and digital marketing.

Explore the various ways to market your practice and double down on what works.

15) Running before you walk

Your optometric journey is just that, a journey.

Embrace this and don't bite off more than you can chew. Learn throughout every aspect of the process and understand that your career path and where you envision it coming out of school even five or ten years out is going to evolve.

Don't beat yourself up if you feel like you're behind where you envisioned being.

Understand that everything happens for a reason. This includes your experiences, mistakes, and successes, all of which shape and cultivate who you are as an optometrist.

Final thoughts

Mistakes are a fact of life. What's most important is that you learn from your optometry mistakes so you can grow as an optometrist!

What mistakes do you see optometrists make that they can learn from? Let me know in the comments below and stay tuned for my next video where we can reflect and grow stronger together.

If you liked this YouTube video, subscribe to my channel for more personal development and thought-provoking videos!

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