Equity card

‘So what’s happening with private equity optometry on your side of the pond?’ an American optometrist asked me over lunch at the Transitions Academy conference in Orlando last week. Luckily, there wasn’t enough time for the long answer, but my quick version went something like this: ‘Groups hoovering up independents. Groups buying groups. Groups trying to vertically integrate with labs. Independents falling by the wayside after trying to compete with each other.’

It was a bleak summary, but one that the veteran optometrist recognised, with the expansion of companies like MyEyeDr in the US, which has been acquiring practices and groups since 2001. MyEyeDr was purchased by Goldman Sachs in 2019 for an estimated $2.7bn and the rate of expansion with its ‘affiliate independents’ has only increased.

It raises the question whether private equity investment is a good or bad thing for independent optometry? For me, the


notion of an ‘affiliate independent’ doesn’t work. It’s a contradiction in terms – one part attached to an organisation and the other free from outside control.

The long term effects of private equity investment on young practitioners at the beginning of their careers is yet to be seen, but we already know that independent practices are selling to private equity firms because it’s often too difficult for younger practice staff to raise the capital to succeed existing owners. Difficult, but not impossible – as Optician will cover later in the summer.

There has never been a more opportune time to be an independent optometrist. With standardised care and service now so common on the high street, it doesn’t take much to be different from the rest and provide something of real value. Making a patient’s experience of your practice memorable, meaningful and magical, is something all independents can do, no matter how much money is in the bank.


6 Cataract Awareness Month

12 Carolina Gago

NEWS 4 7 Days News from the past week 6 In Focus Creating cataract awareness

OPINION 8 View From the High Street

Finding the right pathway

PRACTICE 9 Showcase

The latest fashion and frames 10 Informed

Updates from inside the industry

LENSES & DISPENSING 12 Technology behind the lenses IOT’s Carolina Gago 14 Where to get your lens work done Lab listings 2022

CLINICAL 20 Clinical comment

On the road again 21 Cases in point

Send us your interesting cases 22 Apps for learning disability

assessments Some of the many helpful apps available 24 Post-cataract extraction blur

Two cases where the outcome was suboptimal 27 In Dublin’s fair city

Report from the joint ECOO and EAOO conference

CLASSIFIED 30 Recruitment 32 Services

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Optician is the weekly, paid-for information source for optometrists, dispensing opticians and the optical industry. For 130 years Optician has been the independent voice for eye care professionals, students and business owners offering breaking news, analysis and education. In print and online, Optician provides an array of clinical, business and technology articles, comprehensive CPD coverage along

with the very latest in contact lenses, frame fashion trends and spectacle lens technology. Optician offers advice on careers and carries hundreds of job opportunities every week. Optician provides its readers with essential business help and offers a forum for eye care professionals and others in the market.

10 June 2022 OPTICIAN 3