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Posts Tagged ‘Answers’

How to Become an Optometrist

David Langford, O.D. on August 11th, 2011 under Optoblog •  3 Comments

The topic of today’s post is the most searched term that brings people to my little blog, so I thought I would directly answer the question, “How do I become an optometrist.”

Here are the steps as I see them:

  1. Go to college and major in any field you want. You will be required to take prerequisite courses before entering optometry school, and most of these courses are taken during a biology-type major. But, you can major in statistics or Spanish, but it will take extra time to graduate AND get all the optometry school prereqs. Don’t let that put you off because if you don’t get into optometry school, you will want a degree that you can use to do something you love. About the only thing you can do with a biology degree besides work for the federal government is work at McDonalds.
  2. The summer after your second or third year of college, take the OAT and score well. Make sure you check the option to have your scores released to all the optometry schools that you are considering.
  3. As part of your optometry school application, you have to observe a few optometrists in different practice settings (private, government, research/academic, commercial) for around 30 hours. This takes time, so schedule ahead before your application becomes due. It’s also very important because you may discover that being an optometrist is not for you. That’s a good lesson to learn before you spend huge amounts of money becoming one.
  4. If you still want to be an optometrist, get your application together and send it in when your fourth year of college starts. There are usually essay questions and a personal statement. Try not to write anything naive. You’ll also need to round up all your official college transcripts. Hopefully you are a fine human being and have cultivated outstanding personal, academic, and work references. I threw in a clergy reference as well. Each optometry school might have a slightly difference process, so please read their website like the careful, well-educated person you are.
  5. Interested schools will call you up and schedule an interview usually starting around January. You will have to pay your own travel, food, and accomodations, so if you get a lot of interview requests, you may want to prioritize them if you don’t have unlimited funds and time. By the way, do well at the interview.
  6. Wait for all the offers to pile in, and accept the one you want. I would pray about it. It’s a big decision.
  7. Spend big money to attend optometry school and pay attention because there is a test later. Spend some more money on your own optometry equipment and reference books.
  8. Work with a professor that you respect to plan, execute, and write a thesis project during your second year of optometry school.
  9. Pay your money to take the NBEO 3-part testing and do well.
  10. During your fourth year of optometry school, you will travel around to different preceptorship sites. You can focus on the type of settings you would like to work in, or better yet, experience several different settings to give you more experience if your preferred setting doesn’t work out right out of school.
  11. If interested in specializing, you can do an optional optometry residency. During your fourth year you will apply and then be invited to interview for residencies. They are preferred for several modes of practice like government, academia, and LASIK centers. You’ll learn more about this and be able to make an informed decision after being in optometry school.
  12. Graduate from optometry school
  13. Apply for optometry licenses in the state(s) you wish to practice in.

Congrats, you would then be a practicing optometrist. For those of you counting at home, that was a minimum eight years of your life after graduating high school. I wish you luck in your quest to find a job and be happy with your career.

Before you can start working, you will need spend money on a license, malpractice insurance, perhaps a DEA number, and apply for all the insurance panels you want to take. If you decide to work for yourself instead of someone else, you’ll need to take care of a whole bunch of business related stuff that is beyond the scope of this post.

Don’t forget you will need to spend a whole bunch of money every year in the racket known as continuing education conventions.

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Percentages of Types of Exams from a Walmart Practice

David Langford, O.D. on September 18th, 2010 under Optoblog •  2 Comments

For you optometry students trying to make up numbers for your business plan, here are some percentages from my average Walmart practice:

Eye Exam Types

Types of eye exams, by percentage, done by optoblog at his Walmart practice for 2007-YTD2010 (9-17-2010). Also, percentage of all exams needing insurance billing.
YTD 201046%47%7%26%

In 2007 and 2008 I didn’t track the percentage of patients using insurance because I didn’t have to bill very much back then.

For more interesting stats to help you make your business plan, the OBA-CE has compiled these:

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Biofinity Contact Lens Review

David Langford, O.D. on April 17th, 2010 under Optoblog, Reviews •  29 Comments

Since “Biofinity” and “Biofinity contact lens review” are the most frequently searched terms leading to my website, I thought I would give everyone my view of the Biofinity contact lens.
Biofinity Contact Lens Box
Its technical specs can be found at the Coopervision website. Silicone hyrdrogel lenses (the super breathable class of contacts) have been on the market for years, but Coopervision came to the game after Ciba, Bausch & Lomb, and Vistakon. All the latter use a special coating on the surface to make the silicone material wettable for your eye, but Coopervision’s unique Biofinity material is wettable throughout the matrix of the material.

It’s a one month lens, which is convenient for most people to remember when to toss their now old lenses which will soon become cesspools ripe for eye infections. The reason is because they build up deposits, like this:

B&L and CL Spectrum photos

Replace your contacts on schedule!!!

Lots of lenses are only two week and toss lenses, but Biofinity is resistant to deposits enough to allow it to be a one month lens. Official and approved.

Biofinity also got an FDA indication for extended wear. In other words, if your doctor thinks your eyes can handle it, Biofinity can be worn one week straight, take it out, clean it, soak it overnight, and then repeat.

Now, I’ve tried this, and while it was totally doable, for me it’s not as comfortable for extended wear compared to Ciba’s Night & Day (by the way, I refuse to call it Air Optix Night & Day Aqua because that is just waaaaaaaay too long a name for a contact lens.) But guess what. That’s just me. Maybe for you it could be fine. However, almost every patient I’ve tried this with comes back a week or two later and says they would rather be Rx’d Night & Day if extended wear was their approved goal.

If you’re just interested in daily wear (taking out every night) or if price is the main consideration, then Biofinity wins over Night & Day because it’s only around $50 per box of 6 lenses rather than Night and Day at ~$70 per box of six. Another consideration is that you can now get Air Optix Aqua (regular, NOT Night & Day) for ~$47 per box. My only beef with that is that it’s basically the same lens as O2Optix which was released as a two week lens, so I’m not sure whether to believe that Ciba wants you to wear a 4 week lens for two weeks or a two week lens for four weeks.

Comfort-wise, it seems to me that the percentage of patients that like the comfort of the Biofinity is about the same percentage of people that like the feel of O2Optix. Now, the only thing is, both those percentages are less compared to Acuvue Oasys comfort. But consider that a year supply of Acuvue Oasys (a 2 week lens) is about ~$272 while Biofinity is around $200.

Biofinity has a great toric lens in case you have low to moderate amounts of astigmatism (0.75-2.50) in one or both eyes. For mild amounts of astigmatism (0.25-0.50 and maybe 0.75), its aspheric optics help mask it for clearer vision compared to contacts without aspheric optics.

Anyway, my advice is to just try it out. If you like it, buy it. If not, try something else. That’s how I roll. I alternate between wearing Biofinity, Acuvue Oasys, and Night & Day. Mostly Night & Day. But hey, I’ve been wearing contact lenses so long that you could poke me in the eye, and I’d barely feel it. But seriously, I think I have significant corneal hypoesthesia which allows me to tolerate pretty much any lens that gets pushed out into the contact lens market.

Another consideration for you is the compatibility of lens material to your desired contact lens solution system. Some lenses can only tolerate the most expensive solutions. The Biofinity material is pretty much compatible with even the most cheapest of house brand multi-purpose solutions. On average. Your eyes may vary.

I think Biofinity is a quality lens, but take it home along with your Oasys and Night & Day or O2Optix and see which one works best at which price for you.

There, does that answer your question?

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Answers to Your Search Questions Part 4

David Langford, O.D. on January 12th, 2010 under Optoblog •  Comments Off on Answers to Your Search Questions Part 4

In Answers to Your Search Questions Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, I pithily answered the questions on your mind as indicated by the web search that brought you to my site.

Just to review, I know what IP address you have and the URL that was in your address bar just before coming to my website. A search URL contains the search term that you used. So let’s see what everyone is curios about!

  1. “how to become a millionaire optometrist” – Ha ha ha ha ha. Wow, that’s funny… Huh? Your serious? Well, I guess the only way I’ve heard of is starting your own consulting company and charging other suckers optometrists tens of thousands of dollars to blow smoke up their
  2. “get rich in optometry” – See above. Man, what is the deal with all these capitalist pigs thinking they can be a doctor AND be rich? Haven’t they drank the Obama juice yet?
  3. “contact lens comic” – Let me put in yet another plug for my fine body of work as a cartoonist.
  4. “going to vet school after being an optometrist” – If working in healthcare for human beings didn’t work out for you, what makes you think dogs and cats will pay you any better? They don’t have checking accounts or credit cards.
  5. “what should I expect after optometry school” – Oh Lordy, I don’t envy you. Let’s see…where do I start? First, get yourself a temp job packing frozen dinners until your license comes in July. If you applied for a government job don’t expect to start work until October. If you want to work a chain store, expect to fill-in at different places for a while until you find an opening in a town you actually want to live in. When you work for another O.D., expect to be paid half what you bring in. Expect to pay a whole bunch of money in business insurance, professional liability insurance, general liability insurance, student loan repayment, business loan repayment, rent, wages, and on and on until you bring home so little bacon, it’s actually just a sprinkle of bacon bits…and they’re actually made out of soy.
  6. “How the FCLCA has decreased costs in contact lenses” – Good question. I know how it’s raised profits for online retailers. Theoretically, the more retailers there are, the more competition there is. More competition breeds price wars. Price wars make retail price go down. Of course, in practice, the first thing Walmart did when they joined 1800Contacts was raise most of their contact lens prices to match 1800’s pricing structure. Anybody have a good answer to this question?
  7. “easiest optometry school” – Again, people keep asking this question. If I were an optometry school, I would set up a honey pot site so that anyone asking this question would probably get referred to the honey pot from a search result. Log all the information you can (IP address, location info, etc) and compare it to their logs of people requesting information from the optometry school website. Then make a “do not interview” list based on the database cross references.
  8. “the best and worst optometrist that you have worked for” – I’m pretty sure no one would really post actual names since you don’t want to get sued for something, but I’d stay clear of any practice that seems to hire an O.D. for a couple years, promising them a buy-in option, but then they renege so the new O.D. leaves.
  9. “how much does it cost to start an optometric practice” – as much as a house.
  10. “doctors melton and thomas” – They’re awesome. As far as I’m concerned, drug reps don’t have to visit me since I’m just gonna do whatever Drs. Melton and Thomas say.
  11. “1800contacts sending contacts without dr verification” – Well, if you don’t respond to their fax and/or phone call, then they have to assume what the patient told them is correct.
  12. “i hate science, but i want to become an optometrist” – If by “science” you mean this whole global cooling- I mean warming- I mean climate change fraud, then I agree. If you mean true science, then I’m not sure I can help you. But I will suggest you do an internet search for the easiest optometry school to get into and maybe you’ll get through it.
  13. “what should you major in if you want to get to optometry school?” – anything you want, but you’ll have to take all the prerequisite classes also. Since most people want to leave undergrad in four or five years, this usually involves having to major in some biological science. I think it would be cool if more optometrists majored in business or marketing and then minored in the biology. But I hate those majors, so that’s why I didn’t go that route. Do what you love.
  14. “optometrist strategies in 2010” – I heard Sam’s club or its doctors are going to try to give $20 exam rebates to patients, but I don’t know the reasoning behind it. No one likes rebates. Instant rebates might fly, but then, why not have your fee be your fee? I didn’t major in marketing so you better not ask me.

This concludes Part 4. Keep searching!


Answers to Your Search Questions Part 3

David Langford, O.D. on December 23rd, 2009 under Optoblog •  Comments Off on Answers to Your Search Questions Part 3

In Answers to Your Search Questions Part 1 and Part 2, I improved by search juice and answered the questions that seem to be on everyone’s mind.

Well, I’ve done it yet again. There seems to be no end to all the inquiring minds out there. Just to review, I know what IP address you have and the URL that was in your address bar just before coming to my website. A search URL contains the search term that you used.

  1. “is Crizal worth the extra expense” – That depends. The original Crizal, Crizal Alize, Crizal Alize’ with ClearGuard, Crizal Avance’ with Scotchgard, or the next one that they come out with 6 months after you buy the one available now.
  2. “satan’s plan” – This search term was by someone from Lagos, Nigeria, Africa. (It directed them to this post.) Lemme splain. In pre-earth life, Jesus wanted us to have the freedom to choose to follow Heavenly Father and obtain Eternal life. Those who don’t obey God’s will and never repent would be lost. Those who disobey (all of us) would need a Savior in order to be worthy enough to enter into God’s presence again. Well, the Son of the Morning didn’t like that. Satan, wanted us all to be forced to choose God and obey His commands so that none of God’s children would be lost. It’s kind of like liberals vs. conservatives when you think about it.
  3. “what scanner should you use with officemate” – If you are going to scan, go big. You will not regret buying a fast document scanner like the Fujitsu 6130. I used to have a slow HP ScanJet N6010. It lasted two years and died. I wasted so much time waiting for files to scan. With my Fujitsu, waiting is a thing of the past. Let’s say you get an EOB that you want to scan into OfficeMate. You pull up the patient’s file, select the eDocuments tab, and then press scan. It will scan duplex, then you hit complete, and you’re done. Fast, fast, fast. Plus mine came with Acrobat 9 Standard.
  4. “nbeo optometry review notes” – I just wanted to bring this up because I’m so glad I’m done with school and boards.
  5. “how to recharge pachmate dgh55” – I’m thinking you should read the owners manual. If you don’t like keeping dead trees around, then scan it into a pdf with your Fujitsu scanner.
  6. “stylish medicaid frames” – NO SUCH THING
  7. “screening acute angle glaucoma with mydriasis with pen light in pcp office” – Yah, so what I think they want to know is before they dilate somebody, what’s the likelihood that they give them an angle closure pressure spike. I believe that should be in the manual for your nifty DigiScope. Someone in Maryland should just refer to their local optometrist.
  8. “best way for optometrist to get FDA job” – I’m pretty sure you can get any government job you want by contributing enough money to the DNC. If you’re not a trust fund child, then I would spend loads of money to attend optometry school, study hard, work hard, graduate, and join the rest of America in the unemployment line.
  9. “optometrists are stupid” – Someone in Alameda, CA was having a bad day.
  10. “crack officemate” – Some web surfer in Indiana needs a crack for Officemate. Let’s see, I’m pretty sure stealing around $6000 for the initial year and ~$1400 per year after that could be considered enough to get you in trouble with the state optometry board. I don’t think it’s worth it. If you can’t afford it, do yourself a favor and try something else. Or, like I’ve said before, if you’re willing to crack expensive, niche software, then why stop there? Robbing banks and pimping can “earn” you boat loads of tax-free money.
  11. “average christmas bonus for optometrist” – Let’s see. Um, try about $0.00
  12. “pronounce similasan” – put the emphasis over the second “i” and then say the rest really fast. sim-IL-uhsahn. Or call their consumer information line, 1-800-240-9780, and they say it on the recorded message.
  13. “Biofinity review” – This is by far the most searched term by people coming to my website from google and yahoo. Seriously, why don’t you just try it for a week or two? If you don’t like it, then try something else! These lenses could work great for you and terrible for someone else- or vice versa. It’s like asking other people if a certain brand or size of orthotic shoe insert works good.

I’m here to help.

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Answers to Your Search Questions – Part 2

David Langford, O.D. on February 4th, 2009 under Optoblog •  2 Comments

In my first edition of Answers to Your Search Questions – Part 1, I answered 20 questions…as a public service. I’m at it again in Part 2. Again the idea is that people have come to my site from a web search, looking for answers. I am now going to explicitly answer them (explicitly as in specifically and openly-not the other way you were thinking about).

  1. “Biofinity contacts” – Okay, I made a huge mistake by thinking that someone was out to get Biofinity, and I’ve never been able to live it down. It’s by far the most hit blog entry on my site. Big egg on my face. I should take the post down, but I hear that’s bad form, so I just made another post retracting my error. Please, let’s just put all this behind us. It’s not like I forgot to pay $130K in taxes or something (oh, wait, that’s rewarded in this country).
  2. “optometrist blog” and “optometry blog” – Nothing to say here. I don’t even have one snarky comment.
  3. “can you get rich working as a walmart optometrist” – No, but to be fair, you can’t get rich being any kind of optometrist.
  4. “getting around vsp at walmart” – I find it hard to believe an optometrist would want to be this unethical; however, you could try getting paneled to VSP at a private practice. Then advise VSP that you need to update the practice location address (to your Walmart location but you don’t say that). Eventually they will discover your deceit when they figure out that you aren’t selling any eyewear, but at least you stuck it to them for a little while. You should also do the same for EyeMed. Then you should go rob a bank and kidnap someone for ransom.
  5. “2008 better than oasys contact lenses biofinity” – I would say that in the year 2008 Acuvue Oasys sold more pairs than Biofinity, so you could make an argument that it’s better. On the other hand, Biofinity just came out with 1 week extended wear and it’s a one month lens whereas in the U.S., Oasys is a two week lens, so Biofinity comes out on top for cost-effectiveness. I would say try them both and see what you think. Ask your eye doctor if extended wear is right for your eyes in these lenses.
  6. “http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/optometrysucks/message/1424” – This isn’t a web search but it does show that someone in that Yahoo group linked to me. I’ve said before that I don’t condone this group, or rather, it’s name. Optometry definitely doesn’t suck. If you aren’t in it, be aware of it’s problems before getting in so that we have less whiners.
  7. “acuvue oasys vs biofinity” – I normally wear Ciba Night and Day, but I’ve tried both of these. I’ve even done Biofinity on extended wear. I like it. Anyway, see above. Ask your eye doctor if extended wear is right for your eyes and contact lens material.
  8. “officemate eyecare software crack” – You know, the yearly fee to keep Officemate up and running is around $1200. I’m sure you could pay some kid less than that to come up with a crack. But then, why stop there? I hear robbing banks and kidnapping for ransom will also help you have more money to spend.
  9. “s codes in optometry and dilation fees” – The last billing expert I heard said that you can’t charge extra for dilation. S codes are awesome. I use them all the time.
  10. “how to make the most out of being optometrist” – Start a blog for your personal therapy. Make sure you get plenty of time away from work. When you get sick and tired of explaining presbyopia or saying “which is better,” then try to imagine what you will be doing after work. You’ll say the same things over and over again so much that you could say them on autopilot, leaving you to think about other stuff, like your next blog entry.
  11. “optometrist wedding favors” – Okay, that’s just weird. Can’t you let them be just a person on their wedding day? Why do you have to remind them of work?
  12. “bad things about being an optometrist” – I think there is a Yahoo groups site about this.
  13. “what do eye doctors think of their jobs” – I can’t speak for everybody, but I like it. There are much worse jobs.
  14. “optometrist lifestyle” – We run around in private planes, eat caviar, and schmooze with celebrities and politicians. When we’re not doing that, we’re working in a dark room, saying the same things over and over.

Okay, that will do. As I collect more data, I’ll be sure to respond in future editions.

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Answers to Your Search Questions – Part 1

David Langford, O.D. on February 2nd, 2009 under Optoblog •  2 Comments

You may not realize it, but I know the web page you visited just before coming to my site. So for example, if you went to Google and did a search for “optometry blog,” I see in my logs that you just came from the site “http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&fkt=1859&fsdt=5568&q=optometry+blog&btnG=Google+Search”
(By the way, I’m number one on the list today. You could be if you bothered to blog.)

It’s really interesting to see what search terms get people to my site. I think it would be even more interesting to analyze and respond to questions implied by people’s search keywords. As a public service, I will now respond to actual search terms and attempt to answer any implied questions. Seriously, I am not making these up. It is not a comprehensive list, but these particular ones make good blogging fodder.

  1. “career switch from optometry” – I hear ya’, brother, but do you really want to throw away four extra years of school and over $150K? Is optometry really that bad?
  2. “do optometrists make lots of money?” – Yes, they put a question mark in their search. No, we don’t is the short answer, but more on specifics down the list.
  3. “why become an optometrist” – Only because you love it, but that begs the question: How do you know if you would love it unless you already became an optometrist?
  4. “easiest optometry school to get into” – Okay, first of all, this person hopefully won’t get into optometry school, but I think it’s safe to say that the answer to the quesiton is Pacific University because, hey, they took me. (That was a joke.)
  5. “walmart optometrist average salaries” – There are only a few optometrists in the country actually employed by Walmart. In many states that scenario is illegal (stupid government interference.) Walmart optometrists working on a contracted lease only make what they get from exam fees, so it’s not a salary because you aren’t guaranteed an income. The Optometric Business Academy publishes a yearly survey of Walmart and Sam’s Club affiliated optometrists and the median gross fee income is: $161K for 2007 and $167,473 for 2008. Keep in mind your net will be at least 20% less.
  6. “optometry debt” – I don’t have any statistics, but most of my class was around $100-150K and that was 2003. Now a days it’s becoming debatable whether the loan debt is worth your potential income. The actual numbers for indebtedness for 2005 averaged for all schools is $125685 (from ASCO under data and surveys).
  7. “AOA optometry dues too high” – Yes, I agree. Next question.
  8. “average number of new patients seen for start up optometric practice” – Um, try zero.
  9. “how to become an optometrist” – First, get good grades in high school. Then get good grades at college (state universities are just fine). Schmooze influential faculty members your first two years of college to get a good recommendation letter for your optometry school application. Take the OAT and get a good score. Then apply for optometry school your third year of college. Get an interview and do really well. Get accepted to optometry school. Take out $150K in student loans. Get good grades in optometry school. Take the NBEO and pass all sections. Graduate. Get a state license when your NBEO passing scores are released. Do temp work from May to July of your graduation year (I made frozen dinners). Start practicing around July of your graduation year. Wow, you know, for all the same work you could have entered a career field that pays better or entered a field that pays just as much but requires less time and loan money.
  10. “what should you know about optometry” – well, for starters see the previous question. You should also know that you are paid according to how many exams you do. You can only do so many exams, and people will only be willing to pay so much for an exam, so already you are limiting yourself. If you want to make some real money you need to consider a career field that allows you to sell an infinite amount of widgets to anyone, anywhere in the world.
  11. “How to make optometrist buy from you.” – As I’ve said before, that shouldn’t be too hard. He or she chose to became an optometrist so they are easier to fool.
  12. “what pays better, a pharmacist or optometrist” – They pay the same, but the pharmacist doesn’t have $150K in student loan debt. People point out that pharmacists have to work late hours and weekends, but optometry is quickly heading in that direction.
  13. “when did eye exams become so expensive?” – Ever since the optometrist hired a practice consultant. (Again, what is the deal with putting a question mark in a web search?)
  14. “optometry school worth it” – Only if you want to be an optometrist. A better question would be which optometry school makes it the most worth it.
  15. “how much school does an optomitrist have” – Bad spelling aside, the short answer is eight years post high school.
  16. “laws against 1800 contacts” – Yah, there should be a law that says someone else can’t take my business away from me without my permission. The government needs to fix all my problems. Where’s my binky?
  17. “are prompt pay discounts for medical exams legal” – The previous billing expert I listened to said yes. The one before him said up to a reasonable amount like 10%. The true answer should be I should be able to charge whatever I want to whoever I want, but thanks to the government and insurance contracts that is not possible.
  18. “what to take in high school to become an optometrist?” – Take whatever the heck you want. Who cares about high school? College is the new high school. By the way, why take the extra effort to type in a question mark in a search box?
  19. “what retinoscope looks like” – Shh! It’s a secret.
  20. “optometrist jokes” – I would refer you to some excellent, witty cartoons sketched on a mouse pad by a charming optometrist.

Well, that concludes the first edition of Answers to Your Search Questions. I’ll release more later, so stay tuned.

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