In 1997, the American Optometric Association contracted with Abt Associates to conduct a workforce study for optometry. For the study, extensive data on both the supply (work hours, retirement rates, new entrants) and demand (patient encounters and associated time requirements) of optometrists. These data were used to develop workforce projections for optometry through the year 2030. Projections were based on a forecasting tool that can project workforce estimated under a range of alternative future scenarios.
An excess supply of optometrists is projected through the year 2030. Relative to the current baseline,which is used as a reference point, the size of the excess supply is nearly 2,500 by 2005. There are several reasons for the excess supply. Over the next five years, about 550 optometrists are expected to retire each year, while more than 1,100 optometrists enter practice each year. Patient encounter volume is expected to increase steadily for a variety of reasons, but cost pressures resulting from the expanding role of managed care, automated refractive equipment, and increased use of ancillary staff are expected to contribute to a decrease in optometrist time requirements for routine eye health exams, offsetting much of the impact of the increased patient encounters.
One way to increase demand is through convergence between the actual demand for eye care services and the underlying public health need. If the AOA’s schedule for preventive eye care were followed, more than 14,000 additional eye care providers (optometrists and ophthalmologists) would be required, eliminating the excess supply.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant in this session will be able to:
Keywords: Workforce, Vision Care
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: Study was funded by the American Optometric Association
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA