Despite the ongoing challenge of consolidation of private practice in the optometry world, Vision Source, North America’s most extensive network of independent optometrists consisting of over 3,150 locally owned optometric practice locations with 4,500 doctors, celebrated a landmark event in 2022 for its Vision Source Next program, which provides resources to students and members who are looking to start, acquire, sell or work in private practice with exclusive guidance and programs to support their success.

(L to R) Jeff Duncan, Donna Mikulecky and Amir Khoshnevis, OD

“Consolidation of private practice is a concern not only for our community of practice owners and practitioners, but for the industry as a whole,” said Jeff Duncan, general manager of Vision Source. “In spite of this mounting pressure, Vision Source celebrated a milestone achievement for our Vision Source Next program—since the program’s inception in 2018, we have helped 200 ODs fulfill their dreams to open their first private practice. Our unwavering commitment to protecting and perpetuating private practice optometry will serve as our North Star as we work with doctors in every phase of their practice life cycle.”

Founded in 1991, Vision Source is dedicated to preserving the elite business of independent eyecare and providing highly personalized services delivered through a unique heritage of shared expertise, according to the organization.

“At Vision Source, we are steadfast in our focus on supporting members through whatever challenges they face,” said Donna Mikulecky, Vision Source chief operating officer. “In 2021, our team recognized oncoming inflationary pressures on private practices and quickly deployed resources to ready our members through education on the topic and exclusive savings opportunities for their businesses.

“Despite economic conditions, our members continued to grow at a rate faster than the industry in 2022 thanks to their dedication to providing excellent patient care, the culture of collaboration within our community and our readiness efforts,” she said.

Vision Source offers programs such as Frame Dream, Vision Source Next and its annual Vision Source Exchange event, along with relationships with key vendors to help members move forward in their practice.

“Vision Source has a 30-plus year history of delivering on our promise to provide our members access to the best resources and savings opportunities to help our community thrive as private practice owners,” said Mikulecky. “Our unparalleled programs and platforms—such as Frame Dream, Vision Source Next, and our annual Vision Source Exchange event—and relationships with key vendors allow us to provide comprehensive support to members in all areas of their practice.”

“Our members can expect to see Vision Source continue to commit resources and energy to advance Vision Source Next to support private practice optometrists at any stage of their journey,” added Amir Khoshnevis, OD, chief medical officer of Vision Source. “Whether we are working with students who want to learn more about private practice, optometrists looking to open their first private practice, existing owners looking to expand or helping members plan for the transition of their practice to the next private owner, Vision Source Next is a critical enabler of our commitment to perpetuating private practice.”

In 2023, Vision Source is updating its myopia management protocol in an ongoing support for practices against the “epidemic” of progressive myopia. The company is also creating resources members can use to better ready their practices in case of economic downturn in the coming months.

“There is an increasing need to equip private practice to combat the rising, sight-threatening epidemic of progressive myopia,” said Dr. Khoshnevis. “In 2023, we will continue our focus on enabling member practices to expand their myopia management and medical vision care services to ensure they can create positive patient outcomes which will enhance their patients’ quality of life. We will continue evolving our suite of clinical protocols with an updated myopia protocol and the introduction of new protocols for other diseases.”

“Similar to our proactive approach to inflation, we are creating and deploying resources to help our members ready their practices for potential market disruptions or economic downturns in 2023,” added Duncan. “This will occur through our ongoing Business of Optometry education series as well as focused member webinars and podcasts.”

Continued member growth is also something Vision Source continues to experience firsthand, with a key addition also made to its own team in the last year.

“Over the past years, our members have grown at rates that outpace the industry—in good times and in bad. That growth begets need for increased support from Vision Source, both in their existing practice and in securing opportunities to expand,” said Dr. Khoshnevis.

“We have recently grown our OD consultation team with the appointment of Dr. Mike Rothschild, practice expansion advisor. In his role, Dr. Rothschild will join Dr. Mick Kling to serve our members who want to leverage their deep knowledge and experiences in the areas of starting or acquiring new locations, adding associate ODs or breaking through rapid growth ceilings,” he said.

Vision Source is a part of Essilor of America, which is a division of EssilorLuxottica.