Seeking Solutions

By Mark Tosh
Monday, August 12, 2019 12:30 AM In the world of optical retailing and eyecare, the arrival of the year 2020 might be seen as the best of times for the profession. Demographics, especially an aging population, higher incidence of diseases that may impact eye health (such as diabetes), and new areas of practice focus—namely myopia and blue light protection—are opening up avenues of opportunity for eyecare professionals.

MyEyeDr.: Valuing Doctor-Patient Loyalty

By Mark Tosh
Monday, August 12, 2019 12:28 AM

EyeCare Partners: A Doctor-First Approach

By Mark Tosh
Monday, August 12, 2019 12:27 AM Right behind MyEyeDr. in terms of size and scope is EyeCare Partners of St. Louis. The group has almost 300 locations where doctors see patients and is now in 11 states following a move into Alabama in March. EyeCare Partners launched in April 2015, when the private equity firm FFL Partners invested in St. Louis-based Clarkson Eyecare group, which had 63 locations at that time.

Acuity: Launched in 2017, but Growing Quickly

By Mark Tosh
Monday, August 12, 2019 12:26 AM Perhaps one of the newer PE-backed management groups in the eyecare sector is Acuity Eyecare Group, which was formed in early 2017 when Riata Capital acquired Crown Vision Center, Eyetique and International Eye Center and combined the practices under the Acuity management services umbrella. The group has now expanded to almost 125 locations following a pair of late July acquisitions that added 11 locations and marked the group’s entry into Texas. Acuity jumped four spots and ranked No. 17 in VM’s recent list of Top 50 U.S. Optical Retailers.

Keplr: A Change of Name, But Not Philosophy

By Mark Tosh
Monday, August 12, 2019 12:25 AM Keplr, another private equity-backed firm, debuted in July as the management platform that rolled up two of the PE firm’s portfolio companies: Total ECP and optical retail company Visionary Partners. Under the new name and combined businesses, Keplr currently has about 80 eyecare clinics across 19 states under its corporate umbrella. It seeks to provide “exceptional levels of clinical, operational and marketing support with its more than decade-old and highly successful business services platform,” the company announced at its launch.

Vision Source Next: Building a Community of Support for Independent ODs

By Mark Tosh
Monday, August 12, 2019 12:24 AM Even as its member practices have compiled several successive years of above-average growth, Vision Source leadership has made it a priority to stay abreast of the fast-changing health care landscape, particularly as its relates to value-based care and even industry consolidation. The impact of the latter already has been felt across the independent pharmacy sector, and that experience has not gone unnoticed by the Vision Source management team.

VSP Ventures: Care-Focused Alternative for ECPs in Transition

By Mark Tosh
Monday, August 12, 2019 12:23 AM As private equity-driven deals in the eyecare sector seem to occur with more frequency, options for eyecare professionals who are seeking other means to address their ownership or financial structure are increasing, also. Pearle Vision launched an “Ignite” franchise option last year, and VSP Global introduced VSP Ventures this past spring as a way to facilitate practice transitions for eyecare professionals—to name just two of the transition alternatives.

Pearle Vision’s Ignite: Providing a ‘Strategic Conversion’ Program

By Mark Tosh
Monday, August 12, 2019 12:22 AM Another option for ECPs seeking to transition practice ownership is Pearle Vision’s Ignite program. Pearle launched “Ignite” as a way to offer “a strategic independent optometrist conversion program,” which Pearle said was tied to its commitment to growing the Pearle brand in new communities. The announcement noted that the Ignite program would provide “an attractive opportunity for independent eyecare practice owners” looking for options to manage their own business.

‘Demystifying Private Equity’ Seminars Launched by Review of Optometric Business

By Mark Tosh
Monday, August 12, 2019 12:21 AM DALLAS—“Demystifying Private Equity and Its Role in Optometry,” a seminar series for OD-owners, was launched with a premier event in Dallas on July 20, 2019. The event, which was attended by about 40 OD-owners as well as about 15 representatives from PE-backed companies, was developed by Review of Optometric Business. Sponsoring the event was Acuity Eyecare Group, EyeCare Partners, Kavanagh Consulting, MyEyeDr., Total ECP (now Keplr Vision) and VSP Ventures.

EyeSouth Establishes Presence in Alabama with Montgomery Eye Physicians Partnership

By Staff
Monday, July 8, 2019 12:18 AM ATLANTA—EyeSouth Partners has completed an affiliation with Montgomery Eye Physicians and Prescription Eyewear, which marks the firm’s first partnership in Alabama, according to an announcement late last week. EyeSouth also noted that Alabama “will be a priority growth state for the company in the future.” Montgomery Eye Physicians will continue to operate under its brand, with no changes to its staff, physicians or locations, according to the announcement. EyeSouth, an eyecare-focused management services organization committed to partnering with leading physicians in the Southeast, is backed by Shore Capital Partners, a lower middle-market health care private equity firm.

Acuity Eyecare Group Continues Acquisition Momentum With Deal for Pediatric & Adult Vision Care

By Staff
Tuesday, July 2, 2019 12:24 AM DALLAS—Riata Capital Group said its portfolio company Acuity Eyecare Group has acquired Pediatric & Adult Vision Care, a single location eyecare practice in Wexford, Pa. The practice also operates a Vision Therapy-only location in Fox Chapel, Pa. Both offices are located near Pittsburgh. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Pediatric & Adult Vision Care is known for quality, comprehensive eyecare treatment for the whole family, as well as its efforts to serve as partner in the community, according to the announcement.

Alpine Investors Makes Strategic Growth Investments in Ohio Eyecare Practices

By Staff
Thursday, June 27, 2019 12:21 AM SAN FRANCISCO and AKRON, Ohio—Alpine Investors, a middle market private equity firm, is investing in the Ohio-based eyecare practice, Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons Inc. (NEOES), including its subsidiary business, Ohio Eye Care Consultants (OECC). An official announcement of the transaction is expected today (June 27). The two eyecare firms will together form a new ophthalmology platform for Alpine, and will continue to operate independently under their respective brands. The terms of the private transaction are not being disclosed.

Acuity Eyecare Group Acquires Carlsson Family Eye Center Near Phoenix

By Staff
Tuesday, June 25, 2019 12:21 AM DALLAS—Riata Capital Group reported that its portfolio company Acuity Eyecare Group  has acquired Carlsson Family Eye Center, a single-location practice based in Gilbert, Ariz., a town about 25 miles southeast of Phoenix. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Acuity, which was formed in 2017 owns and operates 108 eyecare practice locations across eight states under 10 different local brands following its most recent acquisition. In addition, the firm operates a large, full-service digital lab operation. The firm previously this month reported that it had closed on three separate acquisitions, as VMAIL reported.

EyeCare Services Partners Adds Rick Hoffner as Vice President of Operations, Central Region

By Staff
Wednesday, June 12, 2019 12:21 AM DALLAS—EyeCare Services Partners (ESP), a private equity-backed firm specializing in integrated eyecare services, has appointed Rick Hoffner as vice president of operations for its central region, effective June 10, according to an announcement this week. Hoffner will lead the operations of ESP’s integrated portfolio of eyecare practices in Illinois, including Hauser Ross Eye Institute, Chicagoland Retinal Consultants, Smith-Perry Eye Center, Midwest Eye Center, Retina Group Chicago, Lakeside Eye Group, Lawrence Eye Care, Chicago Eye Consultants, VZN Eye Care and Yavitz Eye Center, the announcement noted.