CEOs, OD Speakers Join Program for Live Expo Event About Private Equity’s Impact on Optometry


(L to r) Sue Downes, Kelly McCrann and Jeff Fronterhouse.
NEW YORK—OD speakers along with a panel of CEOs and executives from major private equity-backed vision care management companies will be on the program for the special live event to be held at Vision Expo East on March 17. “Private Equity Takes Root – What Does It Mean for Optometry?” is being presented in cooperation with Review of Optometric Business, Vision Expo and Vision Monday. Registration is open here for the two-hour program, which will be held on Saturday afternoon, from 2:45 to 4:45 p.m. at the Javits Center. Registration is free and open to all registered Vision Expo East attendees.

A panel of executives from leading private equity companies and management groups in optical will address their philosophies and value propositions and take questions from the audience. Among those taking part in the panel are:

• Sue Downes, CEO of MyEyeDr., a group which has been actively expanding in several major markets in the MidAtlanic, Northeast, Southeast and Midwest for the past several years and includes 370 offices today. MyEyeDr.’s Capital Vision Services is backed by investment firms Altas Partners and CDPQ.

• Kelly McCrann, CEO of EyeCare Partners. ECP’s portfolio of approximately 225 offices today includes such groups as Clarkson Eyecare, Thoma & Sutton, eyecare centers, Eye Care Associates, Rinkov and others in the central and southeast regions of the U.S. EyeCare Partners is backed by FFL Partners.

• Jeff Fronterhouse, managing partner of Riata Capital which helped form Acuity Eyecare Group. Acuity was created one year ago and includes Crown Vision Centers, Eyetique and International Eyecare Center. The group, which currently includes 65 locations across six states, has recently expanded its senior management team.

Attendees at this special session will hear an overview of the changing economics that guide an OD’s decision to partner with private equity or to remain independent. Mark Wright, OD, professional editor of Review of Optometric Business, will be among the OD speakers providing an overview talk about the current situation and opportunity in the optometric market, and will review the new economics of practice and strategies of investment. Attendees will receive a comprehensive, printed report on the market dynamics driving today’s private equity investment in optical. They will also receive guidance to formulate a “decision tree” about the issue for their practice.

Stated Melissa Ashley, Reed Exhibitions’ executive vice president, “Vision Expo is constantly adding to the topics covered in our educational programming to ensure attendees have access to all of the medical and business information they need to be best equipped to run their practices and make informed business decisions. In response to the strong interest generated by the ROB special report ‘Private Equity and the Investment Effect’ and Vision Monday’s recent cover story on the trend, we will be offering this timely topic in collaboration with Review of Optometric Business and Vision Monday. As the only event that aggregates the entire vision community, Vision Expo is the ideal platform to facilitate conversations on the topics impacting the future of the profession.”

“Private Equity Takes Root – What Does It Mean for Optometry?” will be held at the Vision Expo Partner Pavillion, Level 1 in Hall 1E, Room 1E16. Additional details about the event are posted on the registration site.