ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Vision Council has released the results of the March 2021 Eyecare Provider Insights Survey. The Vision Council fielded the survey to the organization’s panel of more than 1,700 eyecare providers during the last week of March. "The March survey results show improvements across key indicators like patient volume, capture rates, revenue, and staffing. These results may reflect changing macroeconomic conditions, as state and local governments are easing restrictions in more places and more people are receiving COVID-19 vaccinations,” said Alysse Henkel, director of research data and analytics.

Henkel added, “Gains over February are relatively modest for most indicators, but we anticipate this positive trend continuing as patients become more comfortable making appointments and purchases. However, locations operating with reduced business hours and the smallest practices, those with less than $300k in annual revenue, are the most likely to report revenue and patient volumes below normal, so not all optometry practices and optical retailers are experiencing these improvements yet."

Key takeaways from the report include:

• Patient volume has improved: Just over half (51 percent) of respondents said the number of exams in March was normal or better, which is a marked improvement (11 percentage points) over February.
• Reported capture rate continues to be strong: 65 percent of providers report their capture rate is normal or better than a typical March.
• Practice owners are optimistic about the future: 95 percent of owners believe business conditions will stay the same or get better in three to six months.
• Overall, more respondents are reporting business is beginning to get back to normal: Over half (52 percent) report revenue is normal or better compared to a typical March and only 16 percent of owners report a reduction in staff from last month.
• Reported telehealth use decreased: 41 percent of all respondents said they offered telehealth, down from 50 percent in January. Of those offering telehealth, only 11 percent said their telehealth use increased from last month.

The survey, which launched in March 2020, is being conducted on an ongoing basis. It asked respondents to provide insight about how business conditions—including number of eye exams and eye exam scheduling and follow-through, capture rate, revenue, telehealth and staffing—compared to a typical month, pre-pandemic. The survey also asked respondents for their insights on their economic outlook for 2021.

The March Insights survey can be downloaded here at The Vision Council's research download center.