No matter how great of an optometrist you may be, you won’t be able to deliver great care unless your optometry practice is stocked with the proper equipment and supplies.
In this article, we’ll go over the many different pieces of equipment, tools, and supplies your optometry practice needs and explore how an optometry buying group can help lower your costs and increase your profitability.
Important Optometry Supplies & Equipment
In order to open up an optometry practice, you’ll need to either lease or buy the essential pieces of equipment, including but not limited to the following:
- Exam chair and instrument stand
- Tonometer– contact, handheld, or non-contact tonometer
- Visual acuity system
- Binocular indirect ophthalmoscope
- Visual field perimeter
- Optical coherence tomographer
If you’ll be practicing ophthalmology in addition to optometry, be sure to check out our guide to the essential ophthalmological equipment. Because ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialize in surgical eye procedures, they require a lot of specialized surgical equipment and supplies.
Once you secure the larger and more expensive pieces of equipment, make sure your practice is well-stocked with any other tools, instruments, and supplies you’ll need, such as:
- Diagnostic tools– such as a visual field and trial lens set.
- Handheld instruments
- Optical tools– including a pupilometer and frame warmer.
- Disposables– such as medical disposable penlights, sterile eye pads, eye patches, eye occluders, etc.
- Sterilization and disinfectant supplies.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)- since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to ensure your practice has ample PPE supplies, including masks, gloves, and disinfectants.
- Emergency supplies– you should also make sure your office is equipped with any other supplies you might need in case of an emergency such as a fire extinguisher, a CPR responder pack, etc.
- Pharmaceuticals and treatments– dry eye treatments, etc. It’s best to consult with a pharmaceutical representative to determine the exact medications available.
- Office supplies– office and waiting room furniture, phone lines, answering system, computers, server system, printers, electronic medical record (EMR) or electronic health record (EHR) system, general office supplies, etc.
Consider Dispensing Optical Goods
Offering frames and contact lenses to your patients can help you generate more revenue per patient; the average eyeglass patient generates an additional $133 in revenue per year, while the average contact lens patient generates $228 per year. If you plan to dispense eyeglasses and contact lenses, you’ll also need an optical setup and inventory.
If you’re going to sell frames and contact lenses, consider what other optical goods and “extras” you can offer. These include but are not limited to eyeglass cases, eyeglass cleaning kits, eyeglass repair kits, contact lens solution, contact lens cases, nutritional supplements, and more. Even for a smaller practice, sales of all of these products combined can bring in an additional $10,000 to $15,000 per year.
Additional Opticians Supplies
If you do choose to sell eyeglasses and contact lenses, you may require additional optical supplies such as:
- Eyeglass adjustment tools
- Frame warmer
- Frame cleaner
- Measuring instruments or calipers
- Illuminated polariscope
- Eyewear curving press
- Screw and nut drivers and holders
- Dispensing supplies
- Eyewear displays
- Optical consumables, like silicone nose pads and tubing
Optical & Ophthalmic Products Inventory
When it comes to your frame inventory, consider your patient demographics as well as your brand. These will help you determine what styles to carry and how many low-end, high-end, or child’s frames you should have in stock. Many cold start practices start off with an inventory of around 400 frames or so. Make sure to do some local research on popular styles and trends.
For contact lenses, some optometrists keep a full inventory while others choose to keep their in-house inventory to a minimum, opting for an online ordering system or shipping to patients directly from manufacturers. There are pros and cons to each option, and the best choice depends on your patient demographics and preferences, your practice’s capacity to keep inventory, etc.
With both frames and contact lenses, you can save money by buying at bulk discounts or joining a group like PECAA that offers substantial discounts and rebates to members.
How to Save on Optometry Supplies with PECAA
PECAA’s group buying power connects Members to 70+ Vendors offering discounts up to 50%. Our equipment partners offer cutting-edge technology designed to work for you in order to provide your patients with the very best of care. Our contact lens partners offer PECAA Members some of the best pricing available. Our frame and accessories partners offer products at a variety of price points to meet the needs of your patients. Many of these vendors cater exclusively to the independent practitioner and offer products that are not available to chain retailers.
In order to maximize your rebates as a PECAA member, make sure you:
- Review your discounts and confirm them with your sales representatives. Programs based on growth should be monitored closely by your sales reps and they should be communicating your status to you near the end of each quarter to ensure you don’t miss out on any potential rebates.
- Align your vendor accounts with PECAA. You will need to let your vendors know you want to be receiving PECAA pricing, as they will not move you over without your permission.
- Keep a file (either paper or electronic) for each of your vendor partners and carefully track your account history. It should at least include your account #, the local sales representative’s contact information, and any current discounts and rebate information your practice is receiving. Additional information could include the date of your rep’s last visit, the date of their next visit, your average monthly purchases, and any agreements you have signed with that vendor. Having documentation when you meet with reps can be incredibly valuable and will help you stay on top of managing your accounts.
On average, PECAA Members save enough in discounts & rebates to triple their return on their membership investment. Join PECAA today and start saving tomorrow!