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The past few years have been rocky. In the 2022 Big Survey, we asked ECPs what the biggest challenge they’re facing is, how they are responding to it, and much more.




1. Rank the most serious challenges faced by your business right now.

The Big Survey 2022: What’s Next

2. Tell us about a creative way you’ve dealt with one of these issues.

  • Better scheduling with contact lens patients in certain places in the schedule to allow the staff to have time during the day for other things and a more predictable end of day schedule.
  • We added online eyewear sales and changed labs and frame distribution channels. We also outsourced some administrative duties and use conversational text to deal with staff shortages.
  • Talking about our value packages and six-month payment plan. Reduced our business hours.
  • I concentrate on medical eye issues and make myself available for them 24/7. Most OD and MDs don’t and the alternative for the patients is emergency room care. Expensive and long waits.
  • Started giving CL patients who order more trials at their appointment because everything is on backorder.
  • We have changed our hours of operation to cater to staff availability.
  • We promote more online and through our social media networks.
  • Boosting starting pay rate has gotten us more interviews.
  • Increased time with patients during exams.
  • I use a profit first program where I set a percentage of all sales aside so instead of borrowing money at a higher interest rate I can borrow from myself during lower cash flow months.
  • The Big Survey 2022: What’s Next

  • Close on some Fridays.
  • Changing frame board toward consignment.
  • We’ve rearranged display boards and increased marketing on Facebook/Instagram.
  • Made stickers with QR codes and put on the back of our business cards that leads to our Now Hiring page. We pass them out to people that impress us.
  • Moved away from vendors that don’t have contingency plans for supply chain or perform poorly in their delivery.
  • Online issues creep up daily and we’re offering “$39 packages” but we’re also verifying to each customer the importance of fitting their glasses, maintaining their purchase, and the warranty we offer. With gas prices so high we also let patients know how cost-effective it is to buy high quality eyewear locally.
  • Reworked schedule with fewer employees.
  • We let our patients take up to six frames home with them to show their family and friends.
  • We are purposely overstaffed. When someone is sick or on vacation we can still run smoothly.

3. What area are you seeing costs rise the most this year?

The Big Survey 2022: What’s Next
“Other” responses included cost of goods, laboratory bills, and credit card fees.

4. Looking at the long-term future, which of these social megatrends do you think will have the greatest impact on ECPs?

Increasing wealth gap/Shrinking middle class
The graying of America
Growing racial and ethnic diversity
Growing urbanization
Pay Equity/Rising women’s earnings
None of the above

5. With all the negative headlines at the moment, what makes you optimistic about the future of the independent ECP?

  • As baby boomers and Gen X’ers age, their need for corrective lenses increases with the increased use of digital equipment
  • The continued push by organized optometry to continually evolve our profession.
  • Good and growing community of independent-minded ECPs; the rise of private equity has increased awareness.
  • With the increased use of computer devices people will have eye issues more than ever.
  • Independent ECPs are more nimble during difficult times. They are smaller, they are more discerning and the wave of private equity buyouts is funneling people to independents in a huge way because they are looking to support private businesses for a personalized service.
  • The OAA Student to Leadership program, as well as the awesome young people we have joining our practice.
  • Patients still want the customer service they receive from an in-office experience.
  • People still want unique, customized experiences they can’t get at big box stores.
  • Great progress and advancements in tech and optical.
  • People starting to realize that even though things are cheaper online they’re not always the best quality.
  • People are becoming more open minded and accepting of diversity.
  • People, especially Millennials, tend to see the value in shopping local and supporting the little guys. We are at a huge advantage when it comes to that!
  • Scope of practice increasing.
  • The Gen Zs. They do not like influencers, love companies that give back, focus on upcycling and reusing, prefer mental health over pushing their way through corporate America.
  • So many people looking to start or buy practices! Independent eyecare is still thriving!
  • More medical care/ability to do cosmetic procedures around eyes.

6. We’re slowly putting the pandemic behind us. With the passing of another year, what things have you started doing again?

The Big Survey 2022: What’s Next

7. What things have you stopped doing?

The Big Survey 2022: What’s Next

8. Is there anything you miss about the pandemic?

The Big Survey 2022: What’s Next

9. Do you agree with this statement: “2022 is the best year ever to be an ECP”?

The graying of America
    The Big Survey 2022: What’s Next
  • The rise of inflation has caused caution regarding eyewear purchases.
  • Work has been more exhausting and disjointed since the pandemic. I sense it when with my vendors too.
  • No, the optometry field is going downhill fast.
  • So many challenges: inflation, material costs, internet sales.
  • I’m hopeful another three years from now that will be true.
  • Business will only get better and better.
  • Sales have been down. Materials/frames have backorder issues.
  • With so many independents selling to buying groups, patients notice the change. We’re asked by many when they walk in if we are independent or have been bought by a company because they were unhappy with their last doctor.
  • Every year is the best if we are still doing what we do best.
  • Smaller margins, more work for less, more stress.
  • There needs to be a more positive outlook so we can build on positivity.
  • 2023 will be better due to the catch up in 2022 from COVID.



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