The Optometry Surplus: A Quantitative Determination of Excess Densities

This Study

There are three critical parameters in a manpower study.

1. Projected Supply Density
2. Projected Population Growth
3. Density required to meet projected Demand

Supply and population are quantifiable whereas “Demand” requires guesses about legislation, the national economy [GDP correlates with “demand”] and future health treatment modalities, their efficiency, and workforce.

This complexity is shown by the many assumptions Abt. and the AOA made in 1997 in an attempt to project demand.

1. Supply equaled demand in 1997 at D = 11.5.
2. Graduation rates would remain at 1.127.
3. Patient visits by the elderly will slowly increase by 25%.
4. Numbers of uninsured will decline from 16% to12%.
5. Numbers receiving managed care will increase 70%
6. Optometry retirement age will remain the same.
7. Optometrists will work 3 additional hours per week.
8. Females will represent 50% of work force, work fewer hours than males and
retire earlier than males.
9. Population will grow at 1997 rates.

While a supply model can fairly accurately predict future densities of optometry there are many ways to make errors in estimating demand factors like the above or that may appear in the future. Inaccuracy is always greatest in projecting demand.

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