How to Build a More Successful Private Practice in Ophthalmology

Starting a private practice in Ophthalmology can seem intimidating, especially for young specialists. Apart from patient care, you have to learn how to run a successful business and master the concepts of management. Since some of the aspects may not be part of the training, starting a solo practice is not for every ophthalmologist.

Though private practice can be daunting, people who like being their bosses prefer the option as opposed to working under other employers. If you have entrepreneurial skills and are passionate about patient care, then the private practice in Ophthalmology would be the right choice for you. Today, we will share insights on how you can make your dream a reality. Find out more!

Starting Private Practice in Ophthalmology from scratch

Since everyone starts from somewhere, you have to be willing to build your careers from the ground up. Come up with a list of some basic questions that can guide you on how to go about it. Think of where you would want to operate. You can offer your services from a medical office facility, the hospital campus, or even a retail building.

You should also evaluate your finances so that you can determine the size of your facility. Eye equipment can be expensive. You need to know how much you can afford for every expense you may incur. Once you have come up with a budget, you can think about setting up your business entity.

  • Get a license

For you to build a private practice in Ophthalmology, you need to get a medical license. You can also obtain a Drug and Enforcement Agency number from your state. A lot of new ophthalmologists do not plan appropriately for licensing. The lack of proper planning ahead can lead to confusion when you start operating. It can even affect your cash flow in the future.

  • Make your business legitimate

As you think about your long term goals, you need to legitimize your business. Get a business attorney and discuss the liability protection that you need. Since incorporation regulations are not the same in every state, your business attorney can guide you accordingly. You should also work closely with an accountant who can help you understand the merits and demerits of each type of practice. Consulting the right professionals is the secret to building a successful private practice in Ophthalmology.

  • Understand that you are both an entrepreneur and ophthalmologist

Some people assume that medical practitioners cannot make good entrepreneurs. Stephanie J, a Cornea specialist who has been a solo practitioner for years disagrees with such myths. She says that any medical specialist can be a good entrepreneur as long as they handle business issues with the same seriousness as they tackle medical problems.

For you to build a more prosperous private practice in Ophthalmology, you need to address different business issues. Start by selecting the right location for your business. Setting up your facility at an ideal location can help you reach out to the numerous patients in need. Though making a profit is essential, you should also focus on helping people who don’t have access to eye care services. Establish your facility in a region that does not have high competition for such services so that you can help more people.

You should also be ready to negotiate for the office lease. Thinking an entrepreneur will save you some costs so that you have enough to invest in your medical facility. You should also come up with a sound business plan if you are considering getting financial assistance from an institution. You could secure a line of credit that can give you a boost in purchasing inventory.

Like any other entrepreneur, you need to think about a marketing strategy to help you get more patients who need treatment for eye disorders. Think about advertising your business through the help of social media. Since building a private practice in Ophthalmology is a form of investment, you should consider your risk tolerance and the potential to gain returns from the business.

READ ALSO:  Ophthalmology Clinic Design Guide for Optometric clinic

Other secrets to building a successful private practice in ophthalmology

successful private practice in ophthalmology

  • You need to have developed excellent skills before you start practicing

By the time you finish your residency, you should be able to handle cataract surgery independently. It is a minimum requirement for Ophthalmology. If you feel like you do not have adequate training to perform the surgery on your own, you should consider fellowships before you think of building a private practice in Ophthalmology. Involving yourself more helps you acquire more skills to prepare you for private practice.

You can even get a mentor during training who can help you through your entire practice — some of the ophthalmologists like focusing on cataract surgery and shy away from other specialties. Though cataract surgery practice is quite lucrative, you need to learn more valuable skills that can help you remain relevant in the industry for years.

  • Avoid handling procedures you are not trained for

Since ophthalmology is diverse, you may not be able to prepare for every specialty. You may be able to conduct cornea surgery but lack the expertise to handle retina surgery. You can only build a successful private practice in Ophthalmology if you know what you are capable of and avoid cutting corners. If you don’t specialize in something, do not hesitate to refer your patient to a colleague who specializes in the kind of treatment that they need. There is a high likelihood of your colleague returning the favor. Even if they don’t, you will not end up giving the wrong treatment to your patient.

Conducting procedures that are in line with your training can also prevent you from lawsuits. Some ophthalmologists try to use the knowledge they gain from sources such as YouTube to operate on patients. Though such resources are useful, you need experience before trying out eye surgery on a patient since it can lead to complications in a patient’s condition.

  • Do not sell yourself cheap

In as much as you have a passion for treating eye conditions, you should not forget that you are running a business. You need to think about the prices you should set for different procedures and ensure that they are reasonable. Though you may want your patients to find the prices reasonable, you should avoid lowering the value of your methods. As long as you offer high-quality treatment to your patients, you should set prices that can help your business remain afloat. Try to research on what other private practitioners in ophthalmology charge for each procedure they offer beforehand.

  • Be ethical

For you to build a successful private practice in Ophthalmology, you must uphold ethics. Unfortunately, some specialists prescribe specific treatments for them to gain more profits. Avoid such crooked techniques and always have the interest of the patient at heart.

You don’t have to recommend a particular test to a patient just because you spent a lot of cash purchasing new equipment. Respect your patients and avoid taking advantage of their situation. The way you handle your patients determines the kind of reputation you set for your practice. Purpose to fulfill the individual goals of every patient that seeks your medical assistance and give them the best care possible.

  • Be charitable in your career path

As an Ophthalmologist, you have the power to make a significant impact on people’s lives. You should, therefore, embrace philanthropy as part of your profession. Sometimes, you need to live without expecting anything in return. Even when you are running your facility, you can volunteer at charitable institutions at no cost. Always spread awareness about eye care to everyone you meet. Teach the general public and your patients regarding eye disorders and how to manage them.

Once you have established your Private Practice in Ophthalmology, you can start training young medical students and residents pursuing Ophthalmology. Such training can help you keep up with changes in the field. Think of setting eye banks in your hometown. Such charitable acts can help you find fulfillment in your career path. It also motivates you to be a better ophthalmologist and connects you to more people. You simplify your marketing efforts since more people become aware of your facility.

  • Challenge yourself constantly

Growth comes from challenging oneself. Though you may be an expert in Neuro-Ophthalmology, you can always try out different things. Form long-lasting relationships with other specialists and observe how they conduct various types of surgeries. Spend some time with them in their practice so that you can learn something from them. Benchmarking can also help you get better ideas that you can implement in your practice. Getting out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself can help you build a successful career.

  • Design for Optometric Clinic

Ophthalmology Clinic DesignThe Design Guide for the Ophthalmology clinic’s objective would be to ensure the quality of facilities and to ease the design process. The layout procedure in Optometric clinic demand for cost-effective, readily accessible, comprehensive eye care.


If you would like to develop a patient base and practice ophthalmology as you run your own business, the guide above should help you out. You need to develop different skills, practice ethics, be philanthropic, challenge yourself, and have a positive mindset about entrepreneurship. Start implementing such tactics today for you to build a more prosperous private practice in Ophthalmology. 

Robert C. Null, M.D., received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. He then earned his doctorate of medicine from the University of Iowa College of Medicine. He completed his ophthalmology residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center and a glaucoma fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. He has been seeing patients with Wolfe Eye Clinic since August 2018.

Dr. Null says he chose Ophthalmology because he enjoys working with patients and their families first hand on something as valuable as their vision. Professionally, he has eye care affiliations with the American Glaucoma Society and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Dr. Null enjoys hiking, skiing, golfing, collecting and listening to vinyl records, and spending time with his wife, Kendra Null, O.D.


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