ODs on facebook 2023 – The Year in Review

As we exit our 12th year, Optometry’s Community ODs on facebook remains the place the industry turns to, as one member put it, to “keep an ear to the ground” on colleague sentiment on brands, products, services, industry trends and state of the profession. The desire of us to engage with those who measure very small things in dark rooms all day in social media remains high. In terms of challenges or controversies within the community, it was an unusually tame year. Historically the community mirrors the real world in many ways and, as we settled into a post-COVID “new normal” in the non-professional areas of our lives, the conversation in the community seems to have taken a similar path.

Posts, Comments and Reaction Statistics

The volume of posts, comments, sub-comments and “likes” are up as in every year of our 12 years. In 2023, there were on average 46 new original posts per day, 500 comments on posts per day and 2,300 reactions to posts per day. As of Dec 20, there were 11,193 original posts, up 7% from 2022; those posts generated an incredible 135,539 comments, up over 9% from 2022 and there were an astounding 579,475 reactions to those posts and comments, up over 11% from 2022. The community has 38,174 active members out of the 47,641 members, meaning 80% of our members viewed the group in the past year, an incredibly high number for a group as large as ours. Daily visitors are between 22,000 and 27,000 on average. The most popular day to view is Friday with Wednesday and Thursday evenly matched for second and third. The most popular times are between 7pm and 9pm US Eastern.

Membership Statistics

I personally vet every single member request and have done so for the past 12 years to ensure the general public and others, for instance journalists who hope to expose Optometrists as “greedy middlemen” or lawyers involved in lawsuits against members or companies we do business with do not gain access to our conversations. All 47,461 members are eye care professionals which I define as (1) Optometrists (2) Opticians (3) Ophthalmic Technicians (4) Office Managers and (5) Employees of corporations who serve our profession. There are 32,201 Optometrists and Optometry Students in the community. Posts by Optometrists make up 99% of all original posts in the community. There were 4,461 membership requests in 2023, 2,029 of which were approved and 2,456 declined .

The female/male member ratio is 62%/38% and I’m incredibly proud the make-up of the community closely mirrors the make-up of the profession. This ensures the sentiment expressed by our members mirrors the actual sentiment and isn’t biased by a greater prevalence of a particular sex in the community. 

The average graduation year of our US OD members is 2008. As the average age of a US OD graduate is 26 that makes the average age of our US OD members is approximately 41 years old. 

Membership of US ODs by Optometry School Attended (%):

International ODs 

We have approximately 5,100 International Optometrists, with the majority from Canada (42%), Nigeria (12%) and Australia (10%).

Non-OD Member Statistics

Approximately 6.6% of our members are US Opticians, 3.1% are US Ophthalmic Technicians, 4.3% are US Office Managers and 11% employees of corporations who serve our practices.

Membership of US OD Members by State (%):

Membership Employment Statistics:

34.71% of OD members are independent practice owners and 8.35% are corporate leaseholders. The majority of OD members (51.16%) are associates employed in various verticals of the eye care industry.  20.6% of associate ODs are employed within independent-owned optometric practices. 18.22% are employed within ophthalmology practices, 5.10% = employed within corporate leaseholder practices, 4.10% employed within practice consolidators and 3.16% are employed within academia. 2.02% are employed by Veterans Administration, 1.68% are employed at health centers, 1.43% by health systems, 1.25% by HMOs, .93% are active-duty military and less than 1% in a variety of verticals including hospitals, mobile optometry operations, not-for-profits, nursing homes or are employed by corporations that serve our profession through sales of services or products.

Beyond Social Media

In 2023 and continuing into 2024 FluoreSCENE Media has expanded efforts outside of social media, creating new and exciting resources and opportunities for the community to learn and grow and succeed professionally. We introduced an educational series, ODs on Retina and ODs on OSD led by some of the best speakers in the industry and plan to continue the series in 2024. We partnered with YouTube’s superstar Optometrist Dr. Joseph Allen (aka Doctor Eye Health –subscribe here ) to create the “Eye Give a Damn” video and podcast series –subscribe here). We also launched the industry’s only FREE job site, ECPJobs.com. Most recently, we introduced ODCommunity.com as optometry’s destination for clinical and practice management content, including our large marketplace for used equipment, ECPJobs and our newest effort “The MOOD”. MOOD stands for the Meeting-place for Optometric Opinion and Discussion; a site where optometrists share insights on what they are Reading, Reviewing, Researching, Managing, Learning and Liking across the internet and publication spectrum. Follow your favorite thought leaders MOOD boards where they share what they are in “The Mood” for. Anyone can create their own MOOD Board at themood.odcommunity.com to share articles, videos, journal articles, studies; anything you feel might benefit your colleagues and connections and help grow your thought-leadership. We look forward to delivering more content, more events, and more group deals in the coming year.

For another year ODs on facebook has positively influenced the eye care industry and I couldn’t be more proud. Thank you for making “Optometry’s Community” a great and safe place to share. Your participation helps deliver the message that the companies we do business with depend on Optometrists for their business, not the other way around. Please support your state and national association in 2024 and beyond to keep Optometry strong. Have a happy holiday season and I look forward to a productive and rewarding 2024!

With sincere appreciation and gratitude,

Alan N Glazier, OD, FAAO
Diplomate, American Board of Optometry