Home Target Optical Engaging ODs to Expand Their Potential

Engaging ODs to Expand Their Potential

This past February, 30 Target Optical optometrists from around the country gathered in San Diego, California, with their field leadership team for their annual summit. It was the largest group gathered in years with ODs in attendance from the company’s Optometric Advisory Council and the Regional Mentor Doctor program.

Highlights of the summit included opportunities for the optometrists to network with each other and align on the strategies that include both the retail and the professional sides of the business. For example, optometrists were encouraged to co-plan with the retail leaders in their locations every month on ways to increase access to patients. Outside of the main hall, optometrists engaged with new EssilorLuxottica technology or met with contact lens vendors on a more personal level than at a large show. Eric Bailey, OD, received an award from the Optometric Advisory Council (OAC) and a Legacy Award for his 15 years of service.

Target Optical Vice President, Field Operations and Eye Care Tammy Reaves says, “This year’s Target Optical summit was ground-breaking for our OD community. It was a pleasure to co-present the 2024 strategy from the main stage with a member of our Optometric Advisory Council (OAC), Tanya Le, OD. This presentation represented the unity and collaboration we strive for daily. I am honored to have spent the week with Target Optical trusted OD partners and I look forward to what our future holds.”

Attendees said that they appreciated being involved at this level and seeing optometrists participate in mainstage presentations.

Focus on Faten Edris, OD

REGIONAL MENTOR DOCTOR PROGRAM

Dr. edris, subject of the story, is pictured in the center in short gold dress holding a regional mentor of the year award. Flanked by 5 others.
Dr. Edris, center, receives the Regional Mentor Doctor of the Year Award. All photos courtesy of Target Optical.

In the Fall of 2023, Target Optical established the Regional Mentor Doctor program as a way for highly engaged ODs to support other ODs within the region. Regional Mentor Doctors share strategies for growing a business and aligning to key priorities. Regional Mentor Doctors also serve as a communications bridge between stores, in-store Doctors, and the OAC Doctors.

Dr. Edris in black suit next to white phoropter and against beige walls of Target Optical office
Dr. Edris photo from her Blinking Owl Eyecare website

This year, Faten Edris, OD, of Florida, received the Regional Mentor Doctor Award, selected by her peers for this honor. As a Regional Mentor Doctor, Dr. Edris is a prominent advocate for establishing a preventive, medically driven eye care model within Target Optical. She encourages doctors by coaching them through developing a technologically advanced model or expanding into multi-unit operations—or both. Dr. Edris is passionate about mentoring aspiring optometrists in business growth and development, as those are often the lessons not learned in optometric education.

Dr. Edris has established an impressive model in the five years that she has been affiliated with Target Optical. Ever since her residency at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, she was struck by the high volume of basic optometric disease referrals from corporate-affiliated practices, which she believed could have been managed in-office through diagnostic imaging. “The demand for accessible and convenient eyecare was significant,” she recalls.

RAPID GROWTH

In 2018, Dr. Edris took on her first Target Optical sublease in Davie, Florida, with a goal to serve the public and assume the role of eye care gatekeeper.  The innovative model, branded as Blinking Owl Eyecare, relied on a strategic partnership with Target Optical, leveraging EssilorLuxottica cutting-edge optometric technology. In addition, she brought purchased diagnostic technology to support her goals as a preventive care practitioner.

Recognizing the universal need for such services, she expanded rapidly, establishing three locations within a year of launching her first practice. Nearly six years later, she has five Target-affiliated locations in Miami, each prioritizing accessible, high-quality eye care and focusing on prevention through early detection rather than solely refractive exams. When her practice makes a referral to a specialist, patients typically wait only one to five days to see a specialist, significantly shorter than referrals from traditional settings. The team of 14 ODs committed to this mission aim to address urgent eye conditions promptly, providing necessary referrals and training support for new graduates.

MENTORSHIP WITH STUDENTS

Dr. Edris, 2nd from right, with other mentors in Target Optical system
Dr. Edris, second from right, celebrating her award with (l-r): Dr. Ryan Smedley (OAC member), Dr. Tanya Le (OAC member); Dr. Shannon Joseph (Regional Mentor Doctor).; Tammy Reaves Vice President – Field Operations and Eye Care; and, Gunjan Kumar, President – Retail Licensed Brands, Dr. Ryan Smedley (OAC member), Dr. Tanya Le (OAC member), and Dr. Shannon Joseph (Regional Mentor Doctor).

Dr. Edris makes herself available to let students know that these possibilities exist within a Target Optical. She emphasizes that providing comprehensive eye care within such a framework is both humbling and rewarding. Practitioners often play a crucial role in saving lives through early detection of conditions such as tumors, retinal detachments and stroke prevention.

Dr. Edris lectures on the business dynamics of optometry, equipping the next generation of practitioners with essential insights into the industry. Her enthusiasm for her brand and partnership with Target Optical and EssilorLuxottica extends to students, whom she believes benefit greatly from exposure to this practice modality.

BUSINESS SENSE

Becoming an entrepreneur was never her aspiration. Although she did not study business, she was immersed in the world of contracts/business due to her father’s international company. Her practice culture has flourished and is attractive to many doctors. As a result, Dr. Edris rarely recruits. She remains hands-on in hiring and training, aiming to empower associates to become practice owners within EssilorLuxottica and Target Optical. In fact, she’s helped many of her associates ODs become leaseholders within the brand.

She is grateful that Target Optical executive leaders believe and promote her vision of the future of eye care within Target Optical. Winning the national award reinforced to her that the opportunities are endless. “I am proud and humbled of the platform that Blinking Owl Eyecare has created for many ODs and how we’ve been able to change what it means to be a practice owner within Target Optical and EssilorLuxottica as a whole. It’s really a success for the field of optometry more so than for my individual success.” she says.

Follow her journey on LinkedIn under Faten Edris, O.D. or on Instagram @blinkingowleyecare

Read more stories from Target Optical on WO here.

See more photos from the Target Optical Summit here.

 

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