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April 1996

The RAND Manpower StudyRetire, Refract or Re-educate?

Arch Ophthalmol. 1996;114(4):476-477. doi:10.1001/archopht.1996.01100130472022

The incontrovertible finding of the RAND manpower study1 is that the capacity of the current eye care workforce significantly exceeds the current demand for US eye care. The simplest conclusion to draw is that there are too many ophthalmologists. "Retire, retrain, or relocate" was the catchphrase used to describe the study's initial release. An almost simultaneous refrain in the effort to recapture primary eye care was to forge an alliance with a major optical chain to provide greater opportunity to participate in primary vision care, ie, refract. Perhaps the most important "R-based" conclusion to be drawn from the manpower study is the least discussed: re-educate.

The RAND study underscores the need to ensure that careful attention be paid to the number of ophthalmologists being trained and that residency training programs are of the highest quality. The study suggests that the projected excess of ophthalmologists is substantially greater if primary

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