GOC reveals insights from public perceptions research

The General Optical Council (GOC) has published its 2022 public perceptions research, which gathers insight into the public’s views and experiences of opticians/optometrist practices in the UK. 

The research measures and tracks experiences and perceptions over time. This year, public satisfaction remains high, with 94 per cent of respondents who had had a sight test/eye examination in the last two years reporting they were satisfied with their last visit to an opticians/optometrist practice.  

Key findings include:  

  • 34 per cent of respondents said they would go to an opticians/optometrist practice first if they woke up with an eye problem – an all-time high for the profession and in line with those who would first approach a GP (35 per cent). Differences were found between nations: 51 per cent of respondents in Scotland would go to an opticians/optometrist practice first, compared to 45 per cent in Northern Ireland, 42 per cent in Wales and 27 per cent in England.   
  • 42 per cent of respondents stated that they would consider undertaking their sight test or eye examination remotely, with more than half of respondents (52 per cent) being likely to choose a service in which a computer diagnosed an eye condition without an optometrist being involved. 
  • 87 per cent said they were satisfied with the protections in place during their last optician visit to protect them from coronavirus.  

Steve Brooker, Director of Regulatory Strategy, said: “We are delighted that public confidence and satisfaction in the profession remains high, especially after a particularly challenging couple of years. We want to thank our registrants for their continued hard work and dedication to the profession and for delivering high-quality eyecare to the public.  

“It is notable that just as many people with an emergency eye problem would now seek initial care from an optician as a GP. It is encouraging to see the public recognise the ability of registrants to meet a wider range of patient needs, although clearly, for now, the picture is different across the UK. 

“We hope to continue seeing high public satisfaction being maintained and encourage registrants to use the insights from this research to help deliver high-quality optical care services.” 

The GOC will use the data from the survey to inform its work on legislative reform and its standards review as part of the GOC’s five-year strategic plan, ‘Fit for the Future’. 

M·E·L Research carried out the research, receiving responses from more than 2,000 members of the public, including those who have signed up to take part in online research on a variety of subject areas. 

The full report is available on the GOC website