Research reveals public perceptions of opticians

Today the GOC published the 2019 Public perceptions research and supporting infographic, which explores how patients view and interact with opticians and the services they provide.

The research findings encompass a range of topics, including where patients would go if they had an eye health problem, their views on the quality of care, the frequency of contact with opticians and their views on complaint handling.

An important finding which emerged from the research was that 32 per cent of respondents said they would see a GP first if they woke up with an acute eye health problem in comparison to 25 per cent who said they would see an optician. Geographical analysis of responses showed significant differences across the nations. Respondents from Scotland (34%), Wales (33%) and Northern Ireland (28%) were all more likely to say that they would visit an optician first when compared to respondents from England.

Alistair Bridge, GOC Director of Strategy, said

"We are pleased to see that public confidence and satisfaction with opticians remains high. 96 per cent of patients reported they were satisfied with the optician who had carried out their eye test, and 94 per cent were satisfied with the overall experience of opticians.

"It was also positive to see that of those patients that did experience something going wrong, three-fifths had received an apology. Each year this number has increased and we look forward to seeing further improvement in this area. We encourage all of our registrants to read the research report and learn from the insights."

Key findings in the survey include:

  • 46 per cent of respondents viewed opticians as providing both a healthcare and retail experience.
  • 69 per cent of respondents had visited an optician in the last two years.
  • Only 13% of respondents had experienced anything going wrong with the care they received from an optician, and 58% of those had received an apology.
  • 90% of respondents were confident that they would receive a high standard of care from an optician.

A total of 2,000 members of the public were surveyed. An infographic and the full research report can be found on the GOC website.


For further information please contact:

Communications Team

General Optical Council

t: 020 7307 3478 – option 3


Notes to editors:

  1. The GOC previously carried out public perceptions research in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Read the previous reports in our research report pages.
  2. In 2015, 19 per cent of respondents said they would go to an optician if they woke up with an eye problem, compared to 25 percent in 2019.

About the General Optical Council

The GOC is the regulator for the optical professions in the UK. Its purpose is to protect the public by promoting high standards of education, conduct and performance amongst opticians. The Council currently registers over 30,000 optometrists, dispensing opticians, student opticians and optical businesses.