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Optics at a Glance: 2013 & 2014

News posted: 10/10/2015

The Optical Confederation has published the 2013 and 2014 editions of Optics at a Glance – the key source of information about optometry, opticians, the optical market and services available to patients, for the years ending 31 March 2013 and 31 March 2014.

The statistics are drawn from:

  • A survey of Optical Confederation members for the year to 31 March 2013 and for the year to 31 March 2014
  • Government data for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland
  • The Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers (ACLM), College of Optometrists, General Optical Council (GOC)

Key Points – Government Statistics

 Year ending 31 March 2013 Year ending 31 March 2014
  • The number of NHS sight tests carried out in the UK in 2012-13 rose slightly (by 0.32%) to 15.47 million (from 15.42 million in 2011-12).
  • Comparison of data sets indicates that there is a shortfall between the number of patients who are likely to be entitled to NHS domiciliary eyecare and the number of patients receiving the service, as in the past few years.
  • The number of NHS sight tests carried out in the UK in 2013-14 rose (by 3.6%) to 16.027 million (from 15.47 million in 2012-13).
  • Although sight tests over the whole of the UK rose Wales saw a decrease of 1.2%.
  • Domiciliary sight tests in England rose by 5.2% and rose even further in Wales by 10.2%. In Northern Ireland, however, domiciliary sight tests decreased by 8.3%.

Key Points – Optical Confederation Members Survey

 Year ending 31 March 2013  Year ending 31 March 2014
  • 2.9% of patients were referred to a GP or hospital (a decrease from 5% in 2011-12).
  • The average charge to patients for a private sight test, excluding ‘no charge’, discounts and special offers, increased to £25.18 (from £22.24 in 2011-12).
  • The average interval between sight tests decreased to 24 months (from 27 months in 2011-12).
  • 93.3% of optical practices stocked a range of spectacles within voucher values for children (a decrease from 100% in 2011 and 2012). 93.3% of optical practices also stocked spectacles for adults.
  • The proportion of re-glazed spectacles increased to 9.8% (from 6.8% in 2011-12).
  • The annual contact lens care fee increased to £42.53 (from £34.95 in 2011-12). The percentage of people on a contact lens regular payment scheme was 60.2%. This was a new category in the survey and the figures had not previously been requested.
  • 3.6% of patients were referred to a GP or hospital (an increase from 2.9% in 2012-13).
  • The average charge to patients for a private sight test, excluding ‘no charge’, discounts and special offers, increased to £26.00 (from £25.18 in 2012-13).
  • The average interval between sight tests increased to 25 months (from 24 months in 2012-13).
  • 93.3% of optical practices stocked a range of spectacles within voucher values for children the same percentage as for adults.
  • The proportion of re-glazed spectacles decreased to 7.7% (from 9.8% in 2012-13).
  • The annual contact lens care fee remained the same £42.53. The percentage of people on a contact lens regular payment scheme decreased to 55% (from 60.2% in 2012-13).

Key Points – Contact lenses

According to the Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers (ACLM) the percentage of contact lens wearers remained the same at 9% of the adult population.