Number of ophthalmic opticians in the United Kingdom (UK) 2010-2019

There were approximately 15 thousand ophthalmic opticians in employment in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2019. The number of ophthalmic opticians has undergone some fluctuations over the time period but ultimately decreased from a peak of 24 thousand in 2013. 

Dispensing opticians in the UK

In 2019, there were approximately 5.7 thousand dispensing opticians in employment in the United Kingdom. This is the lowest number of dispensing opticians since 2014. A dispensing optician is different from an optometrist as they do not test people’s eyesight but advise on and supply spectacles and other visual aids to those who need it. 

Comparison to European countries

The UK has quite a low number of opticians per 10,000 population when compared to other European countries. In 2017, there were just over one optician per 10,000 people in the UK, while France had 5.34 per 10,000 which was the highest in Europe. Additionally, the UK had 1.11 optician retail outlets per 10,000 population which again ranks it low in comparison to the rest of Europe. Cyprus had the highest density of outlets at 2.54 per 10,000 population. 

Annual number of ophthalmic opticians in the United Kingdom (UK) from 2010 to 2019

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Release date

October 2019


United Kingdom

Survey time period

2010 to 2019

Supplementary notes

Numbers rounded to the nearest thousand.

Annual population survey data relating to employees and self-employed health professionals by occupation group (based on Standard Occupation Classification 2010, code 2214).

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Statistics on "Optometry and optical industry in the UK"

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