Eye care in the UK
There were approximately 23.5 thousand ophthalmic opticians in employment in the UK in 2021. In contrast to the increasing number of dispensing opticians; the number of ophthalmic opticians has experienced more fluctuations over the same time period, but ultimately falling from a peak of 24 thousand in 2013.
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.