Number of optometrists in England 2004-2018

There were almost 13.5 thousand practicing optometrists in England in 2018. The number of optometrists in England has increased since 2004, when there were less than eight thousand practicing at that time within the country. 55.5 percent of practicing optometrists in 2018 were female compared to 45.5 percent male. Since 2008 the share of female optometrists has increased while the share of males has decreased.

Demand for opticians in UK

In 2017, almost 70 percent of the population of the United Kingdom wore spectacles, this was among the highest proportions in Europe, indicating that most of the British population has a need for optometrists and opticians. Additionally, as of 2017 over six percent of the British population wear contact lenses.

Comparisons with European countries

With a rate of 2.3 optometrists per 10,000 population, the United Kingdom has the fifth highest density of optometrists in Europe in 2017. Spain had the highest rate at 3.63 per 10,000. Furthermore, the UK had 1.01 opticians per 10,000 people, which put it only ranked it seventeenth compared to the rest of Europe, a lot lower than the rate of 5.34 in France which was highest in Europe.

Number of optometrists practicing in England from 2004 to 2018

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Release date

March 2019


United Kingdom (England)

Survey time period

As of December 31, 2004 to December 31, 2018

Supplementary notes

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Statistics on "Optometry and optical industry in the UK"

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