Eyesight tests through the national health service in England 2000-2019

In 2018/19 there were approximately 13.2 million eyesight tests conducted in England through the NHS. The number of sight tests carried out by the NHS has increased nearly year-on-year since the year 2000 when around 9.6 million tests were conducted.

Seeing clearly now

As of 2017, almost 70 percent of the population of the United Kingdom wore spectacles, among the highest rates in Europe, signifying that most of the British population has a need for the millions of sight tests carried out per year. Additionally, as of 2017 over six percent of the British population wear contact lenses.

Factors increasing demand for opticians

Since 2004, the number of optometrists in England has increased dramatically. There were less than eight thousand practicing optometrists in 2004, by 2018 this number increased to almost 13.5 thousand. Female representation in this field has also increased over this time so that in 2018, 55.5 percent of practicing optometrists in 2018 were female compared to 45.5 percent male.

Number of national health service (NHS) sight tests in England from 2000/01 to 2018/19

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Release date

August 2019


United Kingdom (England)

Survey time period

April 2000 to March 2019

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Statistics on "Optometry and optical industry in the UK"

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