Optometry and optical industry in Europe - Statistics & Facts
Optometry and optics are linked professions with the roles of both varying in different countries of the EU. An optician is responsible for assembling and dispensing eyeglasses or contact lenses, whereas ophthalmologists or optometrists are the primary healthcare practitioners of the eye with responsibility for providing comprehensive eye care, including diagnosing and managing disease and dispensing prescriptions. The scope of practice varies between countries as a result of the education system, the law and the organization of the profession. France employs the largest number of opticians, with a rate of 5.55 per 10,000 population employed in 2020. However, Cyprus had the largest number of optician retail outlets, with a recorded 2.69 outlets per 10,000 population in 2020. In Spain and several Nordic countries, the optometry and optics professions are combined, which explains the large numbers of optometrists employed in these countries compared to the number of opticians.
In the United Kingdom it is recommended that individuals receive an eye test every two years, or earlier if there are any problems. This is considered standard practice across the European Union with eye tests conducted by ophthalmologists or optometrists in specialized settings. In many European countries, eye tests are free or subsidized for children and the elderly.
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