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FODO Publishes Optics at a Glance

FODO publishes the latest version of “Optics at a Glance” from 2010 stats

August 2011

The OAG publication has been the key source of information about optometry, opticians, the UK optical market and services, for 30 years.

This year it includes data on sight tests and spectacles provided by members of the Federation of Ophthalmic & Dispensing Opticians (FODO) and data on contact lenses provided by members of the Association of Contact Lens Manufacturers (ACLM).

The information received is merged with GOS and NHS statistical data which shows that  68% of adults aged 16 and over wear spectacles or contact lenses. (Men:65% Women:71%).

By extrapolating figures of private sight tests against NHS tests provided by FODO members estimates for 2010 show an overall increase of 4.5% over previous year’s figures. The major increase of 5.1% surprisingly being found within the private sector.

Volume of sight testsIn this survey of FODO members the average charge to patients for a private sight test, excluding ‘no-charge’, discounts and special offers, was £21.30 (from within a range of £15 – £50). FODO insists that the average is less than half the actual cost of providing a sight test. They assert that this reflects the market reality of spectacle sales subsidising the cost of both private and NHS sight tests, except in Scotland.

All these sight tests culminated in 63% with changed Rx, 6% in contact lenses and 5% were referred for further investigation.

The average interval between sight tests remained the same as 2009 at 26 months, with an estimated average interval for working age adults remaining at 29 months.

In the survey, the proportion of re-glazed spectacles remained at 6%. Reflecting the continuing
competitiveness of the price of new spectacles.

For those being supplied with vouchers towards the cost of specs 92% of practices stocked spectacles for children and 84% for adults, within the NHS voucher value (£36.20 to £200.10). But many patients exercise their right to use a voucher as part payment towards higher value products.

Patients, who are eligible for a NHS sight test, but who are unable to leave their own home or residential home unaccompanied because of physical or mental illness or disability, are entitled to a free NHS eyecare service at home. PHN has highlighted this before and has a special Domiciliary register for practices to freely announce their services to the public at which is searchable by region by the public.

In England, during 2009-10, 1.46 million adults received care services in their own home provided by Councils following a community care assessment. A further 225,600 adults were living in residential or nursing care homes – a decrease of 2% from 2008-09.The majority of these would be eligible for a free NHS domiciliary sight test.

Overall in the UK in 2009-10 a total of 450,824 domiciliary sight tests were carried out, suggesting that many vulnerable people are still missing out on vital eye care services.

Out of the groups that are eligible for a NHS paid for sight tests OAG provides an insight as to how they split down in England for 2009-10.


Aged 60 or over:    44.0%
Children under 16:    20.8%
Under 19 in full time education:   4.5%
Adults receiving Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance, Tax Credit or Income-related ESA 17.7%
Low income certificate holders (HC2):  0.9%
Diabetes or glaucoma sufferer:   6.0%
Relatives aged 40 and over of glaucoma sufferers (parent, brother, sister, son or daughter)       5.5 %
Registered blind or partially sighted:  0.2%
Need complex lenses:    0.5%
Prisoner on leave:    0.0%

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