15 May 2023

Take part in our Clinical Practice Survey and help shape the profession

By taking part in this survey, you will help the College gather evidence to support the future needs of the optometry profession.

We are inviting you to take part in this research study that explores the optometry profession in the UK and the work that UK optometrists do in their day-to-day practice. 

Your feedback will help us to: 

  • understand current trends within UK optometric practice
  • identify how best to support the profession
  • influence policy
  • plan research
  • develop CPD that is responsive to your interests and needs.

The deadline for completing the survey is Monday 19 June.

More about the study

If you are eligible to take part in this research, you will have received a link via email to the online Clinical Practice Survey at the address that you registered with the College.

The optometry profession changes over time, as the members of the profession change, and as the health systems within which optometrists work are altered by health professionals and policy makers. Although there may be aspects of optometric practice that stay relatively stable over time, the introduction of new equipment and technologies, along with the development of new medications and interventions and gradual changes in the population accessing services, all have the potential to alter the daily work of optometrists. In order for the profession to understand these changes, it is important to collect data from time to time about the work that optometrists are doing.

The College of Optometrists (the College) has for the last 16 years carried out Clinical Practice Surveys. The data from these surveys helps inform the Colleges’ priorities for engaging with government and health policy makers, the focus of our CPD and training materials, and our future research. Every profession needs evidence to show what it is doing, how that work may have changed, and where there may be opportunities to do more to support the work of the health system and to delivery care to patients.

This study is organised by the College, the professional body for optometry in the UK. The College is a UK registered Charity. Our team carry out research for the benefit of optometrists and the patients that the profession serves.

You are eligible to take part in this study if you:

  • are a GOC registered optometrist working in the UK
  • are a College member and registered with us as a pre-registration (pre-reg) optometrist
  • are currently working as an optometrist in one or more clinical settings where you see patients in your capacity as an optometrist or pre-reg optometrist
  • are happy for the anonymous data that you provide to be used by the College and our research partners to improve the profession’s understanding of the work that optometrists do in the UK, and to extend the evidence relating to optometry practice.

You will have received a link to the online Clinical Practice Survey (CPS). By following the link and selecting the option to consent to take part in the study, you will be able to see the Clinical Practice Survey questionnaire and complete the questions.

The answers that you provide to the CPS questionnaire will be held anonymously – if you decide to provide your email address to be included in the prize draw, that will be removed and used only for the prize draw process. Any other personal, identifiable data, such as your GOC number used to ensure that only valid data from currently registered optometrists is collected, will be removed, so that your answers to the survey questions will be anonymous.  

We may use quotes from free text fields to support our findings, but we will not use names or any other information that could identify you. The final report and any published papers will be available to you as a member of The College of Optometrists.

No, participation in this study is completely voluntary, and your care or legal rights are not affected if you do not want to take part. If you decide that you would like to take part, you have the right to change your mind and withdraw at any time, without having to give a reason why. However, once your questionnaire response has been anonymised it will not be possible to remove your data from the final data set, as the research team will have no way of identifying your data within that data set. 

All College members who are either GOC registered and currently practicing, or current pre-reg optometrists on the Scheme for Registration have been asked to take part.

The survey is a detailed questionnaire. It will take around 30 minutes of your time to complete. Apart from the time used, there should be no disadvantage to taking part in this survey.

List of support organisations:

Anxiety UK provide support for those diagnosed with an anxiety condition. Contact their helpline on 0344 4775774 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am to 10pm; Sat-Sun, 10am to 8pm) 

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) provide support to males aged 15 to 35 who require support. You can contact CALM on 0800 585858 (daily, 5pm to midnight)

Mind promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems. Mind can be contacted on 0300 1233393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)

Samaritans provide confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. They can be contacted for free on 116 123 (24-hours a day)

Please visit the NHS website for a full list of mental health and emotional support services.

There are no direct benefits to you as an individual optometrist, but by taking part in this study, you will contribute to the development of your profession’s evidence base, and to your professional body’s ability to influence policy, and plan for the development of the profession effectively. College members have been very generous with their time in completing previous Clinical Practice Surveys, providing high response rates to past surveys – the more members who complete the survey the more reliable, valuable and impactful the data collected will be. Professions that have good data are better able to engage with policy makers, so the data that you provide is very important to the future of your profession. The final results will also give all members an opportunity to see how their day-to-day practice compares with the work that their colleagues in other parts of the UK are doing.

Yes. Your participation and the data collected from you in this study will be kept confidential. We will remove any data that identifies you at the first stage in data analysis. It will not be possible for the College’s research team, or our research partners to identify you as a participant, or your data within the final data set. We may use quotes from the free text fields to support our findings in any reports we write about the project, but we will not use names or any other information which may identify you.

College Privacy and Cookies Policy

The process of ethical review helps to ensure the safety of participants and the security of any information they provide. The CPS survey tool has been reviewed by The College of Optometrists’ Research Committee, which includes lay members and co-opted members from other professions and organisations.

Contact for further information

If you would like to withdraw from, or have any questions, queries, and concerns about the research, please contact the Director of Knowledge and Research at Michael.bowen@college-optometrists.org.

The College of Optometrists is committed to making research inclusive and accessible. 

Related further reading

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What is the impact of global warming on eye health? Sophie Goodchild looks at the science and provides an update on the latest learning for optometrists about UV protection for patients.