Undercover investigators at the product reviews company Which? reported that only two out of five opticians are giving "satisfactory" eye screenings in the UK.
In total, researchers went to 30 different eye care facilities for routine screenings. Journalists involved in this study went to both independent and chain eye care practices.
When asked what they thought of their consultations, the investigators agreed that 13 out of the 30 practices were either "poor" or "very poor." Just one practice got an overall "excellent" rating and another one received a "good" score. Believe it or not, only one practice got an overall "satisfactory" rating.
A few optician chains that got very poor ratings include ASDA Opticians and Optical Express. Companies like Tesco, Vision Express, and Boots Opticians got mediocre ratings. The higher ratings went to Specsavers, Scrivens, and independent or regional chains.
As you could imagine, optical companies all across the UK had strong reactions to this survey.
Stephen Hannan, the clinical service director of Optical Express, said he was "very surprised" by the report. Hannan went on to say that this report in no way reflects the company's high standards for eye screenings. Optical Express received only one "satisfactory" rating and three "poor" scores in the Which? survey.
Spokesmen for ASDA Opticians also complained that the Which? study wasn't a proper reflection of their company. Three Which? reviewers gave ASDA scores of "very poor," "poor," and "satisfactory."
Specsavers' executives had more favorable things to say about the Which? article. Instead of denying the results, Specsavers' spokespeople said they would seriously look into the report and see how they could improve their customer care. Specsavers received three "satisfactory" scores and only one "not satisfactory."
Boots Opticians also said it would take a good look at the Which? study and see what measures it could take to enhance eye screenings. Boots got two "not satisfactory" and two "satisfactory" scores.
Moving on to Scrivens Opticians & Healing Care, this company's directors said they "welcome the Which? findings and will take any lessons to be learned on board and make sure they feature in our continuous professional development training." This company got two "good," one "poor," and one "satisfactory" scores.
Vision Express had the most mixed reviews of all the clinics. The four Which? investigators who went there gave the company scores of "poor," "very poor," "satisfactory," and "good." Executives at Vision Express said they were looking into why these ratings fell so short of their expectations.
Lastly, Tesco simply told the press that it would look closely into the findings. This huge multinational corporation received two "poor" and two "satisfactory" ratings.
While the UK's General Optical Council (GOC) and the Association of Optometrists (AOP) respect the Which? report, they don't want the public to panic. As of today, there's no evidence that the Which? data is similar across all sectors.
The GOC is now working closely with journalists at Which? to find out more study details.
Anyone interested in learning more about this Which? report can check out the October 17th, 2017 edition of the magazine. The article is called "Two out of five eye tests not up to scratch, according to Which? probe."