Our five-year strategy 2022–2026

The external influences shaping optometry, our refreshed purpose and values, and our strategy and roadmap for the future


Our strategy outlines our direction and priorities for the next five years for the AOP. It is built upon the established assets of the organisation: the leadership of the Board and Council, the knowledge and commitment of the management team and staff, and the insight and passion of our members. It also takes as its starting point a close analysis of the external environment in which the AOP membership is working — and to which we must continue to anticipate, respond and influence.

Change is now

Since 2020, the COVID pandemic has transformed the landscape for health and social care in the UK. Speed of thought and action was essential to respond to a rapidly changing situation, posing serious risk to the health of millions of patients and the NHS staff providing their care.

Whether working in a community practice, as a domiciliary optometrist making visits to patients at home, or within a hospital eye care team, many of our optometrist members continued to offer clinical care to those who needed it most. The need to adopt innovative new ways of working was essential during this time; from the use of remote consultations to triage patient need, to the rollout of the CUES model that brought together eye care services in a new way and reduced the pressure on secondary care teams.

These lessons, and the national cost of living economic challenges we now face in 2022, reiterate the urgency for a strategy to address the issues of the day with ambition and confidence.

Our strategic ambitions

Our new five-year strategy is ambitious. It builds on everything we have achieved, but recognises the need to reflect the impact that changes to the way health and social care is commissioned and delivered, along with innovative technologies, and regulatory and legislative reform, will have on the sector.

Based on our core values and purpose, the five key pillars of our five-year strategy will ensure members not only have a say in the future of their profession, but are well equipped, supported and ready for the future of optical care.

Over the next five years, these key pillars will underpin our work:

1. Creating a vision for legislation and regulation

Potential changes to the Opticians Act and the GOC will mean the AOP will need to undertake detailed work on behalf of its members to ensure the future of the profession is defended and secured.

2. Building external influence and policy making

Extending and expanding the AOP’s influence both within the sector and externally to system leaders and the wider population as the sector evolves and changes due to health reforms, innovative technologies, regulation and clinical advancements.

3. Our role in the future of healthcare

Ensuring the AOP is a leader and catalyst for change in the context of new healthcare commissioning and operating systems (ICSs and PCNs), and the long-held ambition to move more services into community-based settings and to deliver care closer to home.

4. Economics in the optical sector

Given the significant drivers of change in the sector, the AOP will need to shape a collective view on the current and future picture of the ‘market’ in order to identify where and how we should be leading the focus of resource (clinical, non-clinical and workforce).

5. Our future business model

Delivering a business model which enables the AOP to flex and change to retain and enhance our position in the sector and ensure we deliver the services our members need.

Read more about our purpose and values.