Low-stress guide introduction

Our best-practice guide to create a healthy, low-stress optical practices

In the AOP’s 2017 health and wellbeing survey, we uncovered several factors that contribute to workplace stress for optometrists. These include working under time and commercial pressures, an increasingly complex workload, and a fear of litigation. Many optometrists also feel undervalued as health professionals, both within the workplace and outside it. While the issues raised were seen across a broad range of employers, they were most prevalent in the larger groups.

Employer input 

We have been working with several employers to create a best-practice guide, Creating healthy, low-stress optical practices, but would like to express our particular thanks to Boots Opticians, Specsavers and Vision Express for their collaboration and input. 

It is clear that we share the same goals - to ensure we create workplace environments in which optometrists can thrive.


This short guide summarises our conclusions from the research and from our collaborations with employers, highlighting the five key factors that contribute to a healthy workplace with the minimum levels of stress:

  1. The importance of the optometrist’s role is recognised
  2. Workloads and work patterns are well-managed
  3. A comfortable working environment with adequate rest breaks
  4. Fostering good team relationships
  5. Openness about change and the need to change

There is also some general advice for employees and employers.

The guide is suitable for all optometrists and those who manage optometrists, to help address problems and open conversations with managers and colleagues.

Guide distribution

The guide has been sent to all UK AOP members in the April 2018 edition of Optometry Today, it will also be distributed through Boots Opticians, Specsavers and Vision Express directly to their employees. The guide is also available to download for members and non-members. 

If members would like to receive additional hard copies of the guide, please email your name, membership number, practice address and number of copies required to [email protected]. (Subject to availability.) 

Manager letter

As an accompaniment to the guide, we have developed a letter for optometrists to pass on to their managers or practice mangers, along with a copy of the guide, should they feel it will aid their conversations. 

Using the guide

The guide isn’t meant to be prescriptive or directed to a ‘type’ of organisation, we’ve worked with number of optical employers to pull together examples that could be rolled out into any practice.

We hope it is a helpful addition to a practice’s current processes and useful in starting conversations to help create stronger teams, and optical practices where stress levels are low and job satisfaction high.


The guide was piloted at 100% Optical 2018, with a corresponding CET session on Sunday 28 January. Feedback from the CET session has been worked into this second edition of the guide. A short video created at the end of the session can be accessed below.