New Independent practice guide from the AOP

Advice on establishing a new practice, taking over an existing practice or becoming a partner

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has launched a new guide for optical professionals on setting up an independent practice. Split into 11 easy to digest chapters the guide, which has been created with the support of the Association of British Dispensing Opticians (ABDO), covers the considerations and practicalities of establishing a new practice, taking over an existing practice or becoming a partner.

Dr Peter Hampson, the AOP’s Clinical Director and independent practice owner, said that he believed the guide would be an indispensable resource. He commented: “I know from experience that setting up your own practice can be daunting. The AOP’s Independent practice guide aims to make the process as understandable and accessible as possible, giving an honest assessment of the risks, benefits and disadvantages of each option. We’ve also signposted further resources and reading where useful. I hope it will be something that practitioners return to time and time again during their journey.”

Topics covered by the guide include: finding the right practice or location and finance options, recruiting and rewarding staff, purchasing equipment, and conforming to tax and data protection requirements. Created by the AOP’s expert legal, financial and clinical teams, the guide gives a balanced view of practitioner’s options, including the pros and cons, and common pitfalls.

Wendy Steele, the AOP’s Commercial Director, said the publication aimed to fulfil an unmet need within the Association’s membership. Ms Steele explained: “We know that optical professionals, be they optometrists or dispensing opticians, are often highly ambitious both in their clinical practice and business ideas. However, while many will have the best clinical knowledge available, it can be a struggle to find comprehensive guidance on the business aspects. This guide brings together a variety of considerations to provide a straight-forward easy to read overview for those looking to set up an independent practice, or who are simply exploring their options.”

The Independent practice guide can be viewed or downloaded online. It supports the Association’s existing business resources for members.  


For more information, please contact Emily Campbell, Interim PR and Media Manager, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2040.

Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. We support over 80% of practising optometrists, to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. For more information, visit

Independent practice guide

The AOP’s Independent practice guide is an online member resource developed by the AOP’s expert legal, financial and clinical teams. The guide covers setting up, or buying into, an independent practice with advice divided into 11 chapters:

  • Independent — how is this achieved?
  • Developing a business plan
  • How to finance your purchase
  • Business skills
  • Operational logistics
  • Practice staff
  • Practice image
  • Marketing and public relations
  • Setting business goals and objectives
  • Business accounts and taxes
  • Other options: franchise or joint venture partnership