AOP responds to new findings on bullying, harassment and discrimination in optics

The AOP endorses a commitment to more inclusive work environments for members – highlighting resources that tackle bullying and discrimination at work

Responding to new findings of the General Optical Council’s (GOC) Registrant Workforce and Perceptions Survey 2023, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) has joined forces with others across the sector to make a series of commitments against discrimination.  

The GOC survey found:

  • 41% of respondents reported having experienced harassment, bullying, or abuse at work from patients and service users, their relatives, or other members of the public 
  • 18% reported having experienced harassment, bullying, or abuse from managers
  • 24% said they had experienced discrimination from patients and service users, their relatives, or members of the public

In a joint statement, the sector commits to promoting and embedding a positive working environment based on respect, civility, compassion, and inclusion to ensure safe and supportive workplaces for optical professionals.

Adam Sampson, Chief Executive at the Association of Optometrists said: “Every eye care professional should be able to go to work without the fear of discrimination, harassment or abuse but this is not the reality for all practitioners. 

“The findings of the GOC survey are deeply troubling and echo the results of the AOP’s equality, diversity and inclusion survey which showed one in four optometrists had either experienced or witnessed discrimination at work in the last two years. Sustained action is needed to tackle toxic work environments. This is why we continue to work with employers in the sector on this issue while also providing guidance, advice and resources for our members to use if they are experiencing harmful behaviour at work.” 

The AOP maintains a zero-tolerance approach to protect practitioners as part of the 100% Respect campaign launched in 2022, designed to unite optometry against discrimination and improve equality and inclusion in optics. 

The AOP’s expert legal and employment team have produced a range of resources to promote inclusion and the Anti-Racism and Equality Team (ARET), made up of AOP staff optometrists, provide emotional and practical support for members facing discrimination.

For more information on 100% Respect, visit: 


For more information, please contact Anjola Sulaiman, PR and Media Executive, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2062.

Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the voice of the optical profession, representing over 80% of practising optometrists. The AOP elevates the work of its members, safeguards their interests, and champions eye health across the UK. For more information, visit