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Disciplines covered

Customer Insight • Market Research • Research

With an increasingly competitive marketplace for cataract procedures, Optegra needed to better understand the NHS referral decision making process & journey amongst the optometrist community, and deep dive into the key drivers & barriers that impact and ultimately drive referrals, as well as understand how their brand is perceived vs. the competition.

Optegra embarked on an extensive piece of research with optoms in partnership with full-service research agency field&track Research, who explored the referral process in depth and provided key recommendations for the business to optimise market share moving forward.

The Challenge

Optegra Eye Health Care has 12 hospitals and clinics across the UK offering cataract surgery and the latest vision correction and laser eye surgery treatments. Optegra delivers procedures through two major pathways – NHS public funded and private/self-pay patients. Over the last few years, the business has seen significant growth driven by NHS referrals, and in 2023 delivered over 40,000 cataract procedures. 

However, despite 2023 being a good year in respect to NHS referrals with YTD referrals growing double digits but this included new clinics that have opened. Growth has slowed down in the last couple of quarters and there were increasingly competitive challenges in certain locations with the arrival of new providers competing for market share, plus waiting lists for ophthalmology have reduced significantly in the last 2 years. Moreover, with the advance of technology the market has become more homogeneous and point of difference between providers have become marginal.

Our approach

Field&track Research ltd undertook an integrated research programme, starting with a customer survey amongst a mix of 900 low and high referring optoms, to explore decision making journey, key influences on the referral process and provider perceptions and preferences.  Data from this was used to undertake regression analysis to explore the relationship and influence of different variables that drive referral (or not).

Finally, online qualitative focus groups were conducted with both low and high referring optoms across a number of high street optician brands & independents across the UK to deep dive & further explore the reasons and key influencers on the referral process, as well as explore brand perceptions for Optegra & competitive set.


  • Qualitative Research
  • Quantitative Research
  • Focus Groups
  • Surveys
  • Customer Journey Mapping
  • Regression Analysis
  • Statistical Modelling
  • Brand Strategy


Using insights & recommendations from the research, Optegra formulated an action plan to focus on a number of key areas in the decision journey to make the referral process easier and more compelling for Optoms vs. competitors.

They also made plans to dial up marketing initiatives that were very popular with the optom community to drive greater brand saliency and engagement with optoms, such as professional education & networking events for the optom community.

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