The eye care industry in the UK is primarily concerned with the preservation of ocular health, and the correction of eye problems that can decrease vision capacity. Having witnessed a sharp decrease in revenue in 2020/21, the industry is expected to recover in 2022/23 with easier access to in person appointments. Eye health continues to be a vital aspect of the wider healthcare industry within the UK, with innovations continuing to improve the standard of care on offer.
What is the Eye Care Industry?
Within the eye care industry are varied professions that all contribute to different parts of the wider industry. These include dispensing opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists. A dispensing optician prescribes and dispenses glasses, contact lenses, and helps optometrists. Optometrists are qualified eye care professionals and can examine your eyes to detect visual defects. They are usually involved in a routine eye check. Finally, an ophthalmologist is a doctor/surgeon who is specifically trained in eye care to treat conditions and diseases affecting eye health. These professionals are all vital in providing a well-rounded approach to eye care within the UK.
What is R&D within the Eye Care Industry?
The eye care industry has an abundance of potential for R&D, with both scientific and technological innovations being developed by a number of companies. Advances made within the industry cover all stages of eye care – whether it’s a routine check-up at your local opticians or a complex surgical procedure, the treatment you receive will have at some point benefitted from R&D. Below are some examples of the significant innovations that have hit the eye care industry:
- Ability to correct hereditary eyesight issues using gene therapy
- Using animal testing to research and develop new drug treatments for eye conditions
- Development of regenerative medicine used to heal patients faster after eye surgery
- Ability to detect and diagnose eye conditions through image recognition algorithms. AI can spot certain diseases within patients earlier which allows greater chance of recovery
- Creation of artificial retinas that treat retinal degradation
Despite the fantastic advances that have been made within the eye care industry, there remains a significant scope for further R&D developments.
How R&D tax credits can help companies in the Eye Care Industry
You may be thinking that R&D activity within your company could be eligible for R&D tax credits, but curious about what activities would qualify and what the benefits of the scheme are.
Varying forms of expenditure that has in some way contributed to the project will be classed as eligible for tax relief. Here are some examples in relation to R&D within retail:
- Prototypes and their testing, for example the formulation of new medicine and subsequent interactions aimed at assessing its capabilities
- Direct R&D staff costs, such as a head researcher of the R&D project
- Ancillary activities essential to the undertaking of R&D (e.g., taking on and paying staff, leasing laboratories, and maintaining research and development equipment including computers used for R&D purposes)
Whilst there are obvious financial benefits to be gained from the R&D tax credit system, the implementation of R&D can significantly improve the way a company operates. Increased efficiency, a reduction of costs, and enhancing the customer experience are examples of incentives that can be found when initially planning to go forward with an R&D project.
The financial benefit as mentioned is also significant. In the past, companies have used the tax credits in several ways, such as the hiring of new staff to expand their business, starting a new R&D project, and expanding their business in areas that were previously unaffordable.
The next step
Our team at Kirby and Haslam are specialists when it comes to R&D tax relief. If you feel like your company could be eligible for R&D tax credits, then do not hesitate to enquire – our team of experts will help you along every stage in the process.
To find out more about how Kirby & Haslam can help your business, click here.