It was the week when the optics' biggest players hit back at findings by consumer watchdog Which? suggesting the profession was performing poorly. The debate continues to rage on this discussion page hosted by Which? with an anonymous optometrist - in keeping with the secret shopper theme - saying the low NHS fee has driven the race for spectacle sales. On top of this, the optometrist says high overheads for a high street practice, a crowded marketplace, internet sales and less disposable income means every penny counts at the moment. But it was how thorough a visit to the optometrist was that Which? flagged up most. Responses from Optical Express, Tesco Opticians, Scrivens Opticians and Boots Opticians were all rather defensive, saying the small sample of practices visited was to blame for 'poor' and 'very poor' rankings. Ironically, the only firm to pick up an excellent score for service in the report, Rayner Opticians, did not to return calls from this news desk. Rayner instead flagged up the achievement via Twitter. Although the Which? report was limited to 40 practices across the country, it did manage to include every major chain and a cross section of independents. Claims those stores surveyed were the exception rather than the rule don't quite wash. A better defence, in my opinion, would be reference to the 92% of Which? members who rated their last visit to the optician as thorough. This gulf between public perception and the wider findings means one of two things - either patient expectations are too low or Which? expectations are too high.