The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has raised concerns over a planned acquisition of Tesco Opticians by Vision Express.
An initial investigation by the CMA found that the merger might lead to a substantial lessening of competition within the UK eyecare markets, leading to price increases or quality compromises.
Three areas that is said will be particularly affected are Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, Helston in Cornwall, and Ryde on the Isle of Wight.
The investigation covered more than 200 locations where the companies operate stores.
CMA senior director Adam Land said: “Opticians provide a vital service for millions of people in the UK and it is therefore important that any competition concerns are addressed.
“In this case, we have looked carefully where Vision Express and Tesco Opticians compete at present and identified three areas of the country where we believe this merger could result in a worse deal for eyecare customers.”
Vision Express is mandated to address the competition concerns, or the CMA will take up a more in-depth second phase of investigation.