Contact Lens Institute Panel at Vision Expo West Offers Sneak Peek of Forthcoming Report
The U.S. eye care industry—specifically contact lens and eyeglasses sales—is showing strong resiliency in the face of economic challenges, according to new research commissioned by the Contact Lens Institute as part of its See Tomorrow initiative. Select data spanning consumer trade-off preferences, spending shifts, and behavioral changes among contact lens wearers were presented this afternoon on the Vision Expo West Innovation Stage in Las Vegas.
Respondents were asked to assign value to 26 different products and services including personal health, entertainment, clothing, dining, and other discretionary spending options. They ranked their contact lenses (84%) and eyeglasses (75%) as extremely or very important—more than any other category. U.S. consumers also indicated they would give up all other categories before their contact lenses and eyeglasses. When asked about how inflationary pressures had altered household spending, the two categories showing the least change were contact lenses (8%) and glasses (7%).
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“The message is clear—eye care professionals should not be shy about prescribing the best vision correction for patients, including contact lenses, even in challenging economic times,” said Charissa Lee, OD, FAAO, a Contact Lens Institute Board member who moderated the panel discussion. “Consumers are very willing to pay for what they value, which is healthy eyesight. Practices should make sure their entire staff understands this, so they don’t inadvertently compromise their patients’ experiences.”
Joining Dr. Lee on the expert panel were Klaus Ito, OD, Ocean Park Optometry; Mark Schaeffer, OD, MyEyeDr; and Jason Tu, OD, Invision Optometry, all of whom are 2022 Contact Lens Institute Visionaries. Luke Kulik from research firm Prodege participated as well.
Respondents were queried how their contact lens habits might shift when under financial pressure. While approximately one in four adults said nothing would vary (27%), about the same percentages noted they might wear lenses less frequently (30%) and seek less expensive options online (27%) and through their eye care professional (26%). A smaller number reported they would contemplate actions that could put their eye health at risk, such as wearing their lenses for more days than approved (24%) and “topping off” cleaning solution (12%).
The panelists emphasized that eye care professionals must get ahead of these potential behavioral shifts, proactively advising contact lens patients not to make changes to their regimen. They recommended use of The EASY Way (EASYWayProgram.org), a collection of free practice tools from the Contact Lens Institute to communicate healthy contact lens wear-and-care through three easy steps.
An extensive report with additional reporting categories and analysis will be published in October 2022 and available from SeeTomorrrowNow.com. Online fieldwork was undertaken August 9-17, 2022, among 251 active contact lens wearers, screened from 2,439 total U.S. adults ages 18 and older.
The Contact Lens Institute advances the latest innovations in safe and effective contact lens and lens care products and services that provide unique benefits to patients while satisfying the evolving needs of eye care professionals. CLI undertakes activities that properly assess, enhance, promote and balance contact lens and lens care industry welfare and growth, including the safe use of products in the marketplace. Its members include Alcon, Bausch + Lomb, CooperVision, and Johnson & Johnson Vision. For more information, visit contactlensinstitute.org.