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Some Segments in Optical See Growth Amid a Flat Market, VisionWatch Says

By Staff
Thursday, December 14, 2017 10:30 AM
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The Vision Council has released its quarterly VisionWatch market research reports for the third quarter of 2017, with results indicating that the total vision care industry has generated $40.21 billion in revenue over the last year ending Q3 2017, representing a decrease of 0.1 percent—or over $46.1 million—over the previous year's totals.

Looking at the vision care industry market over the past 12 months, from September 2016 to September 2017, the report indicates that eyeglasses accounted for the largest share of the vision correction market at 55.4 percent, representing $22.29 billion in revenue.

“Contact lenses continue to be the strongest optical market over the year, thanks to an additional 1.3 million U.S. adults that started wearing contacts in the past year,” said Steve Kodey, The Vision Council’s senior director of Industry Research.

“That increase in users led to a 2 percent increase in contact lens purchases and a 4.7 percent increase in contact lens sales revenue totaling $5.03 billion. That increase in contact lens usage, as well as eyeglasses, OTC readers and plano sunglasses, was the main reason why optical markets didn’t experience many losses despite the stagnancy of product repurchase cycles,” he said.

The independent side of the optical industry is by far the largest component of the U.S. vision care industry, generating $18.44 billion in revenue over the past year, according to the report. When compared to dollar revenues from a year ago, the independent side of the industry was up by 0.7 percent. While eyeglass sales—both lenses and frames—make up the bulk of revenue for independent optical outlets, examinations are a close third, generating over $4.24 billion in revenue.

Additionally, for the 12-month period ending September 2017, the Vision Council’s VisionWatch reported:

• 114.7 million adult eye exams were performed, generating $6.01 billion in revenue. Women and adults from higher income households were more likely than men and people from lower-income households to have received an eye exam during this time frame. Americans with managed vision care coverage were more than twice as likely to have had an exam as Americans without coverage.
• Dollar revenue of OTC Readers grew 3.1 percent, generating $887 million, with 51.96 million unit pairs sold in the past year—up by 0.1percent, with a 2.4 percent increase in OTC readers average retail selling price.
• 83.09 million pairs of lenses were sold—down by 0.4 percent from the number of units sold in the previous year.
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