ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Today, The Vision Council released a new report featuring key insights into U.S. eyecare providers’ lens processing and diagnostic equipment use and purchasing habits. The report, Focused inSights 2023: Vision Equipment Use and Purchasing, stated that providers consider equipment costs and return on investment as the main factors that influenced their purchases of vision equipment in 2023. This latest report from The Vision Council’s inSights Research Program explores sentiments related to lens processing equipment, which includes edgers, blockers, tinting machines, polishing machines and more.

Other equipment explored in the report included Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Angiogram (A) and Basic (B), a non-invasive imaging technology for medical diagnostics; and single-modal diagnostic equipment, such as autorefractors, visual field analyzers, fundus cameras, corneal topographers and retinal cameras among others.

"Ahead of the upcoming Vision Expo West, it's important for industry stakeholders to understand the priorities of eyecare providers— a balance of cost, reliability, and advanced diagnostic capabilities,” said Alysse Henkel, senior director of market research and analytics at The Vision Council. “This research shows that while most eyecare providers are satisfied with their current equipment, the industry should be attentive to the evolving needs and challenges, particularly concerning equipment costs and insurance reimbursements."

Highlights of the inSights report included:

Lens processing equipment:

Most providers are satisfied with their current equipment, with 78 percent satisfied with its accuracy and reliability and 68 percent reported that they rarely if ever have any issues or breakdowns with their equipment.

1 in 3 providers reported upgrading and/or replacing their lens processing equipment every 6-10 years, while almost half reported upgrading their equipment as needed.

Almost half of respondents last purchased their lens processing equipment 5 or more years ago.

Most providers do not plan to make a lens processing equipment purchase soon—88 percent said their next purchase would be in two years or more.

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT):

63 percent of optometrists surveyed reported owning some kind of OCT equipment, with 53 percent owning OCT B only.

Providers reported improved diagnostic accuracy as a benefit in using OCT equipment.

Almost half of providers purchased their OCT equipment 2 to 5 years ago.

93 percent of respondents use their OCT equipment for both diagnostic and monitoring.

Providers report planning to wait to purchase OCT equipment because their current equipment operates reliably and does not need upgrading.

Providers do not report a strong preference for either OCT A or B.

Single-modal equipment:

40 percent of providers reported owning single-modal equipment.

Visual field analyzers and autorefractors were most likely to be the type of equipment owned.

Improved diagnostic accuracy is the most reported benefit of single-modal equipment, while cost of equipment and limits to insurance reimbursements were the primary challenges.

Over half of respondents reported a preference for multimodal equipment; the type of pathology is the most salient factor that determines usage of either multimodal or single-modal equipment.

More than half of providers reported replacing their single-modal equipment as needed.

2 in 3 providers reported their last purchase was more than 2 years ago.

This survey was fielded from Aug. 21 through Sept. 1, 2023, with 410 eyecare providers completing the survey. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points. On some questions the margin of error may be higher than for the survey overall.

A one-page summary, along with the full research report, is available in The Vision Council’s Research Download Center as a complimentary download for members of The Vision Council, with a paid option for non-members.