We recently conducted a survey among spectacle wearers in the U.S. that affirmed while consumers are interested in lenses that provide a combination of features, they are unfamiliar with their choices. Results suggested that patients would benefit from further education on the part of their eyecare professional, as survey respondents reported a tendency to defer to an eyecare professional’s recommendation when selecting a lens material.
The research indicated a general lack of awareness about lens material options, with nearly 67 percent of respondents reporting that they didn’t know which lens material was used to make their spectacles. When asked to name as many lens materials as possible, consumers were primarily familiar only with glass (21 percent), plastic (18 percent) and polycarbonate (11 percent), and many even named lens treatments and lens designs instead of materials, such as photochromics, anti-reflective coatings and progressives. There was little awareness about newer materials – even when presented with several of them in a follow-up question – and non-lens materials were also named, such as metal and titanium.
However, the research also showed that consumers expect a lot from their lenses, with 71 percent saying it is important to them that their spectacles are made with the most advanced lens technology. In prioritizing the most important attributes of a spectacle lens, responses showed that clearest vision ranked highest.
More than 38 percent of respondents agreed that a combination of lens attributes – such as clearest vision, thinness, light weight and impact resistance – was most important when selecting a lens, followed by price (20 percent).
Importantly, most respondents – 90 percent! – said they would defer to their eyecare professional’s lens material recommendation.
These findings remind us that eyecare professionals are in a powerful position to use their unique relationship with patients to educate about lens technologies, particularly as spectacle wearers said they prioritized clear vision even over price. This discussion should include options such as Trivex material, which can provide value to patients through its unique combination of the most desirable lens attributes while serving as a perfect foundation for advanced lens options such as digital surfacing, glare-free and photochromic lenses.
Online survey of 500 adult eyeglass wearers with dependent children, conducted on behalf of PPG Industries, Inc., by Lightspeed Research, March 1-5, 2012.