New Report: Kids’ X Parents = 25% of Children Using Vision Correction

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Children’s eyecare and kids’ eyewear choices are greatly influenced by the age of the child, kids’ lifestyles and activities and the availability of insurance to help with the cost of the exam and the eyewear purchase.

Those are among the conclusions of a new Parent Child Vision Care Report, a study conducted by The Vision Council among nearly 3,000 parents who have a child under the age of 18 living at home. The survey queried parents about their childrens’ eyecare and their eyewear purchasing and revealed some interesting data to create a portrait of today’s children’s vision market and illustrate the purchasing habits of parents who buy eyewear for their children.

The February 2012 study surveyed 2,932 parents who have at least one child under the age of 18 currently living at home. These parents indicated that they had a total of 4,961 children under the age of 18 living at home with them. Among all the children of parents surveyed, The Vision Council found that about 25 percent used some kind of vision correction— whether Rx eyeglasses (20 percent), contact lenses (5 percent), and / or protective eyewear (2 percent).


 
Of the children who use vision correction, they found that there are a few factors that influence wearing habits and product use. For instance, older children were more likely than younger children to wear just about all types of eyewear, especially prescription contact lenses. Also, children who have had their eyes examined in the past year were more likely than other children to wear some type of eyewear, especially prescription eyeglasses. Finally, children who are covered by some type of insurance were also more likely to wear more than one form of vision correction, such as RX eyeglasses and plano sunglasses.

When looking at Rx eyeglass usage among children under the age of 18, significant differences in usage exist based on the age of the child. For instance, while 31 percent of children between the ages of 14 to 17 regularly wear Rx eyeglasses (5 million children), only 11.4 percent of children under the age of 10 regularly wear Rx eyeglasses (4.8 million children). Findings indicate that 28 percent of all 10 to 13-year-olds regularly wear Rx eyeglasses, which indicates that a total of 14.4 million children under the age of 18 are regularly wearing Rx eyeglasses in the U.S. For comparison purposes, about 3.9 million children under the age of 18 are regularly wearing contact lenses (two-thirds of those under 18 users are between the ages of 14 and 17).

It is estimated that during the 12-month-ending period March 2012 that 9.5 million pairs of Rx eyeglasses were purchased for children under the age of 18 by their parents. Most of those purchases (36.5 percent or 3.5 million pairs) were for children under the age of 10. Children between the ages of 10 to 13 accounted for 3 million eyeglass purchases during the 12-month-ending period March 2012 and the remaining 3 million child eyeglass purchases were for children between the ages of 14 to 17 years old.

According to parents surveyed, the majority (56 percent) said they purchased a pair of Rx eyeglasses for their children because of a prescription change or a new prescription. Nearly 44 percent of parents said they purchased their child’s eyeglasses with the assistance of a managed vision care (MVC) plan. Use of MVC benefits varied by income level, with lower income families—particularly those earning under $40,000—using benefits more frequently than those with higher incomes. Around 29 percent of parents said they spent over $100 out-of-pocket on their child’s eyeglasses. This was especially true for parents with higher household incomes. Interestingly, parents who had MVC coverage were more likely to have spent more than $100 on their child’s glasses than those without MVC—perhaps they opted for more expensive glasses because they knew at least a portion of the cost would be covered by their insurance benefits.

The factor that exerts the least amount of influence over the decision process of parents is the child’s preference for the brand name of the frame, according to the survey. More than 40 percent of parents in the market for their children’s eyeglasses viewed the child’s brand preference as “not important” or “not important at all.” However, the brand preference of the child was still deemed an important factor in the decision making process for some parents.

About one-third of all parents with a child wearing Rx eyeglasses said they are “extremely likely” or “very likely” to purchase a new pair of Rx eyeglasses for their child within the next six months. Among those that said they are likely to purchase a pair of eyeglasses for their children within the next six months, 43 percent said they are planning to purchase a pair of glasses for their children at an independent ECP location.

Data in this article was compiled from The 2012 Parent Child Vision Care Report. Additional data points were pulled from VisionWatch, the large scale continuous research study conducted by The Vision Council. VisionWatch contains useful industry data on lenses, frames, sunglasses, reading glasses, LASIK, contact lenses and eye exams. For additional information, please contact Ashley Danchuk at (703) 740-2251.