Majority of Consumers Still View Eyeglasses as Medical Necessity, Vision Council Study Says

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ALEXANDRIA, Va.—As the economy continues to struggle and disposable income remains limited, consumers are now more likely to consider eyewear as a medical necessity in order to justify their purchasing decision. A recent study by The Vision Council indicates that a large majority of eyeglass users/buyers (83 percent to 87 percent) view eyeglasses primarily as a medical necessity while a slightly smaller majority of sunglass wearers (75 percent to 82 percent) see plano sunglasses as a medical necessity.

This data is based on The Vision Council 2011 Fashion vs. Function Eyewear Report that interviewed 10,000 American adults and included a series of questions regarding the functional attributes and fashion aspects of their eyewear to determine which holds more sway over users and buyers.

Among both eyeglass and sunglass buyers, the fit of the particular pair of eyewear on the face is the most important factor when making a purchase. “Functional” features such as durability, material, UV coating, and the color shade of the lens consistently outrank “fashion” factors like uniqueness, style, wardrobe compatibility and brand/designer name, according to the study.

Even though most consumers prize the functional characteristics of their eyewear over fashion aspects, there are a large number of consumers that still value the style of the eyewear they buy and use on a daily basis. In particular, women, people under the age of 45, people from higher income households and eyewear users who also wear contact lenses are all more likely than other people to place a higher value on the fashion qualities of their eyewear. Additionally, consumers who are in the market to buy eyeglasses or sunglasses at some point in the next six months place a premium value on the fashion attributes of the eyewear they use and wear.

Data compiled from The Vision Council 2011 Fashion vs. Function Eyewear Report, is part of the larger VisionWatch consumer survey program. For additional information, or to receive a copy of the report itself, contact Ashley Danchuk at (703) 740-2251.