The History of the Contact Lens Marketplace and Why it Really Matters to ECPs in 2019

At CLX, we’ve surveyed ECPs across the country and studied contact lens market trends. As we move into 2019, here’s the bottom line: only a small percentage of ECPs are focusing on their contact lens business, despite ample opportunity to increase practice revenue through contact lens patients. Why is that the case?

At CLX, we’ve surveyed ECPs across the country and studied contact lens market trends. As we move into 2019, here’s the bottom line: only a small percentage of ECPs are focusing on their contact lens business, despite ample opportunity to increase practice revenue through contact lens patients. Why is that the case?

There are a few reasons. For starters, most ECPs we speak with believe that they’re already selling a majority of their contact lens patients an annual supply. Unfortunately, the pretty stark industry average tells a different story. The contact lens market is also saturated with online retailers and historically it has been difficult for prescribing ODs to compete.

No matter the reason, it’s time for ECPs to take another look at their contact lens business in 2019. The industry is changing and there are now ways for independent ECPs to fully capitalize on untapped potential revenue without adding a single patient to their practice.

Why Should ECPs Care About Contact Lenses?

According to a market analysis conducted by the Review of Optometric Business, a contact lens patient could be over 50% more valuable than a patient who comes in for glasses only. This is because contact lens patients, on average, pay more for exams with shorter periods between visits. Additionally, many contacts lens patients also purchase eyewear – be it eyeglasses or sunglasses.

This signals a massive untapped opportunity for ECPs

Let’s look at some of the real data:

40% of contact orders occur on the day of an eye exam, 80% of which are captured by the prescribing OD. This is where most of your contact lens revenue is coming from. The problem is that only 24% of these exam-day orders are annual supplies.

In recent history, ECPs have struggled to capture orders and reorders after a patient leaves their office. Although reorders account for 60% of the total contact lens industry revenue, ECPs capture only 10%, leaving the rest, primarily, to third-party retailers.

Most ECPs are surprised by these numbers. The fact is, you may not be capturing as much of your patients’ contact lens orders as you think. To understand why, we must go back in time…

How Did the Market Get the Way it Is Today?

Contacts first became popular because they were more convenient than glasses, but in the beginning, they were still medical devices that patients could only get from their eye doctor. As new products were developed, contacts started to be more durable and cheaper to produce, and third-party retailers stepped into to make the market more convenient.

Online retailers initially seized their market share because they could offer things ECPs couldn’t: online ordering and home delivery. Today, these third-party retailers still have had an advantage when it comes to handling reorders and offering subscription services. Historically, ECPs just couldn’t compete… but things have changed.

Why Should ECPs Care About Contact Lenses?

According to a market analysis conducted by the Review of Optometric Business, a contact lens patient could be over 50% more valuable than a patient who comes in for glasses only. This is because contact lens patients, on average, pay more for exams with shorter periods between visits. Additionally, many contacts lens patients also purchase eyewear – be it eyeglasses or sunglasses.

This signals a massive untapped opportunity for ECPs

Let’s look at some of the real data:

40% of contact orders occur on the day of an eye exam, 80% of which are captured by the prescribing OD. This is where most of your contact lens revenue is coming from. The problem is that only 24% of these exam-day orders are annual supplies.

In recent history, ECPs have struggled to capture orders and reorders after a patient leaves their office. Although reorders account for 60% of the total contact lens industry revenue, ECPs capture only 10%, leaving the rest, primarily, to third-party retailers.

Most ECPs are surprised by these numbers. The fact is, you may not be capturing as much of your patients’ contact lens orders as you think. To understand why, we must go back in time…

How Did the Market Get the Way it Is Today?

Contacts first became popular because they were more convenient than glasses, but in the beginning, they were still medical devices that patients could only get from their eye doctor. As new products were developed, contacts started to be more durable and cheaper to produce, and third-party retailers stepped into to make the market more convenient.

Online retailers initially seized their market share because they could offer things ECPs couldn’t: online ordering and home delivery. Today, these third-party retailers still have had an advantage when it comes to handling reorders and offering subscription services. Historically, ECPs just couldn’t compete… but things have changed.

Today, Things Are Different

Convenience is king. It’s clear that patients are willing to pay for convenience, so even when ECPs can compete on price using insurance benefits and manufacturer rebates, they’ve struggled to offer options to satisfy patients’ growing demand for convenience.
Unlike ever before, ECPs can compete with online retailers and capitalize on the market using modern advantages. Here are some ways to ensure that your patients are coming to your practice for the most convenient solution on the market:

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Stay abreast of contact lens industry pricing and show patients a true comparison (using rebates and insurance benefits to your advantage)

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Offer a stress-free subscription service

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Ship directly to patients’ homes

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Offer convenient ordering and reordering — online, using personalized links pre-loaded with a patient’s prescription

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Remind patients when they are due to reorder and make it as easy as possible to make their purchase through your practice

Fortunately, there is an easy, cost-effective way to do all of these things.

Make It Easy to Buy from Your Practice

The bottom line is this: Your patients are still coming to you for eye exams, giving you the unique advantage of having the first shot at capturing contact lens sales.

CLX offers a turnkey solution that allows ECPs to compete without making major changes to their practice structure or even spending the time and money to acquire new patients. You can offer your patients all the convenience they demand. With a little help from CLX, your practice can be the clear choice for your contact lens patients.

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