The Top 5 Contact Lens Market Trends You Need to Know for 2019

In 2018, the contact lens industry has continued to flourish, seeing new advancements in technology and a renewed focus on patient care and compliance. With 45 million Americans wearing contact lenses, the contact lens market isn’t slowing down anytime soon – but with the rise of online retailer and big box stores, ECPs need to stay on top of the latest trends to stay ahead of the competition.

Here are 5 contact lens market trends you should be aware of to get a head
start on growing your contact lens business in the new year!

1. Online retailers are now offering online exams

Patients don’t even necessarily need to come into your office to get their prescription anymore – there are now multiple online vision tests where patients can receive their prescription and then order their contact lenses all without leaving their home. This new technology poses a threat to the traditional patient-doctor relationship.

But, ECPs still have major advantages. Unlike most online retailers, your eye exam and contact lenses can be at least partially covered by the patient’s insurance. Also, these online screens are only “vision tests” not true eye exams, since the only purpose is to provide a prescription. Patients should be informed of the importance of visiting their eye doctor annually for a comprehensive eye exam that includes both a prescription and eye health screening. Finally, while these online vision test may be looked at by a doctor, they are not conducted by a doctor. Which means, they could miss key aspects of your patient’s vision, such as the presence of astigmatism.

2019 Tip: Educate your patients on the benefits and necessity of seeing you, their eye doctor, every year.

Dig into Annual Supply
Dig into Annual Supply

1. Online retailers are now offering online exams

Patients don’t even necessarily need to come into your office to get their prescription anymore – there are now multiple online vision tests where patients can receive their prescription and then order their contact lenses all without leaving their home. This new technology poses a threat to the traditional patient-doctor relationship.

But, ECPs still have major advantages. Unlike most online retailers, your eye exam and contact lenses can be at least partially covered by the patient’s insurance. Also, these online screens are only “vision tests” not true eye exams, since the only purpose is to provide a prescription. Patients should be informed of the importance of visiting their eye doctor annually for a comprehensive eye exam that includes both a prescription and eye health screening. Finally, while these online vision test may be looked at by a doctor, they are not conducted by a doctor. Which means, they could miss key aspects of your patient’s vision, such as the presence of astigmatism.

2019 Tip: Educate your patients on the benefits and necessity of seeing you, their eye doctor, every year.

Alternatives Increase Contact Lens Revenue

2. Contact lens subscriptions are the new status quo

Online subscription services such as Hubble are attractive to patients for their affordability and convenience. These services allow patients to trade the large up-front payment for their contact lenses in exchange for lower monthly installments. They are also automated and include direct delivery, so that patients never have to worry about forgetting to reorder their contact lenses or stopping by an office to pick them up. Everything is already taken care of for them!

2019 Tip: While some subscription services tempt patients to go outside the office for their contact lenses, this service isn’t exclusive to online retailers – ECPs can get in on the game too!

3. Patients prefer digital communication

The age of the phone call is just about over. Now, patients prefer digital communications via text messages and email. They want to make and confirm appointments, order contact lenses and glasses, and hear from their eye doctor in the way they are most comfortable communicating. Electronic communication is easy and efficient, and even allows for proactive reminders to patients when they are due to reorder contact lenses. Practices who don’t have these types of digital communications set up for their office could be losing patients who are turning to more technologically advanced practices or online retailers for their contact lens purchases.

2019 Tip: Ensure you have the technology in place to communicate with patients the way that they prefer.

Stay in Touch with Clients
Stay in Touch with Clients

3. Patients prefer digital communication

The age of the phone call is just about over. Now, patients prefer digital communications via text messages and email. They want to make and confirm appointments, order contact lenses and glasses, and hear from their eye doctor in the way they are most comfortable communicating. Electronic communication is easy and efficient, and even allows for proactive reminders to patients when they are due to reorder contact lenses. Practices who don’t have these types of digital communications set up for their office could be losing patients who are turning to more technologically advanced practices or online retailers for their contact lens purchases.

2019 Tip: Ensure you have the technology in place to communicate with patients the way that they prefer.

Contact Lens Business Convenience

4. Dailies are the fastest growing modality

Due to their numerous health benefits and above average rates of patient compliance, daily disposable lenses are quickly becoming the preferred contact lens for leading ECPs. Under 15% of the population of contact lens wearers are in daily lenses, so this is a huge potential market for ECPs to provide a safer and healthier modality to improve their patients’ contact lens experience. Prescribing daily disposable lenses is widely becoming accepted as a best practice in the eye care industry, as these sales are not only good for patients, but also increase revenue for your practice.

2019 Tip: Review your internal practice data to see if there are opportunities to fit more patients with daily lenses.

5. Online retailers are not that competitive

There was a time when places like 1-800 Contacts sold lenses at prices that ECPs couldn’t match without losing money. Now that convenience is king, online competitors focus on being easy to do business with and aren’t always intent on being the cheapest option available. That’s especially true when you factor in manufacturer’s rebates and insurance benefits that are only available on contact lenses purchased from a prescribing OD. Educating patients on the value of purchasing medical devices from their doctor and staying informed about market pricing will enable ECPs to remain competitive in 2019 and beyond.

2019 Tip: Show patients the true price comparison– after rebates and insurance – of buying their lenses from your practice as opposed to an online superstore.

Stay in Touch with Clients
Stay in Touch with Clients

5. Online retailers are not that competitive

There was a time when places like 1-800 Contacts sold lenses at prices that ECPs couldn’t match without losing money. Now that convenience is king, online competitors focus on being easy to do business with and aren’t always intent on being the cheapest option available. That’s especially true when you factor in manufacturer’s rebates and insurance benefits that are only available on contact lenses purchased from a prescribing OD. Educating patients on the value of purchasing medical devices from their doctor and staying informed about market pricing will enable ECPs to remain competitive in 2019 and beyond.

2019 Tip: Show patients the true price comparison– after rebates and insurance – of buying their lenses from your practice as opposed to an online superstore.

New Year, New You

Stay at the top of your game when the new year hits by reacting to the major changes in the contact lens marketplace. The CLX System was designed by ECPs for ECPs to help independent practitioners succeed in the current market. With automated best practices such as digital communication, convenient reordering technology, hassle-free subscriptions, in-depth reporting, and competitive price comparison, CLX can help you rise above the competition with little additional work for your practice.

Schedule a private tutorial to learn more about
our automated tools.

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