EDUCATING PATIENTS ABOUT LENS MATERIALS

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Signet Armorlite offers Kodak lenses in clear, polarized, and Transitions lenses
including Trivex material and polycarbonate.

A recent PPG survey shows that while consumer awareness about the materials used in their lenses is low, most wearers would like them to be made with the most advanced lens technology.

Which lens materials are the most popular and how can eyecare professionals (ECPs) offer patients the best ones suited to their lifestyle needs?
According to recent statistics provided by The Vision Council, the most-used lens material is polycarbonate at 53%, followed, in order, by CR-39® and similar materials at 34%, plastic, high-index (above 1.60 with 5% usage), mid-index (which includes Trivex® at 4% usage), 1.60 (0.9%), and then glass (0.5%).

CONSUMER PERSPECTIVE
PPG Industries recently completed a study that reveals some very startling information about what consumers say about their eyewear lens expectations and what they know about lens materials. (See the survey at: www.ppg.com/en/newsroom/news/Pages/20120405E.aspx.)

The survey found that 21% of consumers were only familiar with glass, 18% with plastic, 11% with polycarbonate, and they had little awareness of newer materials. This means that as an industry, we are not educating patients very well about lens materials so patients do not know what they are wearing.

While subjects didn’t know much about their lens material, they expected a lot from their lenses. In fact, 71% said that it was important that their eyeglasses were made with the most advanced lens technology.

HIGH MARKS

In the study, subjects were asked to prioritize the most important attributes of an eyeglass lens.

Not surprisingly they ranked clearest vision the highest. In addition, nearly 38% indicated that a combination of lens attributes was most important when selecting a lens, such as clearest vision, thinness, light weight, and impact resistance. This was followed by price (20%).

Even though they placed an importance on these factors, 90% said they would accept the recommendation of their ECP for a lens material. What this indicates is that patients are waiting for us to tell them what is new so they can obtain the latest and the greatest.

AVAILABILITY

One reason for the popularity of some materials is due to their availability. For example, CR-39 and similar materials are offered by just about every lens supplier and in just about any configuration. Polycarbonate is also available from a large number of suppliers like Carl Zeiss Vision Inc., Essilor of America, Inc., Signet Armorlite, Inc., and Vision-Ease Lens. Trivex is offered by an expanding list of companies such as HOYA VISION CARE, North America, Younger Optics, and X-Cel Optical Co. You’ll also find high-index lenses like 1.67 from companies like Augen Optics, Seiko Optical Products of America, Inc., and Shamir Insight, Inc.

HOW CAN WE IMPROVE?

The results of The Vision Council survey and the PPG study clearly indicate that most eyewear consumers don’t know what they’re buying. This means that there’s a good opportunity for you to inform your patients about what you’re recommending and why it’s the ideal choice for them. This kind of patient education adds value to the sale and makes you a more indispensable partner in their visual health and well-being.


John Seegers is a licensed optician at Ryan Vision Center in Henrico, VA, and the creator of opticianworks.com.

WHERE TO FIND IT:

Augen Optics
800-905-2240 ext. 2006 • augenoptics.com

Carl Zeiss Vision Inc.
800-905-2240 ext. 2012 • zeiss.com/lenses

Essilor of America, Inc.

800-905-2240 ext. 2020 • essilorusa.com

HOYA VISION CARE, North America
800-905-2240 ext. 2024 • hoyavision.com

Seiko Optical Products of America, Inc.
800-905-2240 ext. 2061 • seikoeyewear.com

Shamir Insight, Inc.
800-905-2240 ext. 2063 • shamirlens.com

Signet Armorlite, Inc.
800-905-2240 ext. 20108 signetarmorlite.com

Vision-Ease Lens
800-905-2240 ext. 2072 • vision-ease.com

X-Cel Optical Co.
800-905-2240 ext. 20110 • x-celoptical.com

Younger Optics
800-905-2240 ext. 2079youngeroptics.comdrivewearlens.com

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