PLAYING THE HEALTH AND WELLNESS CARD

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It’s been called the next trillion dollar U.S. industry and marketing’s “new black.” And it’s become the biggest consumption driver for our beloved Millennial generation: health and wellness products.

Among 18 to 34 year olds, more than eight in 10 spend at least a quarter of their disposable income on health and wellness items, which is why this category is predicted to grow 17% per year over the next five years.

Health and wellness has become a marketing theme in virtually every aspect of our lives. Women no longer purchase cosmetics for beauty enhancement; they buy brands that are hypoallergenic with natural ingredients. Multipurpose cleaners aren’t just meant to do a good job on the kitchen counter or bathroom vanity; they’re designed to kill germs and keep your family safe from carcinogens.

Retailers such as Whole Foods have built successful models on the health and wellness explosion. Hence, Whole Foods is a nearly $4 billion business.

The implications of this major trend for optical are significant. For decades now, our industry has been prodded to sell the fashion and lifestyle benefits of optical products. Now, we can add health and wellness benefits.
We all know that a thorough eye exam can reveal other medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes. But the same exam can also detect high cholesterol, hypertension, multiple sclerosis and even tumors. Do patients know this? They should.

Then there’s digital eye strain, the result of peering at screens of various sizes for many hours per day. Just ask The Vision Council, as building awareness of this condition is a main priority. Again, shouldn’t patients be informed of this problem and also be told about solutions such as computer glasses?

Of course, eye protection is a big part of what optical offers, whether it’s physical protection through shatter-resistant lenses and safety glasses or the protection provided by blue light, polarized and UV lenses.

The takeaway is that health and wellness are important themes for consumers these days. Optical can address these needs with a host of medical services and important corrective or protective products. Makes sense to get on board.

In fairness, there’s an extensive campaign that covers many of these points for consumers called Think About Your Eyes. If you’re not familiar with it, you can go to the website: ThinkAboutYourEyes.com.

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