VCPN recently conducted a survey to assess whether ECPs are using private label free-form lenses.
Over half (53%) the eyecare professionals (ECPs) in our recent survey about “ECPs’ use and experience with private label free-form lenses” said that when they offer their patients a private label free-form lens, the patients’ reaction seems to be that they don’t care about the lens brand but want the ECP’s best recommendation. About 22% of the respondents said their patients do not realize it is not a branded product and 20% said their patients like its value and buy it when offered.
The survey respondents were predominantly a mix of opticians (37%) and optometrists (35%) with the others being office managers, lab personnel, and ophthalmologists. About 19% said they are not at all familiar with private label free-form lenses, 32% said they have a little knowledge, 26% said they are very familiar with them, and 22% said they are pretty familiar. Nearly half of the respondents (48%) said they use them in their practices with 52% saying they don’t use them at all.
When asked what percentage of all the progressives sold in their practices are private label free-form, 31% said between 11% and 25%, 24% said between 51% and 75%, 16% said between 26% and 50%, 14% said more than 75%, and 14% said less than 10%.
In comparing how they position private label free-form lenses to conventional lens products, 61% said they are their lowest and middle progressive lens products but not their high-end. About 24% said all the progressive addition lenses (PALs) they use are private label free-form, 14% said only their least expensive PAL is but their middle and upper-end lenses are not.
In deciding which lens to select, most of the ECPs (41%) said they use a private label free-form lens that their preferred lab offers them, 34% said they did research and chose the one they thought was the best, 18% said they tried a few on patients and chose the one they liked the best, 7% based their decision on price.
The majority (63%) said they believe private label free-form lens sales will go up this year, 33% said sales will remain the same, 4% said sales will go down.
When asked what reflects their experience with private label free-form lenses to date, 54% said they are available with all the lens options they want, 18% said the lens design availability is very limited from their lab, 15% said they can’t get the lens options they want like photochromics or polarization. About 10% said single vision private label free-form lenses are not available from their lab. Another respondent mentioned he would like to see a double-sided digital lens option.
About 24% of the respondents were based out of the Northeast, 22% in the Midwest, 17% in the Southwest, 11% in the Southeast, with the remainder in the Northwest, Mid-Atlantic, North Central, and South Central of the U.S. About 69% of the respondents had one practice location, 24% had from two to four, 6% had from five to 10, and 1% had 11 or more.
Carol Gilhawley is Senior Editor of VCPN.