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Optical Industry Outlook: What to Expect in the Next 10 Years

Ocular health is an important aspect of everyone’s quality of life. Being able to see clearly is something that should never be taken for granted, and that’s why an entire industry has developed around preserving healthy vision and correcting poor vision. Ambitious optometrists and business people have a great opportunity to find professional and financial success in this field, while protecting and improving the eye health in their local communities. Here, we’ll look at the state of the industry today, as well as the driving forces and trends shaping the industry’s future. 

An Industry Overview

Establishments in the optical industry, particularly optometry practices, provide eye exams, diagnose and prescribe treatment for eye conditions, and sell corrective eyewear like prescription glasses and contact lenses. 

The eyecare industry is going strong today and poised for growth. Industry research firm The Vision Council said in a recent report that the industry has a market value of $65.6 billion in the U.S. alone, with 44,850 individual businesses operating across the country.

A Vision of Optometry’s Future

Several factors fuel the optical industry’s growth. The first is the aging population; as people get older, they become more susceptible to eye conditions. According to nonprofit healthcare and health insurance provider HealthPartners, almost everyone will require reading glasses as they age, even if they never required corrective lenses before.  Regular exams and corrective treatment are important to this demographic. 

Another factor is the increase in income.  The U.S. Department of the Treasury reported that the real weekly earnings for the median worker grew 1.7% from 2019 to 2023. More to spend means more people can afford to get treatment for their long-standing conditions, like eye problems. Health care coverage is also improving. The Vision Council reported in January 2024 that 66% of American adults (about 170,000,000) had some form of managed vision care (MVC) coverage in 2023. Broad access to MVC helps patients get the eyecare services they need. Lastly, public awareness is growing regarding the importance of eye health. People are encouraged to get regular eye exams and not to ignore any vision problems that may come up. 

There are various optical industry trends and new forms of treatment that will affect how optometry practices provide care and corrective eyewear products for their patients. Among them are the following:

  • Myopia treatment: Myopia in children can lead to vision loss over time and increase the risk of various eye diseases. New types of eyeglasses are becoming available to help treat myopia in children. 
  • Single-use contacts: Hard contact lenses can be less comfortable to wear than eyeglasses, but eyeglasses can be more easily dropped, misplaced, or damaged. Single-use/disposable contacts are soft contacts designed for regular replacement. Contact lens companies continue to refine and develop new disposable contacts for comfort and vision improvement. 
  • Dry eye treatment: New forms of dry eye treatment are becoming available to provide patients with relief, including intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy and thermal pulsation treatment. 
  • Telehealth: Sometimes it’s not feasible for a patient to visit their optometrist in person. Telehealth is emerging as a remote option for conducting an eye exam. While not all optometry services can be performed remotely, it can be useful in various situations, such as getting expert advice for issues that can be resolved at home.

The future of optometry has great potential and promise. While starting an independent optometry practice is a viable option, it means taking on a lot of responsibilities. Opening a franchise, however, offers optometry practice owners a way to own and operate a practice while also getting much-needed assistance in the process. It’s up to you to decide what’s the right path for you.

Get a Clear View of Success with Pearle Vision

We’re thrilled to offer ambitious businesspeople and optometrists like you the opportunity to franchise with us. When you open an optometry practice with Pearle Vision, you join a brand with over five decades of experience to call on. We help optometrists open and operate practices on their own, as well as help form strong business partnerships by providing the training and support services they need to grow a successful practice. Submit a form to learn more about franchising with Pearle Vision.


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