Through My Lens

Put a Positive Spin on Eyewear
Although most Baby Boomers would like to lose their reading glasses, many are still averse to having vision correction surgery. That’s a key finding in a recent survey conducted by The survey reveals that safety concerns and a lack of information are the main reasons why Boomers won’t bite when it comes to undergoing an elective vision correction procedure. These findings help explain why only 1.8 percent of all refractive procedures were performed on those needing reading glasses, according to the 2003 Annual Survey of Refractive Surgeons performed by ophthalmic research firm Market Scope.

All of this should be welcome news to eyecare professionals who make a significant portion of their livelihood dispensing eyeglasses, readers, contact lenses and prescription sunglasses to patients over age 40. While more people are having their vision surgically corrected each year, concerns among some dispensers that large numbers of Baby Boomers might join that trend are unfounded. These dispensers don’t have to play the fear card. Boomers are apparently cautious enough when it comes to having their eyeballs zapped, carved or otherwise altered.

Besides, fear is never a good marketing tactic. If someone is intent on having vision correction surgery, they’re going to have it. As many have probably reasoned, “If it’s good enough for Tiger Woods, it’s good enough for me.”
The fact that Woods and other high-profile athletes have had vision correction surgery has boosted the surgery’s appeal. It’s all part of the marketing message from laser surgery centers aimed mostly at those under-40 who comprise their biggest target audience.

But marketing is a two-way street. The opportunity exists for optical retailers and dispensers to position eyewear as fashionable and functional. In particular, they can call more attention to premium lenses and lens treatments that can improve vision and enhance the overall appearance of eyewear.

The fact is vision correction surgery and eyewear co-exist. Even patients who thought they’d “throw away their glasses” after surgery often find themselves needing prescription eyewear as they age. It’s up to doctors and dispensers to let patients know that whether they elect to have vision correction surgery or not, they can always count on the latest eyewear technology to help them see and look their best.

—Andrew Karp
Group Editor, Lenses and Technology