Recently, PPG Industries released the results of a national survey that probed consumers’ knowledge of eyeglass lens materials. Not surprisingly, the survey found most consumers are unfamiliar with their lens material choices. Almost 70 percent of respondents said they don’t know what material their lenses are made of. When asked to name as many lens materials as possible, those who were able to name some were primarily only familiar with the general categories of glass and plastic. There was little awareness about newer materials and many respondents named non-lens materials, like metal, aluminum and even sand.

Naturally, executives at PPG—which makes CR-39, Trivex and other lens materials—see the situation as an opportunity to educate consumers about lens material options. Some education would undoutedly be helpful, especially for those confused souls who think their lenses are made of sand.

But eyecare professionals, who are still the most important source of eyewear and eyecare information for consumers, should be careful not to over-educate. In our information-intensive world, it’s all too easy to get overloaded with facts and details. When we buy a flat screen television, do we need to know what material the screen is made of? For most of us, it’s enough to know the thing is easy to operate and has a great picture.

Of course, ECPs need to be prepared in case some tech-savvy consumers want the full 411. But too much information may kill the sale.

—Andrew Karp