There is nothing wrong with over-the-counter readers as long as that counter is guided by eyecare professionals.

From top: HAND-PAINTED READER 301 from Hilco; SUGAR’BABE from Seeqa International; PLUS + Influence from Rem Eyewear; EYE CANDY Reader Polka from Ron’s Optical; GELS Aqua 70525 from Scojo


  • In the 12-month period ending September 2006, 38.9 million pairs of readers were sold. The number of people wearing readers in that same period was 31.7 million.
  • The average retail price for a pair of readers is $14.66.
  • The majority of individuals wearing readers, 15.3 million, are over 55 and a substantial 12.4 million are between 45 and 54. Only 3.2 million are between 35 and 44.
  • The vast majority of readers—84.7 percent—are sold by grocery/drug/ mass merchant and convenience stores with only 7.4 percent sold though optical channels.
The statistics cited here are from VisionWatch, a large scale, continuous consumer-based measurement of the U.S. eyewear market, conducted by Jobson/VCA over a 12-month period ending September 2006.

Senior Features Editor GLORIA NICOLA   •   Photographed by Ned Matura