A new national research study sponsored by PPG Industries’ (NYSE: PPG) optical products business affirms that while consumers are interested in lenses that provide a combination of features, they are unfamiliar with their choices. Results suggest that patients would benefit from further education on the part of their eyecare professional, as survey respondents reported a tendency to defer to an eyecare professional’s recommendation when selecting a lens material.
“As a leader in optical lens material technologies, we believe it is critical to understand how consumers interpret information from their eyecare professionals about lens materials,” said Christine Camsuzou, PPG general manager of optical materials. “The lens material is the foundation of the lens. It is designed to complement advanced lens designs, treatments and coatings so eyecare professionals can offer patients eyewear that provides the clearest, most comfortable vision and that helps protect wearers’ vision as well.”
Compared with a similar survey of adult eyeglass wearers sponsored by PPG in 2007, the new survey of 500 eyeglass wearers found that an increasing majority of consumers is more focused on frame selection than on lenses (84 percent vs. 78 percent in 2007).
The research indicated a general lack of awareness about lens material options, with nearly 67 percent of respondents reporting that they didn’t know which lens material was used to make their eyeglasses. When asked to name as many lens materials as possible, consumers were primarily familiar only with glass (21 percent), plastic (18 percent) and polycarbonate (11 percent), and many even named lens treatments and lens designs instead of materials, such as photochromics, anti-reflective coatings and progressives. There was little awareness about newer materials – even when presented with several of them in a follow-up question – and non-lens materials were also named, such as metal and titanium.
However, the research also showed that consumers expect a lot from their lenses, with 71 percent saying it is important to them that their eyeglasses are made with the most advanced lens technology. In prioritizing the most important attributes of an eyeglass lens, responses showed that clearest vision ranked highest [Table 1]. Nearly 38 percent of respondents agreed that a combination of lens attributes – such as clearest vision, thinness, light weight and impact resistance – was most important when selecting a lens [Table 2], followed by price (20 percent). Importantly, most respondents (90 percent) said they would defer to their eyecare professional’s lens material recommendation.
“These new research findings remind us that eyecare professionals are in a powerful position to use their unique relationship with patients to educate about exciting lens technologies, particularly as respondents said they prioritized clear vision even over price,” said Nathan Troxell, PPG global marketing manager, optical materials. “This includes discussion of options such as TRIVEX® material, which can provide value to patients through its unique combination of the most desirable lens attributes while serving as a perfect foundation for advanced lens options such as digital surfacing, glare-free and TRANSITIONS® lenses.”
Many consumers whose eyecare professionals don’t inform them about the benefits of various lens materials mistakenly believe that all materials provide the same features and benefits, Troxell noted. An overwhelming majority (90 percent) of respondents said knowing that some lens materials provided clearer vision than others would influence their decision.
In order to assist eyecare professionals in educating patients about lens materials, PPG developed the Trivex material e-learning program. Available at PPGTrivex.com/education, this resource provides a user-friendly overview of various aspects of Trivex material, including performance benefits, dispensing tips, compatibility with lens designs and enhancements, and the business advantages of offering lenses made with Trivex material. The e-learning program concludes with an interactive quiz to reinforce learning, and it is currently available in 13 languages. In addition, PPG offers an American Board of Opticianry (ABO)-accredited course on Trivex material. Requests for the course can be directed to Nathan Troxell.
Trivex lens material is available from leading lens manufacturers such as Younger Optics, Hoya, Essilor, Carl Zeiss Vision, Shamir, X-Cel Optical and Augen Optics.
PPG: BRINGING INNOVATION TO THE SURFACE™
PPG Industries' vision is to continue to be the world’s leading coatings and specialty products company. Through leadership in innovation, sustainability and color, PPG helps customers in industrial, transportation, consumer products, and construction markets and aftermarkets to enhance more surfaces in more ways than does any other company. Founded in 1883, PPG (ppg.com) has global headquarters in Pittsburgh and operates in more than 60 countries around the world. Sales in 2011 were $14.9 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: PPG).
Bringing innovation to the surface is a trademark and Trivex is a registered trademark of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc.
Transitions is a registered trademark of Transitions Optical, Inc.
Angela Mineo, Euro RSCG Worldwide PR
P: 412-456-0991 - E: angela.mineo[.]eurorscg.com.