As individuals spend more time facing computers and smartphones at home, work, school, and elsewhere, digital eye strain is becoming commonplace. Digital eye strain can be worse for eyeglass wearers due to potential reflections from the screen or other light sources onto the lenses. As a result, most major suppliers of eyeglass lenses to the US market – including EssilorLuxottica (via Essilor), Carl Zeiss (via Zeiss), HOYA, and Nikon (via Nikon Optical USA) – are marketing products specifically aimed at reducing eye strain for heavy users of digital devices.
Eye strain is primarily caused by spending long periods of time performing close vision work, such as reading a book, knitting, or working on a digital screen. The blue light generated by digital screens is also a potential contributor to eye fatigue. While taking regular breaks and getting an adequate amount of sleep can help avoid digital eye strain, those who work in offices or students in school cannot avoid close vision work for a substantial part of their day. One widely adopted solution to help reduce eye strain is to coat the lenses with an anti-reflective coating to minimize glare. However, while reducing glare for eyeglass wearers prevents even worse eye fatigue, it does not eliminate the problem. Therefore, lens manufacturers continue to think of innovative ways to provide different solutions.
HOYA’s digital-friendly offerings include its selection of indoor lenses, consisting of lenses individualized for specific tasks and premium computer lenses. HOYA offers three types of individualized lenses:
- Zoom (for work requiring high levels of precession)
- Screen (for computer screens)
- Space (for working conditions where focus distance is slightly farther than a computer screen)
The company’s premium computer lenses maximize visual range and focus at arm’s length and help alleviate eyestrain for close vision work.
Nikon products include the SeeCoat Blue line, which filters out some blue light, and the Online Wide variety of its extended focus lenses, which offer a wide viewing area for near and intermediate vision and reduce eye strain. Essilor’s Eyezen lenses are designed to reduce digital eye strain and to filter out blue light. Zeiss offers ZEISS Digital Lens and ZEISS Officelens to help ease eye strain for close vision work. Both lines feature the option to add a coating that filters out blue light. In particular, the Officelens is designed for both computer work as well as the near vision required for short distances when working in an office such as looking at a calendar or at a colleague or whiteboard in a meeting. It replaces progressive lenses (i.e., bifocals) because such lenses require the wearer to look down to the bottom of their eyeglasses to see a computer screen, causing back and shoulder strain.
As individuals spend more time interacting with digital devices and performing other types of near vision work, the incidence of eye strain is likely to increase and create opportunities to boost market share for lens suppliers that can introduce innovative ways of ameliorating eye fatigue via their lenses.
For more insights into the US eyewear market, see Contacts, Glasses, & Sunglasses: United States, a report published by the Freedonia Focus Reports division of The Freedonia Group. This report forecasts to 2023 US demand for contacts, glasses, and sunglasses in nominal US dollars at the manufacturer level and the consumer level (i.e., personal consumption expenditures). Total demand at the manufacturer level is segmented by product in terms of:
- lenses, including lenses for prescription sunglasses (i.e., polarized lenses)
- nonprescription sunglasses
- other products such as 3D glasses, glass and plastic prosthetic eyes, intraocular lens implants, and protective eyewear (e.g., goggles)
To illustrate historical trends, total demand at the manufacturer level and the various segments, personal consumption expenditures, and trade are provided in annual series from 2008 to 2018.
Smart glasses are considered electronic products and excluded from the scope of this report, unless they include corrective lenses. Imports and exports of contact lenses from and to Puerto Rico are included in demand and trade data, as Puerto Rico often serves as a manufacturing base for pharmaceuticals and medical devices for the US market. Re-exports of contacts, glasses, and sunglasses are excluded from demand and trade figures.
Related Focus Reports include:
About the Author
Leon Mengri is a Senior Market Research Analyst with Freedonia Focus Reports. He conducts research and writes a variety of Focus Reports, which offer concise overviews of market size, product segmentation, business trends, and more.