In a report released earlier this year by Harris Williams & Co., an increasing need for delivery of vision care services and a shortage of ophthalmologists creates opportunities for optometrists to capture a greater share of the market.
Particularly, independently practicing optometrists are poised for a stronger market share position due to differentiated personalization of care, patient loyalty, service quality, earlier technology adoption, and clinical/product knowledge and care.
Vision is a $40 billion industry for eye care services and product spending with a steady, annual growth rate of 3% to 4%. Long-term growth of vision care services is driven by key market trends:
An aging population
Roughly 86% of the 45+ population uses vision correction.
The over 65 age group will grow to 54.8 million in 2020.
The over 55 age group is the fastest growing population segment.
Consumers over 55 make up 39% of OD revenue.
An increasing prevalence of chronic diseases
The four leading eye diseases are age- and/or lifestyle-related: cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.
Growing coverage for vision care
Medicare benefits now include cataract surgery, corrective eye wear following cataract surgery, glaucoma screening, and ocular prostheses. Medicare beneficiaries are expected to reach 10 million by 2020.
Eye exams are now considered medical care and covered under all health plans.
Additional market trends include:
An increase in digital screen usage and asthenopia (eye strain).
Technological innovation resulting in new products.
Growing adoption of refractive surgery.
Non-deferrable nature of service and corrective device purchases.
Limited instance of excess utilization providing for stable reimbursement.
Optometrists who own their practices are at a unique advantage to capitalize on revenue opportunities due to an increasing proportion of the U.S. population relying on optometrists for eye care services and a preference for independent optometrists versus an eye care provider at a national/mass retailer.
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