Double Duty: The Untapped Potential of Dual Contact Lens & Glasses Wear

New research shows that a significant number of vision corrected U.S. adults are interested in purchasing both contact lenses and glasses, representing a largely untapped ‘dual wear’ growth opportunity for the eye care community. 

CLI recently surveyed more than 2,000 Americans, asking them a wide range of questions about what they use to improve their vision, what drove their choices, and how their preferences may vary based on other factors in their lives.

Appreciate Dual Wear Demand

While only one in four (23.6%) adults reported using both contact lenses and glasses, there’s considerable interest in dual wear among the remaining population. Almost one in five glasses-only wearers are very interested in contact lenses (18%), and the same percentage (18%) of contact lens-only wearers are very interested in glasses. In total, this represents an unrealized prescribing opportunity for more than one-third of all patients.

Cultivate Consistent Conversations

Seizing the opportunity requires a simple but largely underutilized approach from the eye care community: having the conversation. 75% of glasses wearers reported that contact lenses were not discussed at their most recent appointment, although such conversation would help at least one in five of them strongly consider wear. Likewise, 45% of contact lens wearers report that glasses were not discussed during their most recent exam; where that did occur, more than half of the conversations were about backup options.

Survey the Situation

Identifying situational wear can also increase consumers’ consideration of embracing both contact lenses and glasses. These include in- and out-of-home vision correction. Among dual wearers, contact lenses are clearly preferred for out of home situation by factors of 0.3X to 10X; glasses are strongly preferred for working at home by a threefold factor.

Showcasing contact lenses for active settings may also resonate. 81% of dual wearers say they are likely to choose contact lenses for fitness/sports use and 33% of dual wearers report wearing their contacts more over the past year for such activities. Yet among glasses-only wearers who discussed contact lenses during their last eye exam, their application for sports and fitness were only raised nine percent of the time.

Portrait of a Dual Wearer

CL research isolated several demographic factors that may help the eye care community identify dual wear candidates.

Voice for Choice

Dual wearers overwhelmingly like the ability to choose their own path. Having both contact lenses and glasses on hand empowers them to make the best choices for themselves each day. About 8 in 10 dual wear respondents agreed that having choice is a powerful benefit, including feeling their best in different situations, accounting for how their eyes felt every day, choosing their own look, and having more control over their vision. Why not give them those opportunities?

The Importance of Trials

With so many patients primed to experience the benefits of dual wear, our latest research highlights several actions that practices can implement to help move them along that path.

Download the full report for insights from our Visionaries.

Vision Expo East 2023 Main Stage Panel

Watch the main stage panel presentation from Vision Expo East 2023, featuring, Andrew Bruce, LDO, ABOM, NCLE-AC, of ASB Opticianry Education Services in Vancouver, Wash; Inna Lazar, OD, of Greenwich Eye Care in Old Greenwich, Conn. and Pro Eye Care in Darien, Conn; and Jennifer Tsai, OD, of LINE OF SIGHT in New York, N.Y., all of whom are 2023 Contact Lens Institute Visionaries; Alysse Henkel, senior director, Market Research & Analytics with The Vision Council; and Michele Andrews, OD, CLI chairperson. 

Dr. Michele Andrews

Mr. Andrew Bruce

Ms. Alysse Henkel

Dr. Inna Lazar

Jennifer Tsai

Dr. Jennifer Tsai