During the COVID-19 pandemic, many eye care practices across the country have temporarily shut down and business has dropped off. Jobson Optical Research is tracking optical business metrics for the U.S. to determine the trajectory of the downturn, monitor its duration, and uncover which regions first begin heading in a positive direction.


Optical practices across the United States have shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19, and their latest sales statistics show a continued steep decline in overall business. Nearly all (89.9 percent) of the 1,306 eye care professional respondents in the fifth wave of Jobson Optical Research’s Coronavirus ECP survey conducted April 7-9 are in locations currently operating under stay-at-home orders. This has resulted in a substantial number of closed optical practices throughout the country followed by an equally precipitous decline in business across the board that began the week of March 9-15 and continues, as reflected by the latest aggregated statistics available for the week of April 6-12. While most product/service categories have fallen a substantial 80 index points, one product category that has also fallen but not as drastically are contact lenses, a product category that is down a relatively smaller 61 index points when comparing the week of April 6-12 with the week of March 9-15.


Nearly all product/service categories tracked are down both nationally and regionally. No categories, nationally or regionally, have shown an increase during the previous week. The only leveling off that has occurred is in the Northeast, which has maintained its index levels when comparing the week of April 6-12 with the previous week, March 30-April 5, for exams/refractions, frame units, and lens pairs. The rate of decline in all categories and regions has slowed when comparing the difference between the week of April 6-12 and the week of March 30-April 5 with the difference that occurred during the initial decline between the weeks of March 9-15 and March 16-22, except for contact lenses, which had its first major decline during the following week of March 23-29, and which has not fallen as far overall as the other product/service categories.

The index baseline was developed by Jobson Research from total sales from an average seven days in the first quarter of 2019. This index baseline is equivalent to a score of 100. All other time periods going forward are calculated as a percent increase or decrease from the 100 baseline index of that period. This index is intended to show directional and magnitudinal change that the market is experiencing. Actual index scores are arbitrary meaning the baseline of 100 is simply used as a benchmark. Jobson Research shall not be held liable for any use or misuse of the data described and/or contained herein.

Source: GPN and ABB Analyze contributed anonymous sales data used to determine gross revenue, exams/refractions, frame units, lens pairs, and contact lens boxes. Data was collected from approximately 3,500 independent eye care practices.


Consumer Sentiments

* Percentage of Rx eyewear users that are planning to postpone or cancel their Rx eyewear purchase until conditions are better. "If you need new eyeglasses or contact lenses while COVID-19 is still a threat, which of the following actions are you likely to take?"
** Selected answer option 8, 9 or 10 for the question "On a scale of 1-10 (were 1 = No concern at all and 10 = Extremely concerned) how concerned are you over the recent global COVID-19 threat and outbreak?"

Source: The Vision Council VisionWatch COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Study: February and March editions

For additional information, you may reach out to GPN, ABB Analyze, and The Vision Council directly.

For more information from Jobson Research contact jwaller@jobson.com.