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.


As some states have started reopening select businesses, most remain shut, yet the optical business throughout the United States experienced a slight uptick in all but one product/service category last week.

Product Sales
All categories were up nationally except contact lenses:
• lens pairs +3 index points
• gross revenue, exams/refractions, and frame units +2 index points
• contact lenses -1 index point

With many rescheduling appointments for May and some for June or later, ECPs across the country are planning to reopen with safety protocols such as reducing the amount of people in the office at the same time, screening patients for the virus, changing equipment, and providing PPE for both staff and patients, according to Jobson Optical Research’s ongoing Coronavirus ECP survey.

With nearly all respondents still under stay-at-home restrictions, the survey also revealed that half of those who applied for CARES were already approved. The majority of those who applied for unemployment were approved, but about a quarter are still waiting to hear. Only 22.8% of ECPs think their business/practice will survive if they don't reopen sometime in the next two months.


Nearly all product/service categories being tracked throughout the United States ticked up again slightly last week.

Exams/refractions in the Northeast remained flat at 4 index points, while contact lenses everywhere except the Northeast declined slightly.

Every other product/service category experienced slight upticks in business ranging from 1 index point (for both frame units and lens pairs in the Northeast) to 4 index points (for lens pairs in the South).

The remaining product/service categories experienced small increases of either 2 or 3 index points.

* 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.