Contact lenses have been increasing in popularity annually for decades and millions of people the world over prefer them to glasses.
On average around 20 per cent of new potential consumers enter the contact lens market per annum. This is a huge year-on-year increase.
The introduction of soft contact lenses to the market in the 1970s really kick-started contact lenses" popularity and during the late 1980s, soft contacts intended for more frequent disposable replacement regimens began to emerge.
There is now a wide range of contact lenses available to suit every age, price and lifestyle including daily disposable, frequent replacement and cosmetic contact lenses
Global Industry Analysts recently released a report entitled "Contact Lenses and Solutions" A Global Strategic Business Report". The report highlighted the ever-growing consumer base for contact lenses and noted that the contact lens and solution industry would be worth £7.5 billion by 2018.
Vanity continues to be the major factor driving contact lens usage, with users preferring them to glasses.
Children, teenagers and younger people represent the prime targets of contact lens makers but specialty lenses are likely to witness expansion in wearer base as time goes by. This is due to the fact that a significant portion of the global population becomes subjected to astigmatism and presbyopia; conditions affecting aging eyes. This translates into huge potential for toric, bifocal and multifocal contact lenses.
Additionally, an ongoing shift from conventional lenses to disposable lenses in lens wearers will add value to the market as they offer relatively higher revenue generation per patient. Currently, the United States represents the largest market for contact lenses and solutions across the globe with soft contact lenses dominating the largest segment.
Among soft lenses, the launch of silicone hydrogel lenses revolutionised extended wearing lenses, which are becoming increasingly popular.
Multi-focus lens is the fastest growing segment in soft contacts.