The bottom has dropped out of the housing market. Oil prices are hitting all-time highs. Meanwhile, economists debate whether the United States is actually in a recession.

But, at least the eye-care market is holding firm.

Total revenues for the vision-care industry in 2007 were almost equal to 2006 revenues: $28,578 million compared with $28,603 millionjust a 0.1% decline.

These results come from the most recent VisionWatch report, a survey of the vision-care spending of 100,000 consumers, conducted by Jobson Medical Information and the Vision Council of America. The survey tallies revenues of eye exams, refractive surgery, frames, spectacle lenses, contact lenses, sunglasses and readers.

Other notable results:

Eye exams. Eye exam revenues among adults dipped 1.4%. Specifically, 43.1% of Americans age 18 and older had an eye exam in 2007, compared with 44.3% in 2006.

Refractive surgery. Revenues fell 5%. The estimated number of Americans who had initial refractive surgery dropped from 1,578,900 in 2006 to 1,502,000 in 2007.

Contact lenses. Dollar sales of contact lenses rose 3.4% from 2006 to 2007.

Spectacle lenses. Lens revenues held steady, with a slight decline of 0.4% in 2007.

Frames. Frame dollar sales were almost flat. Revenues increased just 0.4% in 2007 over 2006.

Sunglasses. Non-prescription sunglass sales rose 1.6% in 2007 compared with 2006.
Readers. Non-prescription readers had the largest sales gain of all categories, rising 14.2% in 2007.

Vol. No: 145:04Issue: 4/15/2008