Though overall sales growth in 2017 was a negligible 0.1%, the vision care industry is now a $40 billion-a-year enterprise, according to a report by the Vision Council. And some individual market categories showed impressive growth. Moreover, "the number of adults using vision correction continued to grow in 2017, rising to 192.4 million, an increase of more than 2.5 million adult users over 2016," the Vision Council noted in a statement.

According to the group’s breakdown, the industry’s largest seller remains eyeglasses, at 55.4%. They brought in a total of $22.39 billion last year, up 0.6% from the previous few years. The group attributes much of the gains in recent years to the steady increase in the US population. 

The research also shows that, over the last two years, contact lens sales increased by 7.5%, to $5.01 billion, thanks to 1.1 million new users. Even the over-the-counter reading glasses market improved by 3.4% over the last two years, up to $895 million. The only field that shows a decrease over that time period was LASIK surgery, which dropped 9.2%.

The report also notes that $1.97 billion in sales originated from online purchases and that 39.8% of that was from contact lenses alone. Approximately 4.4%—3.29 million pairs—of all eyeglass lenses and frames in 2017 were purchased online.

The Vision Council. Vision Markets Continued Growth in 2017. Vision Expo. May 29, 2018. Accessed May 31, 2018.