The future of glasses is shining brightly

In 2021, the eyewear market is a $ 115 billion industry. This industry includes eyeglasses, sunglasses and contact lenses, as well as specialized eyewear for sports, occupational safety and games. About 126 million Americans wear glasses and pay an average of $ 576 per year for the privilege.

New trends are appearing in the eyewear industry. Consumers are buying glasses more frequently than before. COVID-19 has changed customer needs to include blue light filtering and light adaptive contact lenses. These innovations make it easier for people to take care of their eyes in a world dominated by screens. As in many industries, customers are also shopping more frequently online.

The replacement lens market

Maybe the most interesting new development in eyewear is replacement lenses. Informed consumers keep their frames and only buy new lenses when their prescription changes. This approach allows them to both save money and maintain a privileged personal style. Beyond prescription changes, lens innovations are also stimulating exchange demand. Lens coatings that protect against UV rays, scratches, fogging and glare are all the rage among consumers who can afford them. Electronic focusing glasses have entered the market, although they are still too expensive for the average consumer. Eyeglass technology is constantly improving to provide the public with more and more advanced features.

The rise of smart glasses

Considering the trend towards smart devices elsewhere, it’s no surprise that smart glasses are making their way into the public consciousness. Monocular smart glasses are headsets that have an optical motor located in one of their lenses. Augmented information is places out of line of sight to minimize distractions. One practical use of this design that has been hinted at in public discourse is for surgeons who monitor patients’ vital signs during an operation.

Binocular smart glasses go beyond monocular smart glasses. As the name suggests, these devices have two transparent screens capable of giving users a stereoscopic view. Augmented information is, again, located outside the line of sight to minimize distractions. While many binocular designs lack 3D depth sensors, they use on-board cameras and IMU sensors to support the user’s sense of orientation and positioning. Binocular smart glasses are ideal for overlaying basic 2D and 3D graphics on a user’s vision. These devices could be used by an engineer repairing an oil rig while receiving remote instructions, for example.

Audio augmented reality glasses are another class of smart glasses. These glasses have small speakers connected to the wearer’s ear. They combine information collected from connected motion sensors with GPS information obtained from a connected smartphone. Recently, they have been used to create an immersive Coachella experience to inform attendees of upcoming shows.

Whatever an individual’s visual needs, the future of eyewear technology has the potential to excite everyone. Smart glasses have made science fiction dreams come true, and modern innovation is working to make that dream come true. The market is still in its infancy, but it is growing at a rapid pace. Right now, lens replacement is the thing that is catching the attention of consumers.