The globally rising demand for contacts has gradually had a transformative impact on the cosmetic contact lens market trends as well. The growth can be primarily attributed to the changing fashion trends that encourage not only the shunning of glasses to look more fashionable but also to change the eye color to look more attractive and younger. According to relevant statistics recorded more than a decade back, there had been nearly 125 million contact lens users across the globe. While a major section of this population wears contact lenses for vision correction, many others have opted to wear colored contact lens as a means to achieve a subtle change in the eye color, an alteration that can add a very attractive dimension to a person’s face.
North America Cosmetic Contact Lens Market, By Product, 2017 & 2024 (USD Million)
Contact lens usage statistics in the U.S. shows that 45 million people in the country use contact lens and two third users are female while 17% of contact lens users are aged between 18 to 24. These trends indicate the fact that contact lens play a significant role when it comes to boosting people’s confidence about their appearance. The cosmetic contact lens market has thus gained commendable traction from the growing use of contact lens for confidence and appearance enhancement.
Speaking of changing the appearance of the eyes to create a dramatic impact on the person’s appearance, an instance can be cited about the Japanese trend to create the anime look with cosmetic contact lens. Anime animations portray very large eyes, a fashion statement that is becoming an increasingly popular beauty trend especially in Asia. One of the most recognized companies in the cosmetic contact lens industry, Johnson & Johnson, is endowed with the Acuvue Define product line that involves the manufacture of daily wear lenses with a slightly larger iris. In fact, some cosmetic contact lenses are being designed to not only cover the iris but also to cover a portion of the sclera or the white part of the eye, so that an anime or vampire effect can be achieved.
In spite of various regulatory bodies questioning the safety of use of these products, the cosmetic contact lens industry has reported a significant rise in terms of revenue from the use of such appearance enhancement lenses. Driven by the contribution of countries such as Japan and South Korea, Asia Pacific cosmetic contact lens market size is anticipated to register a CAGR of more than 6% over 2018-2024.
However, the use of colored lenses is not being limited to cosmetic purpose alone. The idea is being altered as other benefits of using colored contact lenses are fast coming to light thus adding impetus to the cosmetic contact lens market. One of the foremost benefits have been pointed out by presbyopic contact lens users who have often struggled to insert clear contact lenses. Colored or even slightly tinted contact lenses are easier to see and thus are easier to insert and remove. The color of the lens does not need to be too apparent to serve this purpose and thus more contact lens users are opting for this choice without any cosmetic intention.
Colored contact lenses have been found to be able to provide significant psychological benefits for patients who have suffered ocular trauma as colored contacts can be used to pertain a more natural appearance to damaged pupils. Only close inspection can reveal the cosmetic eye to be different from a normal one. Prosthetic options can help in restoring the balance of appearance in the color of patients’ eyes. Some manufacturers, in order to help patients with color-vision deficiencies, albinism, amblyopia and a host of other ocular anomalies, produce contact lenses intended to imitate the bilateral eye color. People with photophobic issues can also benefit from the use of cosmetic lenses as the addition of color can occlude or filter light spectrum. For instance, red colored contacts can enhance color perception, adding visual benefit to people with colorblindness.
A factor that has been a major deterrent for the expansion of the cosmetic contact lens industry is the perceived danger of using colored contact lenses. In reality, colored contact lenses are as safe as ordinary lenses but patient awareness about safe and hygienic contact lens use is generally lacking while using lenses for cosmetic purpose with some users obtaining cosmetic contact lenses online, illegally and even without a prescription. Lack of awareness about safe use of contact lenses can lead to corneal abrasions, bacterial conjunctivitis and several other severe complications. Therefore, cosmetic contact lens industry participants as well as regulatory bodies are propagating awareness and rules that dictate that beauty should not be achieved at the expense of health, thereby expanding the popularity of the already lucrative cosmetic contact lens market.