Alexandria, VA – September 22, 2023 – Today, The Vision Council released Focused inSights Telehealth 2023, a new report offering critical insights into the evolving role of telehealth in eyecare. Despite its ability to provide quality care to patients whenever and wherever it is needed, the report found that telehealth awareness and use for eyecare remains low. These findings come just in time for Telehealth Awareness Week, celebrated by the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) from September 17 – 23.  

“Telemedicine has become a part of daily life, giving patients the opportunity to access and receive care from home, yet many are unaware that virtual eyecare exists,” said Ashley Mills, President and CEO of The Vision Council. “We hope these findings will spur real conversations and increase awareness about the availability of vision tele-optometry and allow more patients to receive care when they need it and on their own terms.”  

Patients can utilize digital or telehealth services to receive care for a number of reasons, including determining a glasses or contact lens prescription, or diagnosing common conditions such as conjunctivitis, keratitis and corneal scarring. Telehealth services can help alleviate existing barriers to care affecting those who may have mobility issues or difficulty traveling to appointments.

Despite the overwhelming benefits of telemedicine, awareness of its existence in eyecare remains low. In fact, the report found that only one in ten adults reported having used telehealth services for eyecare. Similarly, Focused inSights Telehealth revealed that for 34 percent of American adults, the primary reason they did not seek telehealth solutions for eyecare is because they had never heard of it.

“Telehealth services can help promote better vision for better lives, but only if we understand what barriers to care are holding people back from using the technology,” said Alysse Henkel, Senior Director of Market Research and Analytics at The Vision Council. “This report identifies that some patients simply lack awareness of available telehealth options for eyecare.”

Additional report highlights include:  

  • Those who have used telehealth services for eyecare say they did so because it was more convenient than an in-person visit (35 percent), it was recommended to them (30 percent), or it was covered by their insurance (29 percent).
  • Patients choose to use eyecare telehealth for varying purposes. Adults who have used telehealth services for eyecare are most likely to say they have done so to renew their glasses prescription (44 percent), receive an eye exam (41 percent), or renew their contact lens prescription (39 percent).
  • Although there is interest in using telehealth in the future, there is also hesitation. While nearly one-third (29 percent) of adults who have never used telehealth services for eyecare say they are interested in using it in the future, nearly half (46 percent) say they are not interested in using these services in the future.

This study was conducted from July 27 – July 29, 2023, in collaboration with Morning Consult. The full report is available in The Vision Council’s Research Download Center as a complimentary download for members of The Vision Council, with a paid option for non-members.

About the inSights Research Program

The Vision Council’s inSights Research Program launched in May 2022 and is built on a foundation of rigorous methodology and cutting-edge technology. The inSights Research Program provides a comprehensive perspective on the state of the optical industry through quarterly consumer survey reports; quarterly in-depth special reports on eyewear and eyecare products and topics; and an end-of-year market estimate and industry forecast. 

To download a pdf of this press release, click here.