If the rate of change in optometry this year has your head spinning, hold on tight with this next one. On September 18, 2017, Johnson & Johnson Vision (JJV) announced the acquisition of Sightbox, an online contact lens subscription box service that sells direct to consumer Acuvue contact lenses, and yes, contact lenses from the three other major contact lens manufacturers.
It was a move that surprised many ODs, but as we look beyond the surface, this acquisition says so much about the current state of our profession and healthcare as a whole.
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Loyal online shoppers
Nationally, 18 percent of contact lens sales are made online. Peter Menziuso, president of JJV North America, says that market research performed in considering the acquisition of Sightbox implies not only will that number continue to rise, but that patients who are online shoppers are loyal to the method, and will not be recaptured back to in-office sales.
When doctors rail against Sightbox for taking away their ability to sell contact lenses in office, Menziuso counters that patients using Sightbox were never going to purchase in office, anyway. These patients had already made the decision to become online consumers, and the challenge JJV was facing was how to keep dedicated online consumers in innovative contact lens technology.