The wellness trend and what it could mean for optical retailers.

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Posted by Erik van Dijk

Erik has previously worked for 10 years at Philips in various parts of the business and in different roles, most recently at Philips Healthcare in R&D management. Since his start at EasyScan in 2015 he headed the operations (supply chain/technical support) and R&D team. In 2017, Erik became the CEO. Erik has a PhD in Physics from the University of Twente.

The wellness trend and what it could mean for optical retailers.


The Oxford Dictionary defines wellness as: “The state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.” Increased interest in wellness will be one of the major trends for 2019, impacting not only on food and personal care but even real estate and smart cities. Within retail, it is a trend being pursued by many different types of retailers, from high-end department store Saks offering wellness as a luxury experience to Westfield shopping malls including boutique fitness stores in their new locations. This post explores what is driving this trend and what it could mean for optical retailers.

The rise of wellness

The increase in wellness as an important driver for business choices and success is caused by many different factors.

One of the key drivers is the increased importance that millennials attach to health and wellbeing over materials goods. Millennials are spending large amounts of money on fitness and healthy food products. For example, UK millennials spend an average of GBP155/month (EUR: 170) on health and fitness.

For millennials, wellness is seen as much more holistic and encompassing than just eating healthy foods and keeping fit—it is a way of life, where mental, physical, and emotional elements all play an important role. This explains why this trend influences the way millennials consume many different types of experiences, from the way they sleep, to what they eat, and how they look and feel.

Since millennials are now coming into their prime spending years, companies need to take note of what this change in behavior means for the way they communicate about their product and brand.

How can optical retailers capitalize on this wellness trend?

So, how can opticians or optometrists use these trends in their business? First of all, it is important to note that wellness has nothing to do with disease but all to do with being and staying healthy. We are not dealing with patients but with consumers who are willing to spend extra for the assurance that they will remain healthy and happy for longer.

With the right type of communication and information, we can educate customers on the importance of keeping their eyes healthy and the many ways they themselves, or with the help of their trusted optician, can work on that. By clever communication, it is possible to ensure that you build up a longer and more trusting relationship, where a regular check on the eye health is as normal as a regular visit to the dentist.

Food for healthy eyes:

A healthy, balanced, and varied diet is an important factor in staying healthy. And there are many, many blogs and websites dedicated to how this benefits your general health. What many people don’t realize, though, is that with the right food choices, you can improve your eye health. Promoting these in your communication as an optician is an interesting and useful way to make that link. In The Netherlands, an interesting concept has been developed for opticians. “Goed voor Ogen” (“Good for Eyes”) offers material such as recipes and content for website and social media that can be directly used to promote eye wellness.


The increased use of mobile phones and artificial lighting is seen as one of the drivers in the increase in sleeping disorders over the past few decades. To improve general wellness, improved sleeping habits can be key. The additional exposure to blue light, in particular in the evening, is seen as one of the causes of these problems.

Many different solutions are being offered, from special apps to special screen covers that filter out some of the blue light. Also, blue-light-blocking glasses and coating are seen as a means to reduce the impact of blue light and thus improve sleeping rhythm, while also reducing eye strain. All these products can result in more comfortable and healthy screen time.


Slightly more esoteric are chromotherapy glasses. These are different colored glasses that are supposedly capable of changing the mood of the user. Examples are yellow glasses that are believed to relate to the Solar Plexus Chakra, which will stimulate your mental facilities to become more enthusiastic about life and more confident, and glasses with a nice blue tint that purportedly make you feel calmer and more relaxed by quieting your energies.

In the US and Canada, there are already a number of opticians that have embraced the wellness trend as a means of differentiating themselves from other opticians. For example, “Eyes Focused on You,” in Ontario, Canada, offers “a holistic approach to eye care.” They not only provide the usual optometry services, but also tips and suggestions, for example how physical exercise helps to keep the eyes healthy or foods that can help prevent AMD.

As part of an eye-wellness focus, regular retinal imaging can be an important way of ensuring that customer vision is healthy and give them the peace of mind that their eye health is in capable hands.

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