Alejandro Rodríguez
Director General
Essilor Mexico
Elda Hernández
Elda Hernández
Marketing Director
Essilor Mexico
View from the Top

Prevention Often Overlooked When Addressing Visual Health

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 14:09

Q: What is the size of the Mexican market for glasses?

AR: Vision problems are one of the biggest impediments in the world and have a deep impact on those who suffer from them. Visual health is often overlooked. Eye damage can be easily avoided with preventive measures. Approximately 50 percent of the global population needs corrective lenses and everyone would benefit from using protective glasses to avoid damage from the sun or from blue light.

It is estimated that 39 million Mexicans need visual correction and as the world leader of the industry, Essilor is committed to reach those Mexicans in need and improve their lives by improving their vision. However, access to visual exams and correction is still limited in Mexico.

Q: What are the main challenges Essilor has faced to penetrate the Mexican market?

AR: The Mexican market is highly segmented, with many low-cost options or unbranded products. In terms of brands, Essilor is the leader in Mexico. Governments and optical stores need to create awareness campaigns to teach people to take care of their visual health. Our goal is to improve the lives of people by improving their vision.

EH: The industry requires more professionalization as not all optometrists are fully trained to perform visual exams or even adapt more complex lenses, like progressives. There are few people that only learn how to operate the necessary equipment and perform very basic eye exams and thus, they cannot fully personalize lenses.

Q: How is Essilor increasing awareness about the importance of visual health?

EH: We increase awareness by promoting prevention. Among our initiatives there is a campaign hosted on the International Day of Visual Health, which will be on Oct. 11, 2018. We also have signed several agreements with other companies and associations to promote visual health. For example, we are working with the International Automobile Federation (FIA) to promote safe driving through periodic eye exams.

Q: What new products is Essilor introducing to the Mexican market?

AR: Essilor invests about €250 million (US$290 million) per year in R&D. In 2018, we launched several products including Crizal Sapphire 360, a new anti-reflective coating that protects both from the front and back of the lens to reduce glare. Furthermore, it provides unmatched properties in terms of scratch resistance and transparency while being dust and water resistant. We are also launching Varilux X-Series, a unique progressive lens designed to provide natural vision at all distances to its wearers.

Q: Who are the ideal clients for these types of products?

EH: Varilux X-Series and Crizal Sapphire 360 are products from our premium line, so they are being offered to a midhigh income wearer. Varilux X-Series can only be used by individuals with presbyopia, also known as eye fatigue, which is increasingly common for those over 45 years of age. The best solution for these individuals is a progressive lens that allow individuals to see at any range. Traditional progressive lenses only allowed individuals to focus up to 45cm from their eyes, everything beyond that lost definition. Varilux X-Series provides an increased vision range between 40-70cm away, giving users clear visual definition at those ranges. This product is ideal for Generation X, which is now getting older, as they are heavy users of tablets, cellphones and computers. We estimate that about 1 million Mexicans fit this economic and age group.

Q: What are Essilor’s main priorities for 2018?

AR: Our goal is to increase our market presence with excellent products and services. The market has a lot of room to incorporate high-quality products. We also aim to make the sector more professional through continuous training, an area that has been overlooked to this point but will result in many opportunities.