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As Lockdowns Make Vision Worse, Big Tech Eyes an Opportunity

A Facebook deal with Ray-Ban shows one way to get consumers to try smart glasses.

relates to As Lockdowns Make Vision Worse, Big Tech Eyes an Opportunity
Photo illustration: 731; Photo: Shutterstock

If you’re squinting a bit to read this—whether on a screen or on paper—you’re not alone. The pandemic has taken a terrible toll on our eyesight. Almost a third of Britons told the College of Optometrists their vision had deteriorated during lockdowns. In China shortsightedness tripled among 6- to 8-year-olds, and some 80% of high school students there now suffer from myopia. Eyewear maker Warby Parker Inc. told prospective investors in its September initial public offering that increased screen time was fostering more demand for its products.

But what’s a bummer for you and the three-fourths of Americans who use corrective vision is a big opportunity for the tech industry, which has its eye on those precious inches around the bridge of your nose. The Silicon Valley companies working on smart glasses are betting it will be easier to persuade people who already sport specs to try out their vision of the future. If you wear glasses, you’re a pretty good candidate for whatever whiz-bang products the likes of Apple, Amazon, and Facebook—er, Meta Platforms Inc.—are planning for a category that Verified Market Research predicts will more than triple in value by 2028, to $29 billion.