You’d be surprised that just two companies dominate the global eyewear market

In The Guardian’s Long Read article on, The spectacular power of the Big Lens, it’s hugely informative on an industry that most of us rely on, eyewear. [My spare glasses in photo]

In the article I learned from the article’s author that,

The lenses in my glasses – and yours too, most likely – are made by Essilor, a French multinational that controls almost half of the world’s prescription lens business and has acquired more than 250 other companies in the past 20 years.

and,

There is a good chance, meanwhile, that your frames are made by Luxottica, an Italian company with an unparalleled combination of factories, designer labels and retail outlets ……. such as Ray-Ban, Vogue, Prada, Oliver Peoples, and Oakley all owned by Luxottica, and John Lewis Opticians run by Luxottica, or Sunglass Hut also owned by Luxottica.

and, now they are becoming one company.

On 1 March 2018, regulators in the EU and the US gave permission for the world’s largest optical companies to form a single corporation, which will be known as EssilorLuxottica. The new firm will not technically be a monopoly: Essilor currently has around 45% of the prescription lenses market, and Luxottica 25% of the frames.

I’d imagine that the majority of us would have imagined that there’s as much a multiplicity of manufactures as their opticians in the country. Not so, which is what I learned from the article.

I started wearing glasses in my early thirties, and have subsequently had numerous different frames and lenses. Currently, my lenses are Varifocal, an Essilor brand, in a Silhoutte frame, which is an independent Austrian company, and jolly expensive they are too. I only moved away from Specsavers as their range of rimless frames was limited.

It wasn’t long ago that we collected all our many spectacle cases and specs, and recycled them. They’d built up on drawers through our house. Now I’ve only kept the last two prescriptions. The photo is of one of them.

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