The Eye Care Industry - United Arab Emirates
- The rising popularity of refractive surgeries and LASIK vision correction procedures are expected to limit the growth of the UAE eyewear market.
- The demand for luxury eyewear will continue in the upcoming years, with an expected growth of 4.2% during 2022-27.
- The UAE eyewear market is highly fragmented. However, consumers are price insensitive.
- Consumers are also shifting towards preventive eye care and maintaining eye health.
An overview of recent news highlights as well as emerging trends in the eye care industry in UAE has been presented below.
- Title: "Emirates Health Services adopts AI-based vision screening"
- Link: article
- Entities Involved: Emirates Health Services, Emitac Healthcare Solutions and GoCheck
- Summary: Emirates Health Services, in partnership with Emitac Healthcare Solutions has introduced a new smartphone-enabled, integrated vision screening application as part of their routine check-up for children. This technology was developed by “GoCheck” (US company). It has been reported that this "partnership with Emirates Health Services is the start of a great public health initiative to screen and protect the vision of the next generation of children in the UAE while empowering pediatric healthcare providers with smarter technology to detect vision diseases in advance."
- Title: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi becomes first hospital in the region to introduce new minimally invasive treatment for glaucoma"
- Link: article
- Entities Involved: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi
- Summary: A new technology that has the ability to immediately lower eye pressure and treat the damage that glaucoma can cause to the optic nerve, while also reducing or eliminating the reliance on medication is now available in Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi. Three patients in this hospital have been the first in the region to receive this innovative outpatient treatment. This "new minimally invasive PreserFlo MicroShunt® procedure involves inserting a small biocompatible stent into the drainage system of the eye in order to shunt intraocular fluid and lower pressure inside the eye."
- Title: "With resurgence of LASIK, debate reemerges on femto vs. mechanical microkeratomes"
- Link: article
- Entities Involved: Ali Fadlallah
- Summary: According to Ali Fadlallah (MD, MS, MPH), who practices in UAE, there has been a 35% increase of LASIK procedures since COVID, with mask complaints being among the major causes. He has observed that "patients were not spending their money on traveling. We saw COVID as a cause for patients spending their money elsewhere, which was mainly in the health sector. That meant more plastic surgeries and more LASIK." Fadlallah further notes that many centers had switched to femtosecond lasers in 2006. However, in the last few years, there has been a near-complete reversal in that trend with most making the switch to a more modern mechanical microkeratome.
- Title: "Moorfields Eye Hospitals UAE To Host 4th Annual ‘A Year in Focus’ International Ophthalmology Conference"
- Link: article
- Entities Involved: Moorfields Eye Hospitals UAE
- Summary: Moorfields Eye Hospitals UAE has announced that it will be holding the 4th edition of the ‘Moorfields UAE 2021 – A Year in Focus’ high caliber Ophthalmology conference' on January 2022. "The conference will feature a stellar panel of 30+ prominent researchers, surgeons and academics from across the world. They will be sharing the latest developments in Ophthalmology, in a highly engaging format."
- Title: "Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City performs intelligent Glaucoma Implant in a first for the Middle East"
- Link: article
- Entities Involved: Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC), Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) and Mayo Clinic
- Summary: Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC), in a joint venture partnership between Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) and Mayo Clinic, performed an intelligent eye implant with the “eyeWatch” device to save the eyesight of patients affected by glaucoma for the first time in the Middle East. "The eyeWatch implant is a drainage system of tubes that drains away excess fluid to lower the pressure on the eye. Relieving pressure helps to stop the progressive loss of vision brought on by glaucoma."
- Title: "For Ramesh Prabhakar of Dubai's Rivoli Group, future is all in the eye "
- Link: article
- Entities Involved: Rivoli Group
- Summary: "Ramesh Prabhakar, The Vice-Chairman and Managing Partner of Dubai-headquartered luxury retailer Rivoli is, in fact, going big on vision. He has brought together three of the Group’s eyewear-focussed retail concepts under the ‘Rivoli Vision’ umbrella." These include vanti, Rivoli Eyezone and Style 88 concepts. The goal is to develop a store and online presence that will make Rivoli Vision a one-stop shop for anything to do with the eye. Prabhakar has stated that "it’s only in the Gulf markets that eyewear sales make up 50% of the business — in most mature markets, 35-40% will be sunglasses and the rest will be ophthalmic-related."
- Title: "Faisal Belhoul joins forces with iGan Partners to launch US$250 million iGan Arabia fund to drive MedTech innovation in MENA"
- Link: article
- Entities Involved: iGan Partners and Faisal Belhoul
- Summary: Canadian healthcare investor iGan Partners has partnered with Dubai-based investments professional and entrepreneur Faisal Belhoul to "launch a US$250 million iGan Arabia regional fund to drive MedTech innovation across the Middle East and North Africa region." The objective is to invest in AI/Cloud-enhanced medical devices and digital health technologies that will improve patient outcomes and reduce the healthcare cost. Among its first four investments that have been identified to drive breakthrough MedTech is with eSight Corporation, for wearable electronic vision devices for legally blind people challenged by eye diseases.
- Title: "Abu Dhabi's Mubadala acquires 60% stake in Saudi, UAE healthcare provider"
- Link: article
- Entities Involved: Mubadala Investment Co. and United Eastern Medical Services
- Summary: - Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Co. has acquired a 60% stake in healthcare provider United Eastern Medical Services (UEMedical) which operates in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. UEMedical's assets include a women's and children's hospital and a Moorfields Eye Hospital, both in Abu Dhabi.
- While there was insufficient information related to price trends of eye care products overall, it was found that the eyewear segment is highly fragmented with many players entering the market each year (with the exception of 2020). With the easing of COVID restrictions, many luxury eyewear providers have introduced discounts and promotions to reduce accumulated stock levels.
- However, Euromonitor states that there is price insensitivity within the industry, which is an opportunity for new entrants.
- The report states that luxury eye care providers face competition from laser eye surgery which has become more competitive in its pricing (currently both luxury eye care and laser eye surgery are priced in the range of AED3,000).
- It has been found that the higher demand for luxurious sunglasses has contributed to the forecasted growth in the UAE eyewear segment during 2020-2026. Further, "the rising discretionary spending over eyewear coupled with enhanced preferences of the consumers for best in style eyewear products backed by advanced fashion sense is expected to proliferate the growth of UAE eyewear market."
- It is expected that Dubai will witness the highest demand for luxurious eyewear products due to the increase in the purchasing power of the consumers as well as concerns towards eye protection. It has also been noted that there is an increasing trend towards "flaunting one’s belongings and increasing brand consciousness in the Arabian population."
- MarkNtel Advisers have reported that the UAE luxury eyewear market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.2% during 2022-2027. It states that "optical frames have transformed their application as a medical necessity into a fashion accessory, thereby encouraging consumers to spend a significant amount on the purchase of eyewear," and that consumers in UAE are extremely brand conscious.
- 6W Research states that "the rising popularity of refractive surgeries and laser- insisted (LASIK) vision correction advancements are likely to limit the growth of UAE eyewear market in the near term"
- This finding is also confirmed by the findings from Euromonitor research. It states that consumers have been showing a greater interest in laser eye surgery, which has become more affordable as a result of technological advancements.
- Euromonitor has reported that with the increased work from home measures, there have been higher occurrences of eye strain which has led consumers to pay attention to their eye health. Hence, "Buying luxury eyewear such as spectacles and sunglasses with blue light filters and polarized lenses to reduce eye strain and negate the impact of staring at digital screens is gaining momentum."
- It further states that the pandemic has accelerated health trends in the UAE, with consumers focusing on taking care of themselves over the long term. Increased use of digital screens throughout the day such as laptops and smartphones, has led to this heightened awareness of eye health.
- In addition, the emergence of strict hygiene practices due to COVID had resulted in consumers using alternative methods of eye care to soothe tired or red eyes.
TRENDS IN THE UAE EYECARE INDUSTRY
Trend #1 - Eyewear Products Become More Competitively Priced
Trend #2 - Increased Demand for Luxury Eyewear
Trend #3 - Rising popularity of Refractive Surgeries and Vision Correction Procedures
Trend #4 - Increasing Focus on Preventive Healthcare/Eye Health Maintenance
While we were able to find news articles related to the eye care industry in UAE, overall, there was limited recent information available in the public domain. The eight articles selected were considered to be the most significant events within the industry during 2020-21. The limited availability of information was especially evident during our research of emerging trends in the industry. After an extensive search, we were able to identify some key trends which were repeatedly mentioned across several sources. While there was some information on the eyewear industry, data related to eye care trends overall was limited. Most of the information found were from summary extracts of paywalled market research reports such as Euromonitor and MarkNtel Advisers. Hence, more in-depth research into each trend (e.g. why they are considered trends) could not be provided.