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Media Release

Alcon Study Reveals Nearly Half of Americans Would Avoid Reading Glasses If They Knew it Made Them Look Older

  • According to the study, one in four adults say readers can make someone look ten years older
  • Of people with presbyopia who do not wear contact lenses, nearly two-thirds are interested in learning how multifocal contact lenses can correct their presbyopia
  • More than 110 million people in the US are presbyopic, and this population will continue to grow


Fort Worth, TX (May 19, 2015) – According to a new survey conducted by Jacksonville University in Florida, one in four adults say reading glasses, also known as “readers,” can make someone look ten years older. The survey, conducted in collaboration with Alcon, the global leader in eye care and a division of Novartis, was designed to evaluate the effect that readers have on perceived age, and the need for education about presbyopia.

Presbyopia is an eye condition that often occurs following the age of 40, and involves the gradual loss of the eye’s ability to actively focus on close objects such as smart phones, computers, books and menus.1 Worldwide, nearly 1.7 billion people have presbyopia, and this number is expected to soar to 2.1 billion by 2020.2

"Readers are ubiquitous, and I was curious about their effect on one’s perceived age," said survey leader Dr. Heather Hausenblas, a healthy aging expert, researcher and professor at Jacksonville University in the College of Health Sciences’ School of Applied Health Sciences. "In our culture where youth and beauty are prized, many decisions – like getting collagen fillers or staying fit – are carefully made, while others, like donning readers, may not be. The truth is, most people aren’t aware of any other options for addressing presbyopia, and so readers are a quick fix, but many people may not be aware that readers could be adding years to their appearance."

The Age Perception Impact Survey, conducted online, examined the perceptions and attitudes of aging among the US population between the ages of 38-54, also known as the Generation X population. It surveyed 1,067 adults who live in the continental United States. In addition, Dr. Hausenblas, who evaluated the online survey data, conducted 50 in-depth, live interviews, which included sharing pictures of individuals with and without readers and asking interviewees to guess their age and personal attributes.

"We keep hearing from patients that they really start to think about aging when they have a hard time reading small print on a restaurant menu or their smartphone," said Carla Mack, OD, MBA, FAAO, Director of Professional and Clinical Support, for US Vision Care at Alcon. "We are excited to offer an alternative to readers with Alcon multifocal contact lenses, which correct presbyopia, a natural aging process of the eyes. This is a non-surgical technology patients can access right in their eye doctor’s office."

Key findings from the survey showed that although the majority of adults value looking younger (68%), almost half do not feel younger than their current age (49%). To help feel younger, many adults are taking important steps, such as dyeing their hair (42%) and wearing youthful outfits (37%). Additionally, they see facelifts and teeth whitening as some of the most expensive ways to look younger. Yet, the majority of adults have overlooked a simple and easy option to help look younger – removing their readers.

"The survey results are fascinating as they highlight some of the impulsive judgments that we make as a society when meeting or seeing someone for the first time," said Dr. Heather Hausenblas. "Interestingly enough, most people in the survey value youth and beauty, but they aren’t doing everything they can to look younger."

According to the survey, nearly half of Americans (49%) would consider avoiding readers if they knew it made them look older. Of emerging presbyopes between the ages of 38-54, up to 40% may mistake their presbyopia for eye fatigue3, but more than one-third said they would visit an eye care practitioner (ECP) if they knew the ECP could help.4 Of those presbyopes who do not visit an ECP about their symptoms, 20% say they do not know there are remedies for presbyopia.5

More than 110 million people in the US are presbyopic, and this population will continue to grow.6* Multifocal contact lenses represent an alternative option which may help many of those with presbyopia. Of presbyopes who do not wear contact lenses, nearly two-thirds (62%) are interested in learning how multifocal contact lenses can correct their presbyopia.7

About Alcon Multifocal Contact Lenses

Alcon multifocal contact lenses provide vision correction for presbyopes, with the Unique Precision Profile™ design allowing for a full range of prescription strengths to blend seamlessly across the lens for smooth transition between a wide range of distances and clear vision at all distances, near through far. Alcon multifocal contact lenses are available in daily disposable and monthly wear options to correct the vision of people with presbyopia.

For more information about Alcon multifocal contact lenses, visit: www.LoseYourReaders.com.

Survey Methodology

Wakefield Research surveyed 1,067 nationally representative US adults, ages 38-54, between January 15th and January 20th, 2015 using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the US adult population ages 38-54. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the percentage expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular survey, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.0 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the world represented by the sample. Additionally, 50 in-person interviews were conducted at Jacksonville University.



This press release contains expressed or implied forward-looking statements, including statements that can be identified by terminology such as "can," "would," "may," "could," "will," "offer," or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements reflect the current views of the Group regarding future events, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from any future results expressed or implied by such statements. These expectations could be affected by, among other things, risks and factors referred to in the Risk Factors section of Novartis AG's current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update it in the future.



* Source: US Census Bureau and Market Scope Projections

  1. MayoClinic.org. Presbyopia. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/presbyopia/DS00589
  2. Market Scope. Global Presbyopia-Correcting Surgery Market Report, April 2012.
  3. Alcon data on file, July 2014
  4. Alcon data on file, July 2014.
  5. Alcon data on file, July 2014
  6. Alcon data on file, 2013.
  7. Alcon data on file, December 2014.

About Novartis

Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care and cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2014, the Group achieved net sales of USD 58.0 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.9 billion (USD 9.6 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 120,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are available in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.

Novartis is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @Novartis at http://twitter.com/novartis.


About Alcon

Alcon, the global leader in eye care, provides innovative products that enhance quality of life by helping people worldwide see better. The three Alcon franchises - Surgical, Ophthalmic Pharmaceuticals and Vision Care - offer the widest spectrum of eye care products in the world. Alcon is the second largest division of the Novartis Group, with sales of USD 10.8 billion in 2014. Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, USA, Alcon has more than 25,000 employees worldwide, operations in 75 countries and products available in 180 markets. For more information, visit www.alcon.com


Novartis Media Relations

Julie Masow
Novartis Media Relations
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+1 862 579 8456 (mobile)
[email protected]

e-mail: [email protected]

Donna Lorenson
Novartis Alcon Communications
+ 1 817 615 5092 (direct)
+ 1 410 258 8571 (mobile)
[email protected]

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