Google Glass looks to become mainstream through vision insurance options.

Nearly every week here on the EyeCare 20/20 blog, we talk about a new vision innovation or type of technology that aims to change the optical world for the better, from special gel that helps to seal incisions during cataract surgery to contact lenses that monitor glucose levels. While all of these amazing innovations will certainly have an impact on the eye care world, not every new product that is released reaches the level where it is used by consumers or vision specialists regularly. This can be for a number of reasons, such as too high of a price tag, the lack of approval from the FDA, or even a lack of availability to the masses.

Given this, when Google Glass, an optical head-mounted display device that essentially works as a wearable computer, was first released in early 2013, it raised many questions. Many people began wondering whether or not this device would be just another “cool invention” that only celebrities could afford, or if it would be something that was actually made to be purchased by the average consumer.

Google Glass

This month, thanks to a new partnership made between Google and VSP, the nation’s biggest optical health insurance provider, we may finally have our answer.

VSP is the leading vision insurer for both individuals and businesses, allowing vision care benefits to nearly 59 million members  around the world. However, this past month, they announced that they will be jumping into the Internet-connected eyewear game by striking a deal with Google to offer subsidized frames and prescription lenses for Google Glass.¹ This greatly increases the number of users that will be able to use Google Glass  on a day-to-day basis, as it was otherwise not practical for users who needed a specific vision prescription to see. EyeCare 20/20 will certainly be involved in this roll out!

This announcement is a huge step for the future Google Glasses, as it moves this innovation from a tech fantasy-themed purchase to an actual mainstream device. The fact that VSP helps to make these frames more affordable and gives them a medical stamp of approval goes even further towards making these glasses a possible day-to-day accessory for many around the world.

“We know our 64 million members are seeing and hearing about Google Glass and how it will affect their lives and vision, so we are really focusing on the eye health management perspective,” said Jim McGrann, president of VSP Vision Care, VSP’s insurance division. “We see this whole concept of smart eyewear continuing to evolve as an opportunity to provide instant information,” he added

In addition to prescription lenses, tinted sunglasses are also currently being considered as an add-on option for Google Glass lenses in the very near future. Prices for these options will be roughly around $225 for prescription frame choices and $150 for each individual style of clip-on sunglasses. This is in addition to the $1,500 that the Glass computing device currently costs for those invited to try them out.²

What do you think about Google Glass? Do you think that innovation is just another fad that will fade away in the future, or do you think this accessory will be here to stay? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!



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