Eye Flu or conjunctivitis is a highly contagious eye infection that causes redness, tearing, irritation, and discharge from one or both eyes. It is commonly caused by bacteria or viruses. Products available in the market include eye drops, ointments, gels, and prescription medications to treat the infection and relieve symptoms.
The increasing prevalence of allergies is estimated to drive the growth of the eye flu (conjunctivitis) market. Allergies are one of the leading causes of conjunctivitis. According to a study published in The Lancet, the prevalence of allergies is increasing globally with nascent markets witnessing the fastest surge. Additionally, recent advancements in diagnostic tests and treatments are estimated to fuel the market growth during the forecast period. Rapid approvals of novel drugs and formulations with better efficacy are projected to further aid the market expansion from 2024-2031.
Increasing Prevalence of Allergic Conjunctivitis
Allergic conjunctivitis is one of the most common forms of conjunctivitis. It is estimated to affect around 20% of the global population. The prevalence of allergic conjunctivitis has been on the rise over the past few decades due to increasing environmental allergens like pollen, dander, dust mites etc. Rising pollution levels have also contributed to the increasing incidence of allergic eye diseases. As per research, allergic conjunctivitis accounts for over 50% of cases of conjunctivitis. The increasing prevalence of allergic eye disorders is expected to drive greater demand for eye flu medications in the coming years.
Growing Geriatric Population
Age is a significant risk factor for conjunctivitis. Older individuals are more prone to bacterial and viral eye infections due to a weaker immune system with age. As per the United Nations, the number of people aged 60 years and above is expected to more than double by 2050, reaching nearly 2.1 billion up from 962 million globally in 2017. The rise in the geriatric population generates more demand for eye care products including anti-infective eyedrops and artificial tears to treat symptoms associated with conjunctivitis. The significant growth of the elderly demographic will propel the eye flu market forward.
Potential Side Effects of Topical Medications
While eye drops are generally safe, there is a risk of potential ocular side effects from prolonged use of topical medications used to treat conjunctivitis. Some commonly reported side effects include burning, stinging, eye redness, blurred vision and foreign body sensation. Issues like rebound redness can occur if eye drops are abruptly discontinued after long-term use. Rare but serious side effects like corneal infections also act as a deterrent. The risks associated with long-term pharmacotherapy may discourage people from opting for medication and rather try alternative treatments like compresses, thereby restraining market growth to some extent.
Increasing Adoption of Single-Use Preserved Multidose Eye Drop Containers
Traditionally eye drop bottles required preservatives and multiple uses by patients to prevent contamination. However, this posed the risk of side effects from long-term preservative exposure. Single-use containers eliminate the need for preservatives since they are used only once before being disposed of. They reduce the risk of contamination and preservative toxicity issues. With rising awareness, demand for convenient single-use containers is growing fast compared to conventional multidose bottles. Leading players are actively developing innovative unitary dose packaging systems. In 2016, only 10% of the eye drop market comprised of single-use containers but it is estimated to capture 30% share by 2024. This emerging trend presents substantial growth opportunities for players.
Burgeoning Online Sales and E-Commerce Platforms
E-commerce is surging globally and revolutionizing the way healthcare products are accessed and purchased. Consumer preference for online shopping continues to rise due to convenience. An important trend gaining traction is the growth of online sales of OTC eye care products. Major retailers are strengthening their online presence and several dedicated eye care product websites have also emerged. This offers benefits like ease of purchase from home, home delivery, discounted prices and improved access in remote areas. The growth of e-shopping portals offering a wide assortment of eye medications is a key trend driving the self-care market for conjunctivitis. It is estimated that 10–15% of total eye drop sales will be through online channels by 2023. Evolving retail dynamics will significantly impact future growth patterns in this market.
- Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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