Eyecare professionals are grappling with a decision: how to handle the increased prices of Chinese-origin products due to the Trump administration’s trade war with China.

Additional tariffs on optical products imported from China—threatened by the White House throughout the spring and summer—went into effect Sept. 1. Frames, spectacle lenses, plano sunglasses, OTC readers, all goggles, and some low vision devices are now assessed an additional 15% tariff.

In commerce, taxes, fees, and tariffs tend to be passed along to the next buyer, all the way down the distribution line to the end consumer. Will that happen in optical?

To gauge the plans of optical wholesalers, labs, distributors, and ECPs, The Vision Council did a flash survey—when the additional tariffs were threatened but not yet enacted—of various members across The Vision Council’s divisions.

When a 10% tariff was anticipated, 44% of optical retail division respondents said they would share the increased costs with customers, 33% would absorb the costs, and 22% would pass along the costs to customers.

When a 25% tariff was anticipated, those numbers were 56%, 0%, and 44%, respectively.


Catch up on all details of this complex tariff situation, including an expanded look at The Vision Council survey results broken down by division, at .