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America’s Best and Rickey Smiley Launch Stylish, Affordable Frames to Encourage More Eye Exams

New Research Confirms Cost Is a Top Barrier to Seeking Eye Care

/ PR Newswire / — Not being able to see well is no laughing matter. That’s why nationally renowned standup comedian and radio personality Rickey Smiley has teamed up with America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses to create the Rickey Smiley Eyewear line and give more people the opportunity to see well and look good, too. Now available in 12 styles, these fashion-forward frames feature hot color combinations and distinguished finishes and textures – and are reasonably priced.
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The availability of these frames comes at a good time, given new researchi commissioned by America's Best showing that 40 percent of people have not seen an eye doctor in the past year, with more than a third saying the reason was they could not afford it.

As someone who has worn eyeglasses since the third grade, Smiley understands how important it is to see well and take care of your eyes. Wearing eyeglasses has not only positively impacted Smiley's overall health and led to a successful career in the entertainment industry, but he also says his glasses have become a way to express his personal style.

“People shouldn't have to sacrifice style or seeing to save a buck,” said Smiley. “It was an obvious choice for me to partner with America's Best because we share a commitment to making sure great-looking glasses are within reach for everyone. With the Rickey Smiley frame line, we're providing a product that is high quality, stylish and affordable - and there are locations across the country, so it's convenient for people to take control of their eye health and make that appointment.”

The Rickey Smiley Eyewear line can be purchased at America's Best locations, and, as always, the eye exam can be free when two pairs are purchased.

“Offering quality eyewear and eye care at an affordable price is at the heart of America's Best because we believe everyone deserves to see their best,” said Bruce Steffey, president and COO, America’s Best. “We're very excited to have Rickey Smiley on board to encourage more people to think about how important it is to get their next eye exam and how great they will look in their new glasses.”

Research Results - Attitudes/Awareness on Importance of Health and Style
The recently conducted “Eye Health Awareness and Access” survey commissioned by America's Best explores people's understanding of the need for regular eyecare, whether they access it, and why or why not. The survey found that the vast majority of people (93 percent) agree that their health is very important to them, and people seem to understand the importance of eye exams to preserve eye health, with 84 percent agreeing that it is important to get regular eye exams regardless of whether they are seeing well or not. Yet, 40 percent have not had an eye exam in the past year, and 10 percent have never seen an eye doctor. African-Americans were almost twice as likely to have never done so.

The top reason people give for why they have not recently visited their eye doctor is “No need - I am seeing fine,” with 37 percent saying this, followed closely by “I cannot afford it,” said by 34 percent. These same people say they expect to pay more than $90 for an eye exam, showing they are not aware of more affordable options. Eye exams from America's Best, for example, are $45 or free when the customer buys two pairs of eyeglasses. The majority of people also feel that their eyeglasses cost too much for what they got, with the cost of their eyeglasses averaging close to $200 for their last pair. Nearly a quarter paid more than $250. The new Rickey Smiley frames are eligible for America's Best's two-for-$104.95 deal which includes single vision plastic lenses and an eye exam. Price is cited as the most important factor when shopping for eyeglasses (74 percent of people said this), followed by quality (57 percent), location (47 percent), convenience (41 percent) and hours (19 percent).

Appearance is also very important to most people (76 percent), with the majority agreeing that eyeglasses are a part of their personal style. When asked how often eyeglass styles should be updated (or a second pair bought), the average response given was “every year.”

“People update their shoes all the time, but put off updating their glasses,” said Smiley. “It's time for people to prioritize their eyes and get a great new look at the same time.”

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iOnline survey conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of National Vision, Inc. in August 2014, among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults 18+. Oversamples were conducted to reach statistically significant base sizes among African Americans and Hispanics.

Contact:
Susan English
Havas PR
412.512.6547
Susan.English@havasww.com

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