The latest editions of the Consumer Barometer released by The Vision Council and Jobson Optical Research indicated slight increases in purchases of sunglasses and eyeglass frames among U.S. consumers in June, followed by a certain stability in July.

July's Optical Business Barometer, measured by Jobson Optical Research among U.S. independent eye care professionals, held steady at 3.7, the same as in June. The barometer measures the business attitude of the participants, who rank it from 1, which is very negative, to 5, which is very positive. The 3.7 is also the same as it was in July 2011.

The outlook for the following six months dropped slightly to 3.7 in July from 3.8 in June. That was also the same as it was a year ago. Eyeglasses and contact lenses held on to their rating of 3.6, while eye exams crept up to 3.8 in July, up from 3.7 in June. The Midwest (3.7) and Northeast (3.6) regions remained the same as in June, while the West grew to 3.6 from 3.5, and the South fell to 3.7, from June's 3.9. In the June-to-July period, the Consumer Confidence Index grew to 65.9 in July, up from 62.7.

According to the Consumer Barometer publishe by The Vision Council for June, sales of sunglasses grew by almost 7 percent to $3.5 billion, with most of the growth coming from higher-end models, selling at prices higher than $50. Sales of prescription frames rose by more than 3 percent to $8.5 billion.

The outlook for future sales was positive as well, according to the June survey, as more adults expressed their intent to buy eyeglasses and sunglasses costing more than $50. Twenty-four percent of adult eyeglass wearers said they would probably buy new ones in the next six months, with 18- to 34-year-olds, Midwesterners and people earning less than $60,000 showing the highest growth in intent for future purchases. Current intent to purchase was highest among 45- to 54-year-olds, at 28 percent, and 30 percent of people with some sort of vision insurance planned a purchase soon.

Thirteen percent of U.S. adults said they were extremely likely or very likely to buy sunglasses costing more than $50 in the next six months.