Laser Correction Procedures Increase in Wake of COVID-19

Published: November 18, 2021

lasik surgery increases 800

An unexpected consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the surge in vision correction surgeries, reports the Refractive Surgery Council. The number of surgeries has risen to its highest level since 2015, when the council began tracking the numbers.(1)

Refractive surgery is a method for improving vision for patients with nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism, or presbyopia. The most commonly performed refractive surgery is LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) during which the cornea is reshaped by a laser. In other procedures, a new lens is implanted in the eye.(2)

The stay-at-home orders of 2020 perhaps provided people increased time to research vision correction and look into options, particular surgeons, and cost, suggests the Refractive Surgery Council. Word-of-mouth referrals from patients who have had a positive experience also plays a role in the increase.(1)

A large eye center in Texas saw the volume of refractive surgeries up 175% in June 2021 and 160% in July 2021, compared with 2019 figures, according to Ocular Surgery News. Surveys from patients indicate that increased work flexibility has motivated people to pursue surgery as they have more availability for consultations and appointments. The annoyance of wearing glasses with a mask was another frequently stated reason. For some patients, the difficulty of wearing hearing aids, glasses, and a mask, motivated them to have their vision corrected.(3)

Typically, there are approximately 800,000 procedures performed each year in the U.S., reports the American Academy of Ophthalmology.(4)

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(1) Ophthalmology Times, Laser Vision Correction Procedures Soar in Wake of COVID-19, https://www.ophthalmologytimes.com/

(2) American Academy of Ophthalmology, What is Refractive Surgery, https://www.aao.org/

(3) Linnihan, R., Healio Ophthalmology, Ocular Surgery News, Refractive Surgery on the Rise During COVID Pandemic, https://www.healio.com/

(4) American Academy of Ophthalmology, Eye Heath Statistics, https://www.aao.org/