Global Demand for Refractive Surgery Growing After Economic Rebound in Major Markets

Source: Market Scope

Global demand for refractive surgery is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 5.2 percent from 2018 to 2023, with annual surgical volume increasing from 4.3 million to 5.5 million procedures, according to the latest Market Scope estimates. Demand for refractive surgery has continued to grow in several major markets in 2018, including the US, Japan, and some Western European countries.

Economic conditions have improved in major markets, but enhanced technology in glasses and contact lenses—along with a shift in visual demands due to the prevalence of digital devices—has dampened demand for refractive surgery in many wealthy nations. Market Scope forecasts modest growth in procedure demand going forward based on technological advancements, continuing economic improvement, and rising rates of myopia in developed nations.

Market Scope expects excimer laser revenues at the manufacturer level (including equipment sales, procedure fees, and maintenance) to grow at a compound rate of 3.2 percent over the next 5 years due to a slight uptick in procedure volume and replacement of older systems. Growth will be hindered by price competitiveness and a lack of new technology in this segment.

The firm forecasts that average fees for laser refractive surgery will remain relatively constant through 2023, due to increasing competition among laser centers, plus growth in demand in Asia and other emerging markets where laser refractive surgery is lower in price. They forecast that some of this decline will be offset by an increase in premium procedure share.

Market Scope expects the number of refractive surgeons and laser centers to grow in step with changes in demand. In some wealthy regions, the number of providers declined markedly during the global recession of 2008 to 2011; however, the rebounding economy and availability of new technology will spur surgeon interest. Overall, the firm looks for the number of laser centers worldwide to grow at a rate of 2.9 percent and the number of surgeons performing refractive surgery to grow at 1.7 percent over the next 5 years.

New developments in the presbyopia-correcting market segment include a narrowing of inlay competitors, with the closing of ReVision Optics, and several new entrants awaiting their shot at the surgical market. Additionally, topical presbyopia treatments are an area of hot interest, with several compounds in the development pipeline by market newcomers and industry veterans alike.

Market Scope’s 2018 Refractive Report, published in December, includes detailed estimates and forecasts of the market by segment and region from 2017 to 2023. The 276-page report also includes an analysis of products, business models, and demographics that drive the refractive surgical business.

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