Market Scope: Refractive Surgery to Grow 9.6% a Year Through 2025, Despite COVID-19

Source: Market Scope

Expanding use of products to treat refractive error will increase the role of devices and surgical procedures in the refractive landscape, according to a new Market Scope report. Globally, over 2.3 billion people require vision correction and have access to ophthalmic care.

Global demand for refractive surgical procedures (laser refractive surgery, presbyopia-correcting surgery, RLE, and phakic IOL implantation) is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 9.6 percent from 2020 to 2025, with annual surgical volume increasing from 3.6 million to 5.8 million procedures.

While the impact of COVID-19 has significantly reduced the number of refractive procedures, protective masks have become a new driver for demand. Glasses fogging, facial hygiene, and dry eye are new concerns among potential refractive patients.

Still, Market Scope forecasts sharp declines in 2020 and stable growth in demand going forward based on continuing economic improvement, especially in emerging markets, and rising rates of myopia in developed nations.

Market Scope forecasts total refractive procedures to decline 17.3 percent in 2020 when compared with its pre-COVID-19 forecast. Market Scope expects procedures to bounce back in 2021, but the firm does not anticipate that volumes will fully return to pre-pandemic estimates until mid-2022, although this will vary by region. Healthy growth in phakic IOLs and lenticular extraction procedures in spite of the pandemic slightly offset the decline in 2020.

The firm projects that China will be the largest and fastest-growing market in total procedure volume in 2020, growing at a CAGR of 14.9 percent from 2020 to 2025.

Market Scope saw continuing change in 2020 in the refractive procedure mix as refractive lens exchange (RLE) procedures and use of STAAR Surgical’s Visian ICL phakic lens continued to experience strong growth. Carl Zeiss Meditec has gained a significant market share of procedure volume with its small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) procedure. Schwind will now be competing in this space, as the firm gained CE marking for its ATOS femtosecond laser in July 2020.

Drops for treating presbyopia are in various stages of development, but none is commercialized, so we have yet to see what impact this segment will have on the market. However, the idea of a non-invasive treatment is likely to appeal to patients, and, depending on comfort and ease of use, could have a big impact on a market segment that has been notoriously hard to penetrate. Key opinion leaders in the space generally conclude that this will be a cash-pay treatment. A Market Scope poll of surgeons in October 2020 indicated that about a third of respondents were interested in drops that treat presbyopia via temporary pupil constriction.

Key manufacturers in the refractive market include Alcon, Carl Zeiss Meditec, Johnson & Johnson Vision, and Ziemer. Market Scope forecasts that the global refractive surgical industry will generate $10.3 billion in total patient fees in 2025—up from $6.5 billion in 2019—for a compound growth rate of 9.5 percent. The firm estimates revenue at the manufacturer level to reach $2.2 billion by 2025, up 12.2 percent from over $1.2 billion in pandemic-impacted 2020.

Market Scope’s “2020 Refractive Surgery Market Report,” published in December, includes detailed estimates and forecasts for the market by segment and region from 2019 to 2025. This 285-page report also includes an analysis of products, business models, and demographics that drive the refractive surgical business.



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