The Refractive Surgery Council (RSC), which helps consumers make informed choices about their vision correction options, reported a strong start to 2021 with a nearly 30 percent rise in laser vision correction (LVC) procedures year over year. More than 220,000 LASIK, SMILE and PRK procedures have been performed so far this year reflecting demand fueled by a renewed consumer focus on self-care and safety.
“The continued surge in procedure volume confirms what we have been hearing from refractive surgeons across the country. With the pandemic bringing eye health into focus, it’s clear consumers are electing to prioritize the investment in their vision,” RSC Chairman Jim Wachtman said in a news release.
Pandemic-related vision issues included pervasive complaints of foggy glasses while wearing face masks, stern public health warnings to not touch one’s face or eyes to prevent COVID-19 transmission, and a high prevalence of digital eye strain and dry eye from remote working and learning.
“Last year’s stay-at-home orders likely gave people more time to think about and go online to research their vision correction, which affects more than 190 million Americans,” said Mr. Wachtman. “Across our own patient education channels, we saw a significant increase–more than 20 percent–of users deeply exploring all facets of laser vision correction, including options, candidacy, finding the right surgeon and how to pay for the procedure.”
RSC establishes procedure volume based upon utilization of technologies from the industry’s leading manufacturers, providing a valuable and unique data reporting for the sector.
“For more than 30 years, laser vision correction has been shown to be a safe, effective option for people seeking treatment for nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Today there are many procedures to meet a wide range of lifestyle and vision needs for those who are good candidates and prefer not to wear glasses and contacts to see,” Gregory D. Parkhurst, MD, of Parkhurst NuVision, said in a news release. “Patients have had time to reconsider priorities during the pandemic and investing in themselves is at the top of the list.”