As the worldwide pandemic starts to subside, Euroeyes Group have witnessed an increase in refractive surgery volume. Our clinic group had an unexpected surge in laser and lens refractive surgery throughout the coronavirus pandemic. We saw a much better 2020 refractive surgical volume than previous years, even though we were shut down for several weeks.
It appears that 2021 is continuing along these lines. Euroeyes was not alone, as the American Refractive Surgery Council reported there has been more than 20% growth in quarterly refractive procedure as measured from Q4 2019 to Q4 2020. The Euroeyes Group have seen continued growth in 2021 as Q1 volumes are up more than 30% from Q1 2020 pre-pandemic volumes. The pandemic hurt many service-based industries (like restaurants, hotels and airlines). However, the pandemic helped other industries grow; thankfully, refractive surgery was one of those beneficiaries.
Traditionally concerns agains refractive surgery
Traditionally, there are main hurdles for patients to surpass when considering refractive surgery.
a) finances. In regard to financial considerations, the pandemic likely allowed refractive surgery to be reconsidered. Because many discretionary expense patterns changed, individuals had newfound disposable income to invest — many had vacations canceled, summer camps canceled, restaurant dining expenses ceased, shopping patterns changed. All of this allowed patients to shift their spending patterns and many turned to refractive surgery.
Another hurdle we often observe with refractive surgery is b) finding time to perform and recover following the surgical procedure. Often the most motivated patients, eager for the benefits of spectacle independence, have the busiest lifestyles. With many businesses physically shut down and employees working from home, individuals had additional time on their hands, allowing them to schedule refractive surgery without worry of jobs or the healing time interfering wrth a previously busy lifestyle.
New factors also emerged during the pandemic to help drive refractive surgery. Many living in quarantine gained a new desire to become less dependent on eyeglasses and contact lenses; as society began wearing masks for almost all social activities, it became clear that eyeglasses were a and dry eyes hinderance to functional day-to-day living. Fogging glasses became a real problem for most spectacle wearers, which gave a new reason to consider alternatives. Traditionally, contact lenses would often be a go-to alternative, but the awareness of microbes and how disease is transmitted gave individuals new considerations in the potential risks of contact lenses.
Another motivating factor was greater awareness of personal appearance as video conference calling became a norm of social and business interaction. Now on a daily basis, individuals were “watching” themselves in a mirror image as they talked to friends and colleagues. This drove many to consider self-improvement with cosmetic surgery, and, along those lines, eliminating spectacles secondary to appearance reasons was escalated.
“Life is short”
A final motivating factor has been patient’s re-consideration of priorities. As our own mortality has come into focus, consideration of what is important has driven many patients to seek self-improvement or lifestyle enhancement. The investment in Trifocal or Smile laser lasts a lifetime and results in a product that is used every waking moment of every day. This new priority for personal gain allows for a near perfect individual investment.