Ophthalmic surgery centers have been experiencing steady interest in LASIK since the U.S. economy re-opened last spring. This unexpected bright spot in the eye care industry is more than just a case of pent-up demand. Through the fall and into 2021, consumer interest in LASIK surgery shows no signs of waning. Understanding the why behind this trend is essential for practices who want to capitalize on it. We're seeing four reasons that LASIK is enjoying a burst in popularity—all of them related to COVID-19 and its effect on daily life.
Pandemic lockdowns in 2020 sent millions of workers home from the office for months on end, and many have not returned. Working from home has its frustrations, but for many people, it has led to one positive development: greater control over their workday routine. That flexibility makes it easier to schedule doctor appointments and procedures and set aside time for post-LASIK recovery.
Vision-Related Aggravations and Eye Fatigue
Masks are essential for reducing the spread of COVID-19, but they tend to be a source of aggravation for anyone with eyeglasses. Foggy lenses obstruct vision and can test the patience of even the most seasoned wearer of glasses. For some people, this annoyance has been the tipping point that led them to explore LASIK.
Contact lens wearers haven't been exempt from vision-related frustrations during the pandemic, either. Hours staring at computer screens, whether for work or recreation, can lead to dry eye and fatigue. The ability to chuck contact lenses for good became a tantalizing option.
Remember the early days of the pandemic, when public health experts admonished everyone to keep their hands away from their face? Suddenly we became hyper-aware of how difficult this advice is to follow, especially for people with glasses and contacts. Popping out a contact lens when grit gets under the surface, cleaning fingerprints (or mask-induced fog) from our eyeglasses … what's a vision-impaired person to do? For many, the answer is simple: get LASIK.
More Money to Spend on Elective Procedures
Millennials have been spared significant job losses compared to other age groups during the pandemic. For providers who offer LASIK surgery, this is an advantage since millennials are good clinical candidates for refractive surgery due to their age.
With incomes more or less intact, millennials (and others) faced a realization: options for spending discretionary funds were severely limited. With many of us working from home, household expenses went down, too. Suddenly, LASIK seemed more doable from a financial standpoint.
Many households received a bump in income from government stimulus checks. Those checks put extra money in people's pockets, provided they didn't need it to cover significant lost wages.
Will the Trend Continue?
The economy and consumer confidence typically influence LASIK's popularity, and as the pandemic continues it's difficult to predict where those are headed. But as more people pursue refractive surgery and are happy with their experience, who knows? The good news just may continue through the pandemic—and beyond.
At CMG Health Marketing, we're always scanning the horizon for trends and opportunities healthcare marketers face. Call us today to learn how we can help you anticipate what's next.