The Growth of Laser Eye Surgery
Just a few years ago, the outlook for Laser Eye Surgery seemed somewhat bleak.
Consumer watchdog Which? had published a report that highlighted deep and widespread problems among clinics, from insufficient advice and hot-air promises to deceiving prices and unrealistic claims.
But the report was fair and comprehensive. And whereas it revealed that this may be the case for some Laser Eye Surgery clinics, it also showed it wasn’t a reflection of the many other private and independent clinics that do fair and honourable work.
So, rather than being put off the idea of surgery, people instead took heed and became better informed. And as a result, Laser Eye Surgery — thankfully for the thousands who work in the industry and the millions who can benefit from the treatment — has only grown bigger and stronger.
A new report (this time not by Which?) has revealed just how much the industry is booming. The Global LASIK Eye Surgery Market Research Report shows that the market is set to continue its astonishing growth year on year until at least 2022. It also looks at what exactly is driving all the growth.
Who’s having all the Laser Eye Surgery?
Today, all types of people of all ages have Laser Eye Surgery — for all sorts of reasons. It’s true that Laser Eye Surgery cannot treat people of a certain age and prescription, but with advancing technology and expertise, these boundaries are becoming ever more debatable.
The types of people having Laser Eye Surgery often range from a 21-year-old athlete having ReLEx SMILE so they don’t have to wear contacts when training and competing, to a 70-year-old grandmother having Laser Blended Vision to help her read bedtime stories to her grandchildren without difficulty. This being said, there is no upper age limit but patients cannot be younger than 18-years-old.
With a higher number of Laser Eye Surgery clinics than probably anywhere else in the world, LASIK is by far most common in North America. The UK, however, with its Laser Eye Surgery hub Harley Street, performs an impressive amount of treatments for its size — hundreds of thousands every year. Out of anywhere, though, in the coming years, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to see the fastest growth.
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Why are people having Laser Eye Surgery?
Since researchers first started recording instances of myopia in the 50s, the prevalence of the refractive error has increased at an astonishing rate. And today, it’s still increasing — estimates predict that a third of the world’s population will suffer from myopia, also known as shortsightedness, by 2020.
It’s no surprise, then, that more people are having Laser Eye Surgery to treat myopia than ever before. But the popularity of the treatment isn’t just because eyesight has become worse and everyone now spends most their time staring at their phones, it’s also because Laser Eye Surgery has become much, much better.
One of the major reasons for this is recent innovations in technology. Technology plays a part in all stages of Laser Eye Surgery, and so the treatment is always improving — especially during the screening and assessment stage.
The assessment stage of Laser Eye Surgery is often claimed to be the most important part of the treatment. This is because the greater detail in which a clinic can measure and understand your eyes, the lower the risk and the greater the results.
Today, surgeons use technology such as a wavefront aberrometer to map the tiny, unique imperfections in the way your eye focuses light; the Artemis, the world’s most accurate corneal scanner, to map the individual layers of corneal tissue to the nearest micron (1,000th of a millimetre); and the MEL90 laser, with its pioneering semi-automatic delivery and ultra-fast response time to track the eye with unrivalled speed and accuracy.
All this means that, in 2018, Laser Eye Surgery is quick, safe, and effective. Over thirty million people around the world have already been successfully relieved of their refractive errors, and with the way things are going, the treatment is only going to get even better and become more popular.