Global Demand for Refractive Surgery Growing as Economic Conditions Improve, Myopia Rises

September 21, 2016: By Market Scope

Global demand for refractive surgery (laser refractive surgery, presbyopia-correcting surgery, and phakic IOL implantation) is expected to grow at a compounded annual rate of 5.5 percent from 2016 to 2021, with annual procedure volume increasing from 3.8 million to 4.9 million.

Refractive procedure demand will increase in several major markets during 2016, including the US, Japan, and some Western European countries. As a result, global refractive procedures will see slight growth in 2016.

Economic conditions are getting better, but improvements in glasses and contact lenses, along with a shift in visual demands due to reliance on digital devices, have softened demand for refractive surgery in many wealthy nations. Today’s contact lenses are easier to wear, and glasses have become more fashion forward. Need for distance vision has decreased, as expanding use of mobile phones and tablets shifts visual demands to more intermediate ranges.

Beyond 2016, we forecast very modest growth in procedure demand based on continuing consumer economic improvement, especially in emerging markets, and rising rates of myopia in developed nations, as well as technological advancements in medical care.

Market Scope expects excimer laser revenues at the manufacturer level (including equipment sales, procedure fees, and maintenance) to show slight growth at a compounded rate of 1.9 percent over the next five years due to a slight uptick in procedure volume, interest in new technology, and replacement of older systems. The battle will continue for per-procedure fees based upon the US model, and we expect manufacturers to expand the practice of collecting these fees in markets outside of the US in return for advanced technology.

We look for femtosecond laser revenues to grow at a hefty compounded growth rate of 15.5 percent as the devices continue to increase in popularity and surgeons expand their use of Zeiss’ small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) procedure. It has secured crucial approvals in the US and Europe and is gaining in popularity in India and China.

These costlier femtosecond flap-making devices are used in approximately 55 percent of total LASIK procedures worldwide, and we expect this share to grow during the next five years, especially in markets outside the US. More significantly, the popularity of the SMILE procedure outside of the US and its recent FDA approval in the US are driving growth in femtosecond procedures and an increase in price of SMILE-enabled systems and per-procedure fees.

We forecast that average fees for laser refractive surgery will decline at a compounded rate of 0.2 percent due to increasing competition among laser centers and doctors, plus growth in demand in Asia and other emerging markets where laser refractive surgery is lower in price. We forecast that some of this decline will be offset by an increase in premium procedure share due to a higher share of femtosecond laser procedures, new advanced ablation patterns, and newer technology adoption.

We expect the number of refractive surgeons and laser centers to grow in step with changes in demand. Most of the growth is expected in China, India, and other emerging market areas. In some wealthy regions, the number of providers declined markedly during the global recession of 2008 to 2011, but we expect these markets to recover to some extent during the next five years. Overall, we look for the number of laser centers worldwide to grow at a compounded rate of 3.2 percent and the number of refractive surgeons to grow at 1.4 percent over the next five years.

Market Scope forecasts that the global refractive surgical industry will generate $7.6 billion in total patient fees in 2021—up from $5.9 billion in 2016—for a compounded growth rate of 5.3 percent. We expect revenues at the manufacturer level to grow from $803 million in 2016 to $1.2 billion in 2021 for a compounded growth rate of 8.8 percent.

Market Scope is pleased to announce the availability of its “2016 Refractive Surgery Report: A Global Market Analysis for 2015 to 2021.” The report is in its 20th edition. Click the following link: 2016 Refractive Surgery Reportto view a detailed description and table of contents for this report or call (314) 835-0600 for more information.

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