Building Trust, Delivering Value Keys to Refractive Surgery Growth

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For the third year in a row there has been considerable growth in the refractive surgery space, according to an article in Ophthalmology Management. Greg Parkhurst, MD, FACS, outlines five ways the specialty has grown:

  • increased educational opportunities;
  • increased collaboration among refractive surgeons;
  • changed financial model for refractive surgery;
  • increased patient outreach; and
  • reformed capital equipment.

Dr. Parkhurst notes that the increase in private fellowships with the sole focus on refractive surgery leads to more educational opportunities. Students interested in refractive surgery have often not received enough exposure to the field. New refractive surgery fellowships now require participants to perform a wide range of refractive surgery procedures rather than only assisting or observing several keratorefractive surgeries.

Increasing collaboration among refractive surgeons is also important for growth. Although competition among providers may be more common in a fixed market, because refractive surgery is currently in a growth market, highlighting the benefits of procedures is more beneficial than highlighting specific surgeons. Tied to this market growth is changing the financial model in which patients can pay for refractive surgery. Implementing patient financing allows more young patients to access procedures without large upfront costs. This change will hopefully result in refractive surgery being the default solution for refractive error.

Dr. Parkhurst adds that patient outreach is needed for further market expansion, specifically for patients who have had complications from refractive surgery, claiming that free consultations should be offered for procedures that may help these complications.

In addition, a reform in capital equipment will change the market landscape. Changing to a monthly lease fee with unlimited upgrades and use rather than a model with click fees allows more patients access to better technology.

These five initiatives and areas of growth provide trust and value to patients.


Parkhurst G. Initiatives to grow the refractive surgery market. Ophthalmology Management. 23(5): 2019:54-59.

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