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LASIK as an Indicator of the State of the Economy

Laser Vision Correction providers in San Francisco and San Jose have been particularly affected by the downturn in the economy. Laser Vision Correction Procedures, such as LASIK, have decreased dramatically across the country and internationally as interested customers choose to delay the satisfaction of vision without glasses or contact lenses in order to purchase basic necessities. When money is tight, people tend to avoid cosmetic and elective surgeries. While LASIK can provide immediate satisfaction, it can also be delayed in order to respond to more pressing needs, such as housing and food. Additionally, during the housing boom, many people found that they could obtain the needed funds for LASIK by borrowing against the value of their home.

With the decrease in LASIK procedures being performed, there have been significant down-sizing and even closures in major chain providers of laser vision correction 24 LASIK Vision centers in the United States and Canada have closed. One location in San Francisco was unable to notify patients before closure and arriving patients were greeted with a sign informing them of the closure and referring them to a nearby clinic.

Other chain vision correction stores have had to close some offices and consolidate in order to remain operational. Some have decreased staff hours or reduced staff in order to decrease operating costs.

Despite the increased time availability of LASIK surgeons, there has not been a significant decrease in the price of LASIK surgery. With high operational costs and overhead, such as the expensive laser equipment and trained staff, it has been difficult to reduce the price without incurring a further loss. There are numerous specials advertised and low-cost providers still advertise low rates, although usually these result in extensive upselling to customers. Some studies have shown that despite the low advertised costs at some bargain LASIK providers, the end costs are usually very similar to the more reputable LASIK providers.

It is recommended that patients should select a LASIK surgeon and laser vision correction clinic based on experience, skill, and knowledge of the doctor and staff. Often optometrists and medical providers can recommend a good surgeon. It is also a good idea to meet with more than one surgeon and educate yourself on the available techniques and excimer laser systems in your area.