Vot­ers’ ver­dict a real eye- opener

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Laser Eye Surgery -

IT prob­a­bly comes as no sur­prise, but fix­ing our vi­sion is the most com­mon sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure most Aus­tralians would choose if given a choice, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent Newspoll sur­vey.

Com­mis­sioned by Ad­vanced Med­i­cal Op­tics, the sur­vey un­veiled the revo­lu­tion­ary idea that many of us would pre­fer to see the world rather than have a breast en­hance­ment op­er­a­tion.

Ul­ti­mately, the sur­vey was de­signed to re­veal the one long- term sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure Aus­tralians would make to their body to im­prove their qual­ity of life. That an­swer, by just un­der one- in­five adults, was laser eye surgery.

In fact, one in four men and one in five women said the sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure they would have to im­prove their qual­ity of life is laser eye surgery.

More­over, by util­is­ing laser eye surgery to fix our vi­sion, we would be join­ing high- profile Aus­tralian celebri­ties such as Ni­cole Kid­man and for­mer Wal­laby Stephen Larkham.

In­ter­est­ingly, the top four pro­ce­dures cho­sen were: laser eye surgery ( 23 per cent); li­po­suc­tion ( 10 per cent); a tummy tuck ( seven per cent) and a breast/ chest en­hance­ment ( five per cent).

Only one in two Aus­tralians said they would choose a sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure to in­crease their qual­ity of life and nearly half of those chose laser eye surgery.

The main rea­son peo­ple chose laser eye surgery was to en­hance body func­tion or per­for­mance ( 55 per cent) while the main rea­son for choos­ing the other sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures was to im­prove ap­pear­ance ( 40 per cent).

Aus­tralians with pre- ex­ist­ing vi­sion prob­lems were more likely to say they would have laser eye surgery to im­prove their qual­ity of life, com­pared with the rest of the pop­u­la­tion.

Among those who wear glasses or con­tact lenses, younger peo­ple ( aged 18- 49) were more likely to choose laser eye surgery, com­pared with those aged 50- plus ( 38 per cent and 24 per cent re­spec­tively). What this all adds up to is a rather large po­ten­tial mar­ket for laser eye surgery prac­ti­tion­ers.

As the for­mer Prime Min­is­ter and Trea­surer of Aus­tralia, Paul Keat­ing, once said: ‘‘ It’s a beau­ti­ful set of num­bers.’’

This is es­pe­cially so if you take into ac­count 62 per cent of Aus­tralians say they wear glasses or con­tact lenses to im­prove their vi­sion.

Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey, one third of the pop­u­la­tion say they wear glasses or con­tact lenses all or most of the time; nine out of 10 peo­ple aged 50- plus say they wear glasses or con­tact lenses and half of th­ese wear them all or most of the time.

The sur­vey found one third of glasses and con­tact lens wear­ers said they would be in­ter­ested in hav­ing laser eye surgery to im­prove their vi­sion with males slightly more likely to be in­ter­ested in hav­ing laser eye surgery. More­over, of this group, peo­ple aged be­tween 18- 49 ( 35 per cent) are more likely to be in­ter­ested in hav­ing laser eye surgery.

A cou­ple of key rea­sons for hav­ing the surgery were qual­ity of life and the con­ve­nience of be­ing able to shed glasses or con­tact lenses.

In­ter­est­ingly, only one in 10 sur­vey re­spon­dents listed im­prov­ing their ap­pear­ance or self- es­teem as rea­sons for hav­ing laser eye surgery.

Con­versely, there are many who choose not to have laser eye surgery be­cause they worry about an un­favourable out­come or the safety of the pro­ce­dure. Around 41 per cent of th­ese peo­ple also had con­cerns over the safety as­pects, while around 27 per cent said they are wait­ing on bet­ter tech­nol­ogy.

Fewer are con­cerned about the pain and re­cov­ery time of the pro­ce­dure ( around 12 per cent) than those who feel they can’t af­ford the pro­ce­dure which was close to half of those sur­veyed.

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