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Archive September 2014 XV, No. 9

The Surgeons' Lounge: Laser Cataracts

What Motivates Patients to Choose Laser Cataract Surgery?

Sandy Clingan Smith


— CONSUMER BEHAVIOR Lessons learned from 5,000 laser cataract procedures.

LASER CATARACTS What Motivates Patients to Choose Laser Cataract Surgery?

What motivates patients to have laser cataract surgery, and how do they feel about it afterward? To get insight into the patient experience, we hired a research firm to interview almost 600 cataract surgery patients who’d recently had surgery at one of our laser cataract surgery centers. Here’s what we learned:

  • Word of mouth information is important to patients. When considering cataract surgery, patients were more likely to get information from their optometrist (36%) and family/friends/co-workers (31%) than their ophthalmologist (24%).
  • But the surgeon is critical to the laser cataract surgery decision. Of those aware that laser cataract surgery is an option (71%), most of them (56%) had heard about it from their ophthalmologist. Those who chose laser cataract surgery did it because their doctor recommended it (27%) or they expected to get better vision (20%) or it was less invasive (20%). Of those who did not choose laser cataract surgery, the primary reason (30%) was that the doctor did not recommend it.
  • Cost is not an insurmountable barrier. Despite the upcharge for laser surgery, 53% said it was an “excellent” value and 18% reported “very good” value. Only 2% said it was a “poor” value. Of those that chose not to have laser cataract surgery, only 20% of these patients cited cost as the reason.
  • A satisfied group. Laser cataract patients tend to be happy with their experience, which should generate good word of mouth among seniors. Three-fourths of laser cataract surgery patients reported they would definitely recommend the surgery to a friend or relative. The biggest reason cited was that the results were better than expected (26%). They reported being slightly more satisfied with the surgery center and more likely than traditional cataract surgery patients to recommend cataract surgery to a friend or relative.

— Sandy Clingan Smith

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