Eye surgery centers in 2026: 5 factors driving change

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The next few years will be pivotal for the survival of independent eye practices and surgery centers, as many are joining larger organizations and private equity groups.

Here are five trends in ophthalmology driving change.

1) Eye centers are reporting increased difficulty recruiting experienced ophthalmic technicians. Eye groups are also having trouble recruiting inexperienced people to train as ophthalmic technicians and highly skilled office staff who are suitably educated for and motivated to work in an in-office setting.

2) Eye groups can't purchase sophisticated emerging technologies that would enhance diagnostic and treatment capabilities due to declining reimbursement pressure. The professional services fees may continue to decrease while facility fees increase.

3) Patients are more willing to spend on premium lenses than in the years leading up to the pandemic, and there are more high-quality options of premium lenses available to patients.

4) There will be increased specialization in ophthalmology as the ratio of physicians to patients continues to grow. Ophthalmologists may not see routine patients as often, but will increasingly depend on optometrists and ancillary staff while they focus on surgical cases.

5) Technology including new intraocular lenses, presbyopia-correcting lenses, dry eye therapies and cosmetic eye procedures are on the rise.

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