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COVID Pandemic Prompts Uptick In Lasik Surgery Procedures

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A surprising side effect of the COVID is showing up in eye doctor's offices.

Actually, it's a side effect of wearing masks, glasses and even too many Zoom meetings.

As CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez reports, it's Lasik surgery.

Too many hours of screen time can dry out your contact lenses, and wearing glasses along with that all-important mask can lead to foggy specs. That's what led to a Lasik eye surgery comeback.

One of the most common complaints eyeglass wearers have when wearing a mask is foggy lenses.


"It was beginning to get a little annoying. And there were times that I couldn't even see because of the fogging up. And so I decided to do something about it," said patient William Avelar.

Doing something about it led William to Dr. Jeffrey Dellorusso for Lasik eye surgery. After a record 2019, Lasik procedures went practically to zero at the start of the pandemic, but now the American Refractive Surgery Council, which tracks vision correcting surgery, says Lasik numbers are even greater than before.

"It's almost like people can assert control in a situation that they can't control, which is the pandemic, by sort of doing something positive," Dr. Dellorusso said. "I don't know, I almost think people just like taking something into their own hands, doing something that they wanted to do."

Plus no travel, little entertaining or dining out means some people have a little extra discretionary income, but the past president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology says there's a bigger reason.

"During COVID-19, there's been a loss of control and insecurity, patients feeling like they don't have control of their life," said Dr. Eric Donnenfeld of the Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island. "And in this very uncertain environment, one of the things you can do to feel better and take control of your environment is to have better vision."

Some patients have reported halos, glare or dry eyes after Lasik, but several FDA mandated studies found less than 1% of patients said those issues caused them a lot of difficulty, and patient satisfaction was greater than 95%.

Full disclosure: Dr. Dellorusso did Dr. Max's Lasik some years ago. His eyes did get dry for a while, but eyedrops eased the discomfort.

Click here to learn more or contact Dr. Dellorusso's office.


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