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New York Times: As Economy Slows, So Do Laser Eye Surgeries

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Call it the Lasik indicator. As the economic downturn forces consumers to cut back on discretionary spending, laser vision-correction surgeries have been falling — as they did during the last recession.

Although more than 800,000 Americans got Lasik surgery in 2007, a slight increase from 2006, the numbers started slumping along with the economy in the second half of last year. And industry analysts are now seeing a Lasik recession.

“We’re forecasting a 17 percent drop for 2008,” said David Harmon, president of Market Scope, an eye surgery market research house.

Mr. Harmon said that when first-quarter data become available next month, he expects it to show an even sharper decline in Lasik surgeries than in 2001, when the sour economy triggered a three-year slump in the laser procedures, which are typically not covered by insurance.

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