Purpose: To assess interest among members of the general public in laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery and how levels of interest in this procedure have changed over time in the United States and other countries.
Methods: Using the Google Trends Web site, we determined the weekly frequency of queries involving the term “LASIK” from January 1, 2007, through January 1, 2011, in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and India. We fit separate regression models for each of the countries to assess whether residents of these countries differed in their querying rates on specific dates and over time. Similar analyses were performed to compare 4 US states. Additional regression models compared general public interest in LASIK surgery before and after the release of a 2008 Food and Drug Administration report describing complaints associated with this procedure.
Results: During 2007 to 2011, the Google query rate for “LASIK” was highest among persons residing in India, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. During this time period, the query rate declined by 40% in the United States, 24% in India, and 22% in the United Kingdom, and it increased by 8% in Canada. In all 4 of the US states examined, the query rate declined—by 52% in Florida, 56% in New York, 54% in Texas, and 42% in California. Interest in LASIK declined further among US citizens after the Food and Drug Administration report release.
Conclusions: Interest among the general public in LASIK surgery has been waning in recent years.