Like anyone without 20/20 vision, athletes must rely on corrective lenses, such as contact lenses or eyeglasses, to see clearly. Unfortunately for athletes, contacts and glasses can be a big nuisance and may even inhibit the athlete’s game.
In contact sports such as football, wearing glasses can be downright dangerous. And in many sports, eyeglasses can make wearing protective headgear or goggles uncomfortable or even impossible. Contact lenses, while a better option, aren’t always ideal, either. Dirt and sweat can cause irritation with contact lenses, and if the contact lens moves out of place or even falls out, an athlete’s precision vision can be immediately affected.
So what is the best vision option for athletes? LASIK eye surgery.
LASIK eye surgery is used to treat common vision problems caused by refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. LASIK provides stable vision and eliminates the need for athletes to wear contact lenses or eyeglasses while playing sports, which may even improve an athlete’s performance. Additionally, after LASIK, an athlete will no longer have to worry about breaking his or her eyeglasses or losing a contact lens on the field, court or in the swimming pool.
LASIK eye surgery is an outpatient procedure that requires little down time. Most people are able to return to normal activities the following day, once they’ve been examined at their one-day post-op appointment. Healing does, however, vary from one person to the next.
When it comes to playing sports, your eye doctor may ask you to wait a week or two before returning to your game to ensure that corneal flap created during the LASIK procedure can heal without damage. Contact with the eye after surgery may re-open or damage the flap or cause infection. Athletes who play contact sports are at the greatest risk of injury following LASIK surgery.
If you’re considering LASIK eye surgery, you aren’t alone. Many professional athletes have undergone the procedure with no negative impact on their performance. Some of the pro athletes who have had LASIK include: J.J. Henry, pro golfer from Fort Worth; Richard Hamilton, retired NBA player who led the Detroit Pistons to an NBA Championship; LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who had LASIK in 2007; and the list goes on.
You may notice that some athletes still wear protective goggles even after LASIK surgery. This is simply to protect their eyes from damage.