LASIK surgery is one of the most popular and widely performed corrective vision procedures today. Though proven safe and effective for correcting vision problems such as- astigmatism, myopia, and hyperopia, it is not for everyone.
Of all people who would appear to be the perfect candidates for LASIK surgery, as well as those who need it most, would be athletes. Whether you participate in sports for leisure, for living a healthy lifestyle, or as a professional athlete- though LASIK would seem ideal, there are various options that must first be taken into consideration before you decide to have the surgery.
Athletes Having LASIK
Truth is, thousands of athletes, professional and non-professional, have LASIK surgery performed every year. For example, many athletes, like 2016’s NBA Championship MVP LeBron James, have actually experienced successful results from having LASIK surgery. What makes LASIK so appealing to athletes is the fact that they can be free from having to wear bothersome sport goggles and flimsy contact lenses when they are playing. However, not every sport is created equal. When it comes to contact sports like wrestling, hockey, football, and boxing, the risk of eye injury is always much greater. Damage to the cornea, as well as dirt, dust, and sweat getting on the cornea and causing irritation, are also important risks that every athlete must seriously take into consideration. These types of injuries, along with some athlete who may choose not stay away from their sport long enough to heal and recover after LASIK surgery, are all at some variation of risk of injury that could exacerbate vision after having the surgery.
Not only do athletes expose their bodies to various environmental elements, high physical exertion, and pressures, but the one constant that is common with every sport is vision. When athletes are engaged in sports, their eyes are working extra hard to keep a sharp lookout on what’s going on in the game. In fact, many athletes experience REM- rapid eye movement, when they are playing sports. These constant movements and shifts in the eyes, can quickly put strain on the eyes, as well as, increase injury and infections.
A major concern after LASIK surgery is damage to the corneal flap as the eyes are healing. During LASIK the corneal flaps assist the laser in helping reshape the cornea. For athletes who don’t give themselves enough time away from their sport to fully recover after surgery, when and if eye injuries are sustained, the risk of the corneal flap re-opening and becoming infected or damaged is high.
Overall, athletes who are generally healthy and don’t participate in heavy contact sports, could make great candidates for LASIK surgery. Sports like golf, biking, and soccer are considered low-risk injury sports, and doctors may recommend LASIK as a benefit to their performance. Yet, ultimately, it is important to first check with your eye doctor to determine if the surgery will help you. It is equally important that all athletes give themselves a minimum of 2 full weeks’ time to recover and heal from surgery before returning to their sport. Although, some doctors will recommend longer recovery periods, depending on the sport and the patient. So follow your Houston eye doctor orders during the healing process.