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Are you an athlete having eye problems?

Published by Auckland Eye on Monday, 09 Apr 2018
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Laser Eye Surgery: Winning the Battle Against Poor Vision

Glasses and contacts are inconvenient for anyone, but even more so for athletes who play sports and don’t want to break their glasses or deal with the irritation caused when dirt or sweat interferes with contact lenses. If you are an athlete or avid sports lover with a vision issue, you may have noticed that your vision can fluctuate slightly during exercise when wearing contact lenses or your peripheral vision may be slightly distorted when you look out the edges of your glasses. Both of which are frustrating to deal with and can significantly reduce your ability to perform at your best. 

Given that an athlete’s vision is one of the most vital tools for their performance, dealing with glasses or contacts can cause distractions and potentially an expensive miss! Since visual tasks are of high importance to athletes, many athletes commonly seek to improve their vision with laser eye surgery. If you are an athlete or simply love physical activity and are considering laser eye surgery, we have compiled a list of some the most frequently asked questions you may have been wondering...

1. Are all athletes good candidates for laser eye surgery?
Yes and no. It all depends on the sport you play and whether you are a suitable candidate for LASIK or SMILE laser vision correction. LASIK involves the creation of a corneal flap which is placed back in position after surgery. Whilst it is highly unlikely, it needs to be considered that the flap can be dislodged during contact sports like football, kickboxing or basketball. This would require a very unlucky injury like a fingernail just in the wrong place, nevertheless it is a risk. Sports like tennis or running carry a lower risk of injury. SMILE laser vision technology does not require a corneal flap so is a preferred option for people who partake in high contact sports. It is also important to consider the timing of laser if you play professional sports because, depending on which laser vision procedure you have you need to allow anywhere from one-three weeks for full recovery, which some athletes are unable to take out from their busy career schedules.


Just like any other profession or occupation, all athletes need to meet the specific requirements to qualify for laser eye surgery. This means that firstly, the candidate needs to be over 20 years of age and must have had a stable prescription for over 12 months. Aside from having good general eye health, other factors that influence eligibility are the shape and thickness of the cornea and the dryness of the cornea.  During laser eye surgery the laser reshapes the cornea, therefore the patient's cornea must be thick enough to allow full correction of his/her prescription. To determine if you meet these requirements for laser eye surgery, you will need to book in for a free comprehensive initial assessment with our team to confirm your suitability. 

2. Should swimmers consider laser eye surgery?
Laser eye surgery can benefit swimmers tremendously, as they will be able to finally enjoy the freedom of clear vision and avoid painful irritation from wearing contact lenses in the water. Additionally they no longer have to worry about expensive prescription goggles. 
Fortunately, there are no long-term restrictions on swimming after laser eye surgery but for safety reasons it is important not to resume water-based activities for a week after laser. This includes pools, hot tubs, lakes, and oceans as they are all filled with bacteria. 

3. Do runners benefit from laser eye surgery? 
Laser eye surgery, in general, brings remarkable benefits for runners. Typically the recovery period after laser eye surgery is just a day or two and runners can resume their usual routines only a few days later. Post-laser runners no longer suffer from burning symptoms when sweat mixes with their contacts and don't need to worry about the hassle of breaking or losing glasses while on the run. 
 
Book in your initial assessment 
If you're considering laser eye surgery you are not alone. Professional athletes including NBA player Lebron James, boxer Mike Tyson and pro-golfer Tiger Woods just a few world-famous athletes who underwent laser eye surgery to up their A-game.  
To find out if you are a suitable candidate for laser eye surgery to eliminate your dependence on glasses and contact lenses, why not book yourself in for your initial comprehensive consultation with the specialised team at Auckland Eye? It's free! 

 

Categories: Laser

Auckland Eye - New Zealand Centre of Excellence for Eye Care