Can I Undergo LASIK If I Play Contact Sports?
By Andrew E Holzman, MD FACS on May 12, 2015
LASIK (laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) has become one of the most popular elective procedures in the world. This quick, minimal discomfort surgery can dramatically improve your vision for years, if not the rest of your life. Like many patients, you may not even need glasses or contacts after your treatment. If you play contact sports, you may be worried about your candidacy for LASIK. In most cases, you will not only qualify for the procedure; it can actually enhance your athletic performance. Nevertheless, it is important to exercise caution following LASIK surgery. Additionally, if you play an extremely high-contact sport, Dr. Andrew Holzman can recommend an alternative procedure that may be more suited to your needs. To learn more about LASIK and contact lenses, contact our Washington, DC practice today.
What Is LASIK?
If you suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, LASIK can be an effective way to improve your eyesight. These vision abnormalities occur because your eye cannot properly refract light. During LASIK, Dr. Holzman will create a flap in the surface of your cornea. He uses the revolutionary IntraLase® blade-free system. With this method, he will create the corneal flap using a precise, computer-guided surgical laser.
After creating the flap, he will use a second laser to reshape your cornea, removing tiny amounts of tissue, as needed. This enables Dr. Holzman to correct the refraction of light through your eye. After your surgery, light will typically focus correctly in the center of your retina.
LASIK Can Improve Your Athletic Performance
If you currently wear glasses or contacts, you know that your corrective lenses can significantly impact your game. Glasses can be broken or slip out of place. With some contact sports, it is virtually impossible to wear glasses. Though contacts are typically more convenient, they can cause problems, too. Dust and other irritants can get trapped behind the lenses, impairing your vision and irritating your eyes.
In part, LASIK is popular because of the consistently good results. Most patients can achieve 20/25 vision after their procedure, and many enjoy 20/20 vision or better. Therefore, you will probably not rely on glasses or contacts to see clearly. You may still need corrective lenses for reading and similar activities. However, you will probably be able to play sports without them. In turn, you can focus more on the game, and you may find that your athletic ability improves markedly.
Protecting Your Eyes during Practice and Games
Although LASIK can be a great choice, it is important to protect your eyes after your surgery. You may need to take several weeks off from practice and games for recovery. If you get back into the game too soon, the corneal flap could move out of position. Irritants could also get in your eyes, increasing your risk of infection and discomfort. For best results, you should wait one or two days before you resume running and cardio activities. You can typically get back to your normal contact sports within a week, although you should wear protective goggles during the initial recovery time. When you follow Dr. Holzman’s instructions, you can enjoy outstanding results, faster healing, and a better athletic performance.
Alternatives to LASIK
For most sportsmen and women, LASIK is a great option. However, if you are a professional athlete or if you play a highly aggressive sport, like boxing or martial arts, you may want to consider PRK (photorefractive keratectomy). This procedure is similar to LASIK. However, Dr. Holzman will not create a corneal flap. Instead, he will completely remove the top layer of tissue. Healing time from PRK is longer than from LASIK. However, you will not face any risks of corneal flap complications in the future.
Find Out if LASIK Is Right for You
At your initial consultation, Dr. Holzman will discuss your various surgical options and help you choose the right one for your needs. Contact our office today to learn more about LASIK and how it can improve your game.