Do your glasses or contact lenses hold you back from reaching your best athletic performance? Then LASIK eye surgery might help.
Many athletes have visual impairments, but you’ll hardly ever see a pro wearing glasses. That’s because, although a few big names like Cristiano Ronaldo and Novak Djokovic wear contacts, the poor vision has a negative impact on athletic performance.
For those players who want to elevate their play, then, the best option is often LASIK eye surgery.
Before you decide to get under the laser, though, here’s what you need to know.
How Does Vision Shapes Performance?
The primary reason that athletes, no matter their level, choose to pursue LASIK is that the vast majority of popular sports rely heavily on visual acuity for players to be successful.
After all, if you can’t see the ball, the goal, or other players clearly, you’re going to have a hard time playing well.
It’s not just precision that matters in most sports, though; athletes also need high contrast sensitivity.
Though some types of glasses can increase contrast sensitivity, the wrong lenses for the sport can diminish it.
Golfers, for example, have begun to shift from grey-green glasses to violet ones because the violet lenses provide better visual cues when gauging distance.
Skiers, on the other hand, tend to prefer yellow-tinted glasses because of the improved contrast when looking at snow.
LASIK Versus Contacts
If certain tinted lenses actually provide benefits, what do athletes stand to gain by opting for LASIK? The simplest answer focuses on convenience.
Glasses – even athletic goggles – can be dangerous when playing contact sports and have a tendency to fog and smudge, impairing players’ vision.
Contacts can fall out, tear, or easily become irritated by sweat, wind, or pollen.
With LASIK, athletes are assured of perfect vision at all times, including peripheral vision, which glasses tend to compromise.
In addition to general irritation, athletes who regularly wear contacts have a higher risk of infection. That’s because contacts block the proper flow of oxygen to the eye, trapping bacteria on the surface.
LASIK, on the other hand, is designed to maintain long-term eye health. Even contacts designed for a longer period of wear can’t provide that assurance.
The best news about LASIK is that it will only keep you on the sidelines for about a week after the procedure – the recovery time is quite short. But be sure to discuss your athletic activities with your doctor before your procedure.
Depending upon your sport of choice, other types of corrective laser surgery, such as PRK, may be a better choice.
Alternatives For Vision Health
With LASIK or contacts, you still have the option of wearing sunglasses, including tinted sunglasses, to improve your performance.
But it’s also important to consider eye safety when deciding how to manage your vision health. Athletes who play contact sports, for example, will need customized prescription goggles if they would ordinarily wear glasses.
You rarely see these on adults, who either wear contacts or get LASIK, but children often wear prescription goggles so that they don’t break their glasses.
Sports goggles are also made from high-impact materials, as traditional glasses can break, potentially even sending shards of glass into the eye.
Finally, it’s worth noting that safety goggles are a good choice for all athletes, no matter their medical history.
Proper safety goggles can prevent damage to the eye or surrounding socket, which could otherwise cause lifelong damage.
LASIK will correct your vision and may even help you avoid some accidents on the field, but you can’t prevent all sports injuries. In other words, don’t retire those goggles just yet.
LASIK is a great option for adult athletes who are no longer experiencing vision changes, and it can reduce a lot of the distractions that come with wearing glasses or contacts.
No one wants to push their glasses up every few seconds while trying to focus on a play or worry that their contact lenses are going to fall out while running sprints.
Sports are supposed to be fun and a way to relieve stress, and LASIK can help.