If you are a reader of this blog, I believe it is safe to assume that you enjoy exercising or playing sport to some degree. If you have problems with your vision and currently wear glasses or contact lenses then no doubt you must have at least considered having laser eye surgery. The aim of this article is to address the considerations surrounding sport and laser eye surgery and how quickly you can return to playing sport post-eye surgery.
Eye laser surgery corrects your vision by reshaping the surface of your cornea, which is the very outer layer of your eye. There are 2 main types of laser eye surgery and they are Lasik and Lasek (also known as PRK, which is short for PhotoRefractive Keratectomy), and your surgeon is likely to recommend one over the other depending on which type of sports your take part in.
Below is a May 10, 2010 video of me explaining my PRK procedure and the amount of time it took me to return to exercising. I am extremely happy to say that, fast forward to today January 30, 2012 (less than 2 years after the procedure), I now have a 20/15 vision, which is much better than a 20/20! So I definitely encourage anyone looking to undergo Lasik or Lasek, to seriously put some thought into it. It is worth it.
May 10, 2010 (4 Days Post my Lasek Surgery)
During a laser eye surgery consultation your surgeon is likely to ask you what sports you participate in and will recommend either Lasik or Lasek accordingly. If you participate in any form of contact sports such as football or martial arts, then your surgeon will insist that you undertake Lasek as opposed to Lasik. The reason for this is that during the Lasek procedure no corneal flap is created which is how the procedure differs from Lasik. During Lasik however, the surgeon first cuts a very thin layer of cornea (a flap) and then gently lifts it away from the eye so that the inner layers can be lasered. This flap is then replaced back and smoothed over but it does result in the cornea being weaker for at least 12 months following surgery. If you are involved in contact sports as mentioned above there is the risk of dislodging the flap which is a serious complication of laser eye surgery. During Lasek however the laser is applied to the very outer surface of the cornea and therefore no flap is created.
The problem however with Lasek is that the healing time is considerably longer when compared with Lasik and people can need up to 1 week off following surgery. On the contrary, most people can return to work and normal activities within 24 hours following Lasik, which is why it is by far the more popular procedure. If you play non-contact sports such as general exercising, running, tennis etc. then there is no reason not to have Lasik surgery as there is no risk of damaging the flap when playing these sports.
Regardless of which procedure you choose it is still advisable to wait around one month until you start playing sport after surgery. This is however at the discretion of your surgeon and you may be allowed to start jogging/running as soon as 2 weeks after surgery providing your eyes have healed as they should do. The best thing to do is to book in for laser eye surgery consultation and discuss your individual situation with your surgeon. They will then recommend either Lasik or Lasik dependent on your lifestyle and expectations.
About the Author: This article was provided by guest Optometrist Tim Harwood who specializes in both Lasik and Lasek eye surgery. Tim is a great believer in fully researching all aspects of the procedure before you agree to go ahead and have the treatment. For more information on laser eye surgery you can visit www.treatmentsaver.com