Are Athletes Unsuitable Candidates For LASIK?
LASIK can be a convenient option for people who are tired of glasses or contacts. It can also be enormously beneficial for those who engage in activities that make glasses and contacts not only inconvenient but impractical as well. Glasses are not suitable for aggressive contact sports like hockey or football, and contacts can be uncomfortable especially due to sweat or dirt that may get in the eyes. As a result, LASIK seems like it would be the most convenient option for athletes. But is that entirely true?
Does An Athletic Career Automatically Disqualify You From LASIK?
Playing sports regularly does not preclude anybody from getting LASIK, but it does introduce a new host of considerations a person should make before deciding to undergo laser eye surgery. If you undergo LASIK you can return to work within a week, but for several weeks to a couple of months after your operation, it is important to play it safe and avoid activities that could result in direct trauma to the eye. The cornea needs time to heal from the incision, so it is vital to protect it from injury or infection.
For athletes who participate in contact sports, especially professionally, an extended break from game play can be a challenge. Those who play less aggressive sports like soccer or basketball have a decreased chance of sustaining an injury, but they are still not completely in the clear. Specific risks include injury to the corneal flap or strain on the eye due to REM (rapid eye movement) during games. None of these things make it impossible for an athlete to get LASIK. This just means that they will need to dedicate more time to their recovery. While most people can return to work after LASIK relatively quickly, athletes are recommended to take more time off to let their eyes safely heal.
So Should I Get LASIK If I’m An Athlete?
It’s not a question of whether you should get LASIK as an athlete. In fact, that is mostly irrelevant to your situation aside from extra care when you are recovering. The only way to know for certain whether you qualify for LASIK is to sit down with an ophthalmologist like one of our Inland eye specialists in Murrieta or Temecula and participate in a consultation that will determine whether you are a suitable candidate for the procedure.
There are factors that make people unsuitable candidates for LASIK, like refractive instability. This refers to people who experience frequent changes to their prescription. People with preexisting medical conditions that make healing difficult, like an autoimmune disease, are also unsuitable candidates for LASIK. Finally, you must be over the age of 18 in order to get LASIK. But simply being an athlete does not immediately disqualify you.
A dedicated eye specialist at Inland Eye at our Murrieta or Temecula locations can sit down with you to determine what’s best for your eye health. While it’s important to be cautious, especially when it comes to your vision, uneducated fear is not a good strategy for making decisions. This is why talking to an eye care professional can help you make an informed choice about LASIK. We at Inland Eye are happy to guide you through that process and help you take the best action for your eyes and quality of life.