LASIK / LASEK and Soccer (and other sports)
- Posted on: Jun 18 2010
Soccer fans in Brooklyn, Queens, other areas of New York City, as well as in the world are enjoying watching soccer during World Cup 2010. With soccer appreciation in New York and around the world being at the all time high right now, some of my patients are starting to wonder about being active and playing sports after Laser Vision Correction surgery. Can I play sports, swim, participate in martial arts, or simply wrestle with my kids, they ask me. Is it safe for a soccer, football, baseball, basketball, or tennis player to undergo LASIK / LASEK or Epi-LASEK procedure?
Some of my patients active in sports wonder, does having Laser Vision Correction weaken the wall of the eye, and make the eye more susceptible to injury during sports? My answer to that is: that depends.
During traditional LASIK or I-LASIK the cornea is initially cut to create a flap, laser treatment is then carried out under that flap. Following the procedure the flap is placed back into its original place. The problem with this method is that although the surface cells of the flap do grow back, the actual flap itself never heals completely, so the wall of the eye is weaker than it was before the procedure, and flap can dislocate even months or years later. Most of the complication of traditional LASIK are related to the flap. Because of this, US military does not recommend traditional LASIK to its recruiters. But since, wearing glasses or contacts is dangerous in training or during combat, US government does encourage their recruiters to get Laser Vision Correction (US Army even pays for it). The procedure that army recruits get almost exclusively is LASEK.
LASEK is a modification of the older, tried and true, procedure called PRK. In LASEK, no flap is created, instead I use a special solution to weaken and remove a few superficial layers of cells from the surface of the cornea. The laser part of the procedure is the same as in LASIK: Excimer Laser is used to reshape the cornea to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. In LASEK there is no cut in the cornea at all, and all flap-related complications are eliminated! The cells that were removed during the procedure heal back within a few days and patient can enjoy beautiful clear vision without glasses or contacts.
Our practice is the only practice in Brooklyn and Queens area, and one of few in the entire NYC area, that specializes exclusively in non-cutting laser vision correction, LASEK. We believe, that any intervention and surgical procedure should be first of all safe in the long run! Since most of our vision correction patients are young and very active in sports, we switched from traditional LASIK to the safer non-cutting procedure, LASEK.
So to make the long answer short, enjoying sports activities, such as soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis, martial arts, and others is very safe after LASEK vision correction since there is no flap created and the eye stays strong and intact. Some of our patients report that they are actually better more confident players after LASEK, since they see better than before, and they are not worried about breaking there glasses or loosing or getting infection under their contacts.
You can learn more about laser refractive surgery by visiting Laser Vision correction page of our website, and scheduling your consultation with us. (Free consultations are available)
Enjoy watching the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa!
Julia Giyaur, MD
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