Why laser vision correction is a competitive option for athletes


Professional sport requires an indisputable level of skill, physical strength, endurance, and not to mention self-confidence and commitment. But the blindingly obvious attribute often overlooked (pardon the puns) is of course, good eyesight.

Sports enthusiasts who aren’t afforded the same clear eyesight as their competitors often become frustrated with the constant need to accommodate their glasses or contact lenses. Problems with vision can throw an unnecessary spanner in the works for many athletes, particularly when they’re already pushing to overcome the physical and mental challenges of competitive sport. Surfing, football, cricket, martial arts, soccer, golf, tennis, swimming, and netball are just a few of the sports where sharp visuals and eye coordination are prerequisites for the player.

Laser eye surgery is something all amateur and professional athletes should consider if they’re vision is anything less than perfect. The procedure is used to modify the shape of the cornea to correct a host of refractive errors including, myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, and presbyopia – so you won’t have to rely on glasses or contacts to spot your competition.

So with that said, keep your eye on the ball and improve your athletic performance with a clearer sight of your sporting goals. Here are some things you might enjoy after laser eye surgery:

There’s little downtime for getting back in the game

One of the biggest misconceptions about laser eye surgery is that athletes will be out of the game for an extensive period time.


In fact, most procedures deliver excellent vision with very little down time. Outcomes for all three types are much the same, although recovery timeframes will depend on the corrective procedure suitable to your vision impairment. Your eye specialist will best advise you on your options – but here’s a breakdown of what to expect after SMILE, LASIK or PRK (ASLA):


Many young athletes will qualify for SMILE – a corrective procedure which touts a short recovery time and a lower risk of discomfort. The general visual recovery window for SMILE is approximately two days, and recipients can often resume outdoor sports, and even swimming, within the first week of recovery.1 Book an eye assessment to find out whether you’re a suitable candidate.


LASIK is a competitive option for many athletes as it offers earlier and faster improvements to your vision than any other procedure.2 Most patients begin to see clearly the day after surgery, so you might not have to worry about missing weeks of training. Swimmers, on the other hand, will need to take more time off post-surgery to avoid any risk of infection – your eye doctor will tell you when it’s safe to get back in the water.


Athletes who have thin corneas or other corneal problems aren’t usually suitable for a LASIK or SMILE procedure, which is why PRK (now known as ASLA) is a great alternative. You’ll need to allow more time for recovery, but many recipients are able to resume their usual activities anywhere between two and six weeks after surgery. Keep in mind that getting back into sport may take a little longer depending on the degree of contact.3 Be sure to follow the advice of your eye specialist to avoid any complications and allow your eye’s outermost cells to heal properly.


You won’t have to replace your broken glasses every season

And you can say goodbye to expensive prescription sport goggles.


Any lover of sport will tell you of their efforts to find an easier solution to the plight of lost or broken spectacles. Our glasses seem to serve as football targets, and are always susceptible to being left behind in our fast-paced lives. What’s worse is waiting for pay day to be able to see! 

Another reason why active people choose to do away with their glasses is to avoid the risk of eye injury, especially on the playing field, which is why a corrective procedure can make life so much easier (not to mention safer).


There’s no match for excellent vision under extreme conditions

Swimmers, cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts rejoice – laser eye surgery is changing the game!


Lift your game on and off the playing field with great vision, no matter what the weather’s doing. Athletes need to be on top of their game, even in the harshest conditions. For those who love the great outdoors, sometimes glasses and contacts can get in the way of the overall experience. Rail, hail or shine – laser eye surgery allows you to see clearly in any given environment, so you can continue to enjoy the activities you love like surfing, diving, martial arts, skiing and hiking.

Sweat comfortably without glasses or contacts

If you wear glasses and have done so for years, you’ll understand the difficulties of relying on something in almost every aspect of your life.


Anyone who wants to get the very best out of their performance knows how important it is to have your less-than-perfect eyesight corrected – but breaking out a sweat can be a mean feat when your spectacles are fogging up or sliding off your face. While contact lens wear might make things slightly easier, they often move around your eye, become irritated from dirt and dust, or even fall out underwater. That’s why many people involved in sport use permanent laser vision correction to free themselves of the eyewear standing in the way of their participation and enjoyment.

Is your vision getting in the way of your active lifestyle?

You can ensure you bring your A-game to the upcoming season by correcting your imperfect vision today! Laser eye surgery is a fast, effective and life changing procedure. Eye & Laser Centre offers a free laser vision assessment, where one of our expert eye specialists will determine which option is right for you. Call or fill out one of our online forms to book an appointment.

This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific ophthalmic advice or assistance should consult their optometrist or ophthalmologist.



1. Reinstein, D.Z., Carp, G.I., Archer, T.J. and Gobbe, M., 2014. Outcomes of small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) in low myopia. Journal of Refractive Surgery, 30(12), pp.812-818.

2. Sakimoto, T., Rosenblatt, M.I. and Azar, D.T., 2006. Laser eye surgery for refractive errors. The Lancet, 367(9520), pp.1432-1447.

3. Aslanides, I.M., Selimis, V.D., Bessis, N.V. and Georgoudis, P.N., 2015. A pharmacological modification of pain and epithelial healing in contemporary transepithelial all-surface laser ablation (ASLA). Clinical Ophthalmology (Auckland, NZ), 9, p.685.