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Sports, Soccer, LASIK, Mixed Martial Arts, Football, Boxing

Can Sports Be Played After LASIK?

San Jose residents as well as soccer fans from around the world enjoyed watching soccer (known as football in most other countries) during the World Cup 2006. Many LASIK patients might wonder if having LASIK is a risk for soccer (football) players or for other sports. Is it safe for a soccer player to have LASIK? Is it safe for a football player to have LASIK? Is it safe for a combatant sport participant (such as boxing, kickboxing, or mixed martial arts) to have LASIK performed?

Soccer and Football

With soccer appreciation in San Jose, and throughout the world, being at an all-time high, many people might wonder if having LASIK is dangerous for the many soccer players (and even American football) who have had the laser eye vision procedure. Some might wonder if LASIK causes a weakening of the eyeball which could have negative effects upon soccer or football players. Research studies by the US military have concluded that the eye is capable of high degrees of stress following LASIK eye surgery with little or no risk.

Immediately following LASIK eye surgery, San Jose patients (as well as the rest of the San Francisco bay area) will be instructed to refrain from physical sports (such as soccer and football) for a period of two weeks. During this time, the eye will heal and will return to a strength very similar to what it was before LASIK. Studies show that there is no loss in cornea integrity in a LASIK procedure that was performed on a well-qualified LASIK candidate. In fact, LASIK can often result in improved vision that can translate into improved athletic performance. Soccer and football players in San Jose, San Francisco, and other Bay Area communities will appreciate the fact that they no longer depend upon glasses or contact lenses. They will discover that soccer and football can be even more enjoyable when played following LASIK eye surgery. Some might even realize that their vision has improved and that after LASIK their performance in soccer or football is also improved.

Part of the requirement not to play sports or exercise immediately after LASIK or other laser eye surgery is to prevent infection. Numerous bacteria are contained within the eyelashes and on the skin around the eye. Sweat from exertion can contain these bacteria which could wash into the eye. For this same reason bathing and showers must be performed with a high degree of caution so that water or fluids do not enter the eye.

Enjoy the beautiful game and enjoy your new vision. LASIK can be an advantage in playing soccer or football. Without glasses or contact lenses, the game can be even more enjoyable. San Jose loves soccer (football) and its participants could love the sport even more following LASIK eye surgery.

Boxing, Kick Boxing, Mixed Martial Arts

Combat sports (such as boxing, kick boxing, and mixed martial arts) are very popular in California, particularly Northern California and San Jose. Many people might wonder if participation in combat sports is safe with LASIK. These same people feel that contact lenses and glasses are not appropriate for their sport and often cause them to struggle during competition. How often have fighters in boxing, kick boxing, or mixed martial arts lost a contact lens in the middle of a fight?

LASIK is generally not recommended, however, for participation in these sports. The flap created during LASIK has been shown to be extremely durable but there is the concern that a violent blow could tear the flap from its location. While this isn’t likely to happen, most surgeons would choose a different type of surgery, known as PRK, for patients desiring to take part in combat sports, such as boxing, kick boxing, and mixed martial arts.

PRK is very similar to LASIK. Results are equally safe and effective. Prior to LASIK, PRK was the most popular form of Laser vision correction. The disadvantage to PRK is that it requires up to 1 or 2 weeks for recovery following surgery. The advantage is that there is no flap that could be dislodged in a fight. PRK uses the same laser and the same procedure as LASIK. The only difference is that PRK occurs directly on the front surface of the cornea. LASIK is performed on an inner layer by making a flap.

Following PRK surgery, a martial arts participant can enjoy the sport as would a person who did not have eye surgery. San Jose residents will find that their vision is improved and there is no need for contact lenses that can be knocked free during a fight.

I highly recommend PRK surgery for any participant in boxing, kick boxing, or mixed martial arts. While it does not reduce your risk of eye trauma (such as a retinal detachment or iris detachment), it does improve your ability to see your opponent and hopefully can help you to avoid more of the damaging strikes that can cause eye and brain injuries.