5 Reasons Competitive Athletes Choose LASIK

5 Reasons Competitive Athletes Choose LASIK

Professional athletes train their bodies to perform at an elite skill level. Because vision is integral to physical performance, athletes require vision correction that is always in place and can stand up to extreme conditions. Not surprisingly, many athletes choose LASIK due to its safety and effectiveness.

Wherever a sport takes place, field, pitch, course, track or beach, the environment is a challenge to those athletes with vision issues. Dirt, sand, wind and rain, changes from natural to artificial lighting conditions, and dealing with physical conditions, such as exertion and collisions, make eyeglasses and contacts hard to use. Aside from the issues with glasses and contacts, there are many reasons why athletes choose LASIK.

Here are five reasons athletes choose LASIK:

  • Better vision after LASIK surgery helps reaction time and depth perception. Ask Los Angeles Clippers guard, Chris Paul, if having LASIK in the 2016 off-season has made a difference in his performance.  Better yet, let’s check his player stats. Paul is averaging 17.9 points per game this year, dominating the free throw line by knocking down 89 percent of his attempts and is currently the NBA’s third best three-point shooter.  Currently the LA Clippers, at 12-2, lead the Western Conference.
  • LASIK allows individuals to see contrast better under different kinds of light and against different backgrounds than glasses or contacts. Think of a baseball player like Tampa Bay Ray catcher Wilson Ramos, who had the procedure earlier this year, having to sight a small, fast moving ball against dirt, grass or grandstand and in all different types of light both natural and artificial. It’s not easy for even those with the best vision. Imagine relying on glasses or even contacts to make plays in those conditions and Ramos’ choice of LASIK makes perfect sense. Ramos publicly credits LASIK for giving him the vision to accurately see and react to pitches and his 2016 stats benefited significantly with a career-high batting average of .307 for the season, along with a spot on the National League All-Star line up.
  • LASIK provides individuals with “normal vision” – not the minification that occurs with myopic glasses. Professional golfers have stated LASIK has improved their putting since the hole now appears larger.
  • LASIK stands up to extreme environments. Sweat, helmets, other gear and weather can make it impossible to wear glasses. And contact lenses aren’t completely reliable in wind, dust or contact situations.
  • LASIK has a recovery period with minimal downtime. Most people are back to their routine within 24-48 hours after LASIK. Athletes, with their strenuous physical fitness routine may require a week or two off from their training. Managing the recovery period, including the post-operative regimen of medicated drops, oral antibiotics, artificial tears and eye protection is relatively simple to maintain during the off-season.

Because different types of sports have different requirements, athletes should know there are options when it comes to laser vision correction treatment. LASIK is the most popular laser vision correction procedure available today because it is a safe and effective option, delivering excellent vision with a fast recovery time in a two-step process. This includes creating a flap in the cornea – today most surgeons use an advanced, very precise femtosecond laser – to reveal the inner cornea where the vision correction is performed. Once the flap is replaced, the procedure is over and typically, patients experience an immediate improvement in their vision quality. That improvement increases during the healing process.

Other approaches are available that don’t involve a flap – instead, the surgeon uses a laser to reshape the outer surface of the cornea. This is known as “surface ablation” or Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK). This offers excellent results as well, and the surface of the cornea is initially stronger because there is no flap, but there is a longer recovery period. After nearly 20 years and more than 16 million procedures, we know LASIK is an extremely safe and stable vision correction option for many types of sports – including contact sports such as football and boxing.  LASIK is approved for the military so it is obviously reasonable for athletes, but when there is a high probability of getting jabbed in the eye with a finger – such as in basketball, wrestling, and mixed martial arts – some surgeons may recommend surface ablation.

Whatever your sport – at whatever level you play – an in-depth conversation with your surgeon can help you make the right decisions about vision correction.

5 Reasons Competitive Athletes Choose LASIK

News About Nearsightedness: Just What is Myopia? Memphis LASIK

News About Nearsightedness: Just What is Myopia? Memphis LASIK

According to recent research myopia – also known as nearsightedness – has become a global epidemic. Between the 1970s and early 2000s, the incidence of myopia in the United States alone nearly doubled to 42 percent (Vitale, et. al. 2009 JAMA Ophthalmology). While scientists do not know the exact cause, contributing factors could include not getting enough sunshine, too much time staring at computers and cell phones, and genetics. Research predicts the number of people with myopia will continue to increase, eventually impacting the vision of nearly half the world’s population by 2050.

What is Myopia?

Myopia is a condition where close objects appear sharp, but distant objects appear blurry. In a normally-shaped eye, the cornea and lens each have a smooth curvature, like a basketball. Light rays enter the eye and are focused by the cornea and lens  precisely on the retina, providing a crisp, clear image. Myopia occurs when the eyeball is too long, relative to the focusing power of the cornea and lens of the eye.  It can also be caused by a steep curve of the cornea. With myopia, light is focused in front of, rather than directly on, the retina .  The result is blurry images.

Nearsightedness usually become apparent in children when they are between eight and 12 years old and can progress until age 20. Typically, children and young adults are treated with glasses initially and many eventually choose to use contact lenses. Adults also can develop myopia, usually from visual stress or health conditions. Some of the most common signs of myopia include eyestrain, headaches, squinting to see, poor vision at night, and difficulties seeing objects far away. With any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam. Adults who have reached ocular maturity – typically after 20 years when the eyes stop physically developing – can consider options beyond glasses and contacts, such as laser vision correction with LASIK.

What’s Behind the Increase in Myopia?

The exact cause of nearsightedness is unknown. For years, it was thought it was inherited. But, a number of studies are pointing to other possible issues: environmental, less time outdoors, and today’s technology. For example, the rise in “near work” over the past couple decades – computers, mobile phones, electronic readers, etc. – leaves researchers thinking that eyestrain is increasing the risk for myopia.

Scientists also are studying the influence of circadian rhythms (our biological clock), which regulates our bodies according to the daily cycles of light and dark. They also are looking at whether myopia might be caused by a lack of exposure to sun because we are spending more and more time indoors. According to theories, spending time outside each day stimulates the release of dopamine in the retina, which supports proper eye development.

 Grading Myopia

During an eye exam, the power of your eye is measured using diopters. On your glasses or contact lens prescription, a minus sign is used to show the correction or focusing power, of the lens your eye requires. The higher the number, the more nearsighted you are.

  • Mild myopia includes powers up to -3.00D (diopters). People in this range have difficulty seeing the lines of small letters on the eye chart.
  • Moderate myopia, values of -3.00 to -6.00D. In this range, people can only see the large letters on the eye chart.
  • High myopia is usually myopia over -6.00D. These people cannot see the big E on the eye chart.

Mild myopia is one of the most common disorders of the eye with a variety of correction options. An annual eye exam is the first step toward good eye health and is especially important with children. Consulting with your eye doctor, you can select the treatment that best meets your visual and lifestyle needs.


News About Nearsightedness: Just What is Myopia?

5 Tips for a Lifetime of Healthy Vision Memphis LASIK

5 Tips for a Lifetime of Healthy Vision Memphis LASIK

A lifetime of healthy vision is something everyone wants, but we don’t always take the steps needed to help make it a reality. Here’s a list of five good things to do for your eyes:

DAILY: Eat a healthy diet with healthy vision foods

Do you eat your five-a-day? People who eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables can usually get all the vitamins and minerals they need to maintain healthy eyes and healthy vision. Bonus: add these powerhouse foods to your shopping cart to be sure you get the right nutrients you need for healthy eyes.

DAILY: Avoid digital eyestrain

Our devices are our constant companions, so we are all familiar with how our eyes feel after staring at a computer or phone screen all day long. It’s important to rest your eyes often – look away from the screen every few minutes – and take frequent breaks from the computer. You also want to make sure you have adequate lighting that doesn’t reflect off the computer screen.

DAILY: Avoid touching your eyes

We constantly handle and touch dirty things all day: keys, keyboards, phones, doorknobs, etc. Even if you are diligent about washing your hands, touching your eyes is simply not a good idea as it can accidentally irritate or cause an infection in your eyes. If you have to touch your eyes, either to handle your contacts or to apply makeup, make sure your hands are freshly and thoroughly washed. 

WEEKLY: Think about eye protection as you prepare for any activity

  • If you’re outdoors doing the weekly gardening or DIY chores, wear safety glasses or goggles to keep your eyes safe from flying dirt or debris.
  • If your weekly exercise routine includes a game of tennis, soccer or basketball, consider wearing eye protection (shatter resistant glasses or goggles). If your weekends find you poolside and you wear contacts or glasses, consider prescription goggles (never wear contacts in water).
  • And, of course, anytime you are out in the sun, wear sunglasses that offer ultraviolet light protection. 

ANNUALLY: Get an eye exam

Annual visits evaluate the health of your eye and check for early signs of eye disease such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration, all of which are best managed with early intervention. Keep your ophthalmologist up to date on your overall health and any medication you may be taking. Frequent eye exams are important if you wear contact lenses to help prevent damage from improper use, fit or to treat dry eye irritation.  Checking on your prescription is essential.  This is also a great time to talk with your ophthalmologist about your vision correction options and finding out if you are a good candidate for LASIK.

ALWAYS:  Have a good relationship your eye doctor

In addition to knowing you are doing what is best for your eyes today, your eye doctor is your partner in healthy eyes and vision for life. Over time, your needs may change and require the care of a specialist. Having an eye doctor you routinely work with and trust means you will always get the best care for your condition.

Following this calendar of recommendations and having an open, strong relationship with your eye doctor can help to ensure your eye health and a lifetime of good vision.

5 Tips for a Lifetime of Healthy Vision

What is Astigmatism? Clearing Up a Blurry Situation

Astigmatism is a very common condition that affects the crispness and clarity of your vision.  It is caused by an irregular curvature of either the cornea or lens – the two structures of the eye that focus light.  A good illustration is this: an eye without astigmatism is round like a basketball, while an eye with astigmatism is shaped like a football, with two distinct curves.  If your cornea or lens isn’t smooth and evenly curved, light can’t focus on the correct point.  Astigmatism causes blurred or distorted vision at both near and far distances.

Types of Astigmatism

Did you know LASIK can help correct astigmatism?

Because two structures of the eye can be impacted, there are two types of astigmatism:

  • Corneal astigmatism, the most common type, is the result of an irregularly-shaped cornea.  The cornea is the surface of the eye, the part you touch with your contact lens. It is where light first passes through as it makes its way into the eye.
  • Lenticular astigmatism is caused by a distortion in the crystalline lens. The lens sits behind the pupil in the eye to help focus light into the eye.  Light passes through the lens to the retina, the optic nerve and, ultimately the brain.

Most people are born with at least some degree of astigmatism.  However, sometimes it develops after an eye disease, injury or surgery.

Importantly, blurred or distorted vision are symptoms of many conditions.  Schedule a visit to your ophthalmologist or optometrist for a complete eye exam if you have new or worsening symptoms.  In addition to testing for and measuring any astigmatism, your eye doctor will evaluate your vision and eye health.

How is it Measured?

Astigmatism is measured in diopters (D), a unit of refractive or optical power. A perfect eye has 0 D. Most people have a mild prescription, between 0.5 to 0.75 D. They may not really notice it in their daily lives.  People with a measurement of more than .75 D may need contacts or eyeglasses to correct their vision to see clearly.  Here are a few measurements you may take away from your vision exam:

Sphere:  Measures your degree of nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia). A plus sign indicates you are farsighted.  A minus sign means you are nearsighted. The higher the number, the stronger your prescription.

Cylinder:  This is degree of astigmatism or how irregular the cornea or lens is shaped. It is measured in diopters.

Axis: Locates the position of the irregularity on the cornea or the lens.  Axis is measured in degrees of an arc, like the curve of your eye, from 0 to 180.

Symptoms and Treatment Options

In addition to blurry vision, symptoms of astigmatism include eyestrain and headaches. These are likely due to squinting and straining to try to see clearly.  Be sure to share any symptoms with your eye doctor as part of the complete evaluation of your vision.

Now that you know what astigmatism is, the next logical question is: What do I do about it? It is a common misconception that astigmatism can only be treated with prescription glasses or contact lenses.  The good news is for those who don’t want to rely on glasses and contacts to see well, vision correction procedures such as LASIK can help.  Today’s LASIK treats not only nearsightedness and farsightedness, but astigmatism as well.  Consequently, a thorough evaluation by a highly-qualified surgeon is the best way to determine if LASIK is right for you.

The post What is Astigmatism? Clearing Up a Blurry Situation appeared first on American Refractive Surgery Council.