Laser Eye Surgery And Sport

People considering laser eye surgery are often keen to know how long it will be before they can play sport again following the procedure. This will depend on a few factors including the type of laser eye surgery you are having and also the sport that you are involved in.
The time period you can play sport following Lasik is different from that following Lasek surgery.Furthermore, you will need to wait a longer amount of time before playing contact sports compared with non-contact sports. The following explains these factors in more detail:
Lasik or Lasek: Which should I choose if I play sport?
When you can play sport following laser eye surgery will be different depending on which procedure you have had done:

  • Lasik eye surgery involves the creation of a flap which weakens the surface of the eye. This means you are at a higher risk of dislodging or tearing the flap if you get hit/poked in the eye. Having said this, the eye heals extremely quickly following Lasik and the flap adheres firmly and safely to the eye after just a few hours of surgery. If you are not involved in contact sports then Lasik is normally the procedure of choice owing to the quicker and more comfortable healing time when compared with Lasek. Most people can return to work and normal activities within 24-48 hours of the procedure.
  • Lasek eye surgery: There is no flap created with this procedure and consequently the procedure does not weaken the eye at all. It is for this reason that anyone involved in contact sports will be recommended Lasek surgery. Those people thinking of joining the army, navy or RAF are also likely to be recommended to have Lasek. For more information on Lasek click here.

Laser eye surgery and different sports:
Contact sports and Lasek: These include rugby, football, basketball, boxing, Kickboxing, Karate, Judo, Wrestling and all martial arts. It is normally recommended that you wait 1 month following Lasek surgery before you can participate in any of these sports.
Contact Sports and Lasik: Most surgeons will insist that you have Lasek instead of Lasik if you are involved in any martial arts. Those playing sports such as rugby or football will have to wait at least 3 months following Lasik and this will be at the surgeon’s discretion. If you play these sports seriously/professionally you would be better advised to have Lasek.
Non-contact sports and Lasek: These sports include jogging, tennis, athletics, going to the gym, weight lifting, table tennis, badminton etc. These sports can be played 1 week after Lasek surgery providing your surgeon/optician has given you permission.
Non-contact sports and Lasik: These sports include jogging, tennis, athletics, going to the gym, weight lifting, table tennis, badminton etc. Like Lasek, these sports can be played 1 week after surgery if your surgeon/optician has agreed.
For those who do not play contact sports then Lasik is likely to be your first choice as you can return to work/ drive etc. sooner than you can following Lasek. If however you play contact sports or are wanting to join the armed forces (army, RAF, or navy) then your surgeon is likely to advise that you have Lasek as your cornea will not be weakened following the treatment. You should always check with your surgeon/optician when you are allowed to play any sports/activities following surgery as people’s eyes heal at different speeds.

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