Seeing Clearly For The Sporting Life

Don’t forget to come visit us at the 2012 Vancouver Health and Wellness show, Feb. 17 – 19 at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre at Canada Place. We’ll be on hand to answer your questions about laser eye surgery options such as LASIK, PRK, cataract surgery, and laser blended vision correction.

While many people consider Lasik or PRK laser eye surgery for a variety of reasons, those with an active lifestyle often find that having the procedure done brings a freedom they hadn’t previous enjoyed. Erin Dalzell, a Vancouver sales V.P. at InTouch Technology, chose Lasik surgery in 2001 and he hasn’t looked back.

“I was tired of wearing glasses and contact lenses,” says Dalzell. “Now the outdoor activities I enjoy are much easier.”

Erin isn’t alone in finding Lasik to be a great solution for playing sports. In fact, the roster of professional athletes who have chosen LASIK is a long and illustrious list. Not surprisingly, those sports that require a high level of hand-eye coordination and good distance vision are well represented. Professional golfers such as Tiger Woods, Tom Kite, and Hale Irwin have all undergone the procedure. In fact, Woods went on to win 7 of his next 10 tournaments after having LASIK done in 1999. Baseball and basketball players have also benefited. Lebron James underwent LASIK, improving his vision and his field goal percentage, while pitcher Greg Maddux pitched a one-hitter just two days after having his surgery done in 2000. Football players, race car drivers, Olympic athletes – they have all undergone the surgery and seen their performances benefit.

Other athletes who can benefit from laser eye surgery include swimmers and whitewater kayakers, as glasses are prone to fogging and unsuitable when you are in the water. As well, contact lenses do carry a risk of infection if bacteria in the water gets trapped between the lens and the eye. However, LASIK may not be suitable for some sports. Activities that have a risk of contact to the eye, such as karate, boxing, or mixed martial arts also carry the risk that the ‘flap’ that is created during LASIK could be damaged if the athlete suffers a sharp blow to the eye. However, PRK surgery is still a viable option for these individuals, as the different technique for this procedure doesn’t create a flap that can be dislodged, as the laser is used only on the surface of the eye. The downside is a longer recovery time of one to two weeks.

Whichever procedure is applicable for you, Dalzell recommends research and recommendations as the best way to overcome any nerves or apprehension regarding laser eye surgery.

“Talk to your optometrist, get recommendations from friends, don’t be cheap, and most of all, do your research.”

There’s a long list of famous athletes who have had laser eye surgery. Here’s a small sample:


  • Jeff Reese – Goalie
  • Don Van Massenhoven – Referee
  • Michael Peca – Forward

Freestyle Skiing

  • Alex Bilodeau – 2010 Olympic moguls gold medallist


  • Vijay Singh – PGA
  • Bernhard Langer – PGA
  • Mark McCumber – PGA

Automobile Racing

  • Bryan Miller – Miller Motorsports
  • Bryan Herta – IndyCar driver
  • Joe Amato – NHRA Top Fuel Dragster driver