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Contact sports and laser eye surgery

Posted: Jul 08 2018

July marks another Rugby Sevens World Cup! If you’re partial to a game of rugby yourself – or indeed any other contact sport – you might be wondering if laser eye surgery is suitable for you. Discover all you need to know, with our guide to contact sports and laser eye surgery.

Why choose laser eye surgery over glasses or contacts?

If you normally wear contacts or spectacles, playing contact sports raises a dilemma: what to do about vision correction? The rough and tumble of the rugby pitch (or the boxing ring) is no place for glasses, as you most likely have already discovered! Contacts are a better option, but there are some disadvantages:

  • Some contact sports, like amateur boxing, ban both glasses and contact lenses.
  • Rigid gas permeable lenses may move about as you play and are considered unsuitable for contact sports.
  • If you’re on a muddy pitch, your soft contacts could easily become contaminated with dirt, particularly if they fall out amidst the contact.

Could laser vision correction improve my game?

You may see laser surgery as a necessary choice; something you have to undergo in order to join in the activities you enjoy. But as well as enabling you to get out and play sport, laser vision correction could actually enhance your abilities and make you a better player.

  • Improve your peripheral vision. By sharpening your eyesight in all directions, you’re likely to react more quickly to what’s going on around you.
  • Spatial awareness is important in many contact sports; after laser eye surgery you’ll be more adept at judging distances.
  • Play well, whatever the weather. No more misting up or dry eyes; when you can see without glasses or contacts, you’ll battle through the drizzle to bring your team to victory.
  • Diversify! Following surgery you may develop the confidence to try your hand at other activities such as golf or winter sports. By honing your skills in other areas, you’ll also improve your prowess in your chosen contact sport.
  • Boost your confidence. Sometimes you need a positive mental attitude – so it might help to emulate these Olympians who have undergone laser eye surgery.

Which type of laser eye surgery is most suitable?

If you play contact sports, your surgeon is likely to advise Lasek surgery (Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis). Your specialist will tailor their advice to your own situation and medical history.

Lasek is recommended for professional players of contact sports because it’s considered a safer procedure than Lasik; with Lasek there’s no need to create a corneal flap, so it’s a less invasive operation. Although LASIK is safe in many circumstances depending on the sport and at what level it is played at, LASEK allows the athlete to get back to their sport with a shorter period away from training.

Getting back on the field: Resuming contact sports after laser eye surgery

Lasek recovery is usually a matter of days or weeks for everyday activities such as working in an office, driving and non-contact sports. But you can expect to allow up to 3 months’ recovery time before resuming contact sports or extreme sports. However, this will depend on your own individual recovery rate, and the type of activity; your surgeon will advise you.


Rugby and laser eye surgery can be a winning combination. If you’d like to find out more, contact us or book a consultation today.

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