14.07.2011

The sporting benefits of laser eye surgery

The sporting benefits of laser eye surgery

Posted by Alexa Kaczka

While laser eye surgery is a relatively modern invention, with nowhere near as much heritage as glasses or contact lenses, it has now been around long enough for the people who have benefited from it to be able to tell their own success stories.

However, many people are still held back from undergoing the procedure due to 'horror stories' of operations which have damaged people's eyes and even resulted in some people going blind.

In the very early days of laser eye surgery, perhaps this was true, but nowadays the procedures are among the most successful on the planet, when the percentage of patients' success is taken into account, and over 95 per cent of operations in the UK give the patient better eyesight at the very least.

Generally, many people who undergo laser eye surgery end up wearing contact lenses or glasses later on in life, as it does not permanently cure poor vision or prevent future eyesight deterioration, but in the most part, the benefits are immediate and substantial.

One person who recently benefited from laser eye surgery is Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea, who was plagued by poor eyesight until he finally made the decision to have the procedure carried out, Private Healthcare UK reported.

As a player, O'Shea often had to tackle more than just the 15 men on the other side of the halfway line, as his vision was poor even back then, but it reached the point after retirement when he knew something had to be done.

O'Shea noted that wearing glasses on the pitch used to be "out of the question" due to the high risk of them breaking if he were hit in the face during a tackle.

One thing he used to utilise was contact lenses, which were very effective at solving his vision problem and allowed him to play as normal.

However, he pointed out that on the rare occasion when the contact lenses came out, he could encounter the issue of having to put it back into his eye with muddy fingers.

Many athletes in other sports wear contact lenses and they can often replace them if they come out but this is sometimes problematic on the rugby field unless the trainer is there to help them, O'Shea explained.

As his duties at Harlequins involve spending a lot of time on the pitch, getting involved with the action, despite his playing days being behind him, O'Shea explained that laser eye surgery was the best option.

He visited the Harley Street clinic Advanced Vision Care, where, following consultation, he was recommended for Lasik Intralase surgery.

"I'd thought about having my eyes lasered for quite a while but to be honest, I just didn't have the nerve. Then a friend had it done at AVC in Harley Street and told me how easy and painless it was and how fantastic the results were, so I thought I should stop dithering and just do it," Private Healthcare reports him as saying.

Although he was apprehensive, O'Shea noted that he went through 11 surgical procedures throughout his playing career and therefore knew that this would be nothing compared to them, particularly taking into account the recovery period, which is very short.

"The recovery time was phenomenal. The next day I was back on the pitch, taking it easy mind, but the day after that I was back to normal," O'Shea explained.

"I am absolutely over the moon. To wake up in the morning and be able to see perfectly without having to reach for glasses is brilliant. My vision is now better than it ever was."

by Adrian Galbreth


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