There has been a huge increase in the number of athletes opting for performance enhancing laser eye surgery at the LaserVision Eye Clinic ii Dublin according to Mr John Fenton FRCSI, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon with the clinic
There is a growing debate and controversy over the increasing number of athletes who are opting for laser eye surgery to enhance performance and thus gain advantages over competitors.
"Natural" vision is 20/20. Laser eye surgery can improve some patients' vision to 20/10, which means an athlete could see at a distance of 20 feet what a person with normal vision could see at 10 feet. In other word, laser eye surgery can produce 'eagle eyes' i.e. eyes with better vision than normal. Imagine what a difference that makes in hitting a fast ball.
In the late 1990s, the world-renowned golfer, Tiger Woods had laser surgery on his eyes. Woods, who had lost 16 straight tournaments before his surgery, ended up with 20/15 vision and won seven of his next 10 events. Golfers report that with laser eye surgery they are now able to see contrasts and judge distances better. They can now recognise more clearly, where the green breaks to the right or to the left, where it goes uphill and downhill. They can see the ball landing again. In short they gain an improved three dimensional view of the green after laser eye surgery.
Mr John Fenton FRCSI, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon with LaserVision in Dublin, says he has seen an increase in the number of athletes coming in for surgery: "Previously we had a lot of sports people opting for surgery because contact lenses were a hassle and dust or wind could cause problems. American Federal Investigators discovered that Wavefront customized treatments have the potential to give you 20/16 or better and now athletes are realising the competitive advantages they can gain by having good eyesight"
Athletes are tested regularly and face a ban / fine for using performance enhancing drugs such as steroids. These are considered 'cheating'. If laser eye surgery can enhance performance should it not also be considered 'cheating'?