Monthly Archives: December 2008

LASIK for athletes

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If you are an athlete and do not have perfect vision, you are probably all too familiar with the hassles of wearing eye glasses or contacts while playing sports.

LASIK laser refractive eye surgery is a way for you to shed those burdens and let a 20/20 vision take your game to a new level.
At Western Laser Eye Associates, we are committed to helping patients gain the best eyesight possible. And for athletes this is especially important. The ability to play a sport without being hindered by eye glasses or contacts can not only improve your game, it can also help save you from possible harm.

Consider these situations:

  • Eye injury: caused by shattered eye glasses, torn contact lenses, sweat or dirt underneath contacts, dry eyes due to contact lenses
  • Lessened playing ability: caused by eye glasses limiting peripheral vision, contact lenses that fall out during play, rain or snow limiting vision in eye glasses

LASIK can help patients who have lived for years with eye conditions such as:

  • Nearsightedness
  • Farsightedness
  • Astigmatism

Not every athlete is a good candidate for LASIK eye surgery. Those who play aggressive contact sports may be at a higher risk for infection or damage to the cornea. We will fully evaluate your eyes, medical history and lifestyle to determine if you are a good LASIK candidate If you are not, there may well be another procedure that would work.

Please contact Western Laser Eye Associates today to arrange a free consultation.

What is 20/20 vision?

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If you have been told you have 20/20 vision, you have what has been defined as humanity’s “normal” eyesight. You can see clearly at all distances. Those numbers refer to feet from an eye chart.

The typical eye chart has a large “E” at the top and lines of smaller letters underneath. When your eye doctor tests your vision for glasses or contact lenses, you look into a device called a phoropter. You are asked to read the smallest row of letters you can clearly see, and the doctor flips from lens to lens asking you to compare: “Which is clearer, this … or this?”

The phoropter is simulating your distance from the eye chart. In the expression “20/20”, the first number refers to the tested eye’s distance in feet from the chart. The second number changes according to your visual acuity.

  • If you have 20/40 eyes, you must be only 20 feet from the chart to see what “normal” eyes can see clearly from 40 feet away. You are mildly nearsighted.
  • If you have 20/100 vision, you are more nearsighted, and normal eyes can see at 100 feet what you can only see from 20 feet away
  • Legal blindness is defined as 20/200, where the eyes being tested must peer at the letters from 20 feet way to see what “normal” eyes can see from 200 feet away.

“Better Than Normal” Vision
After having a custom LASIK procedure, some people achieve 20/16 vision. That means their visual clarity is better than what is considered normal. In terms of the eye chart, they can see from 20 feet away what a “normal” person must be only 16 feet away to see clearly. These superior results are possible because Wavefront technology is used for diagnosis instead of a phoropter. It gives a more microscopically precise picture of your eye contours, which means your LASIK treatment can be more precise.

Please see our page on How the Eye Works for more detail on eye anatomy and how an eye can be nearsighted, farsighted or astigmatic.

To learn more about what LASIK could do for your vision, and to learn more about your eyes, please contact our office for a free, personal consultation with Dr. Penno.