Laser Eye Surgery and Sport

Laser Eye Surgery can improve your performance and enjoyment of sport by providing freedom from glasses and contact lenses.

Whether you are a professional athlete, involved in weekend sport competition or just enjoy a game of tennis or hitting the ski slopes with the family, Laser Eye Surgery can improve your performance and enjoyment by providing freedom from glasses and contact lenses.

No more corrective eyewear when playing sport

One of the greatest benefits of laser vision correction is that immediately after the 10 minute procedure you no longer require contact lenses or glasses for recreational activities.

Imagine no longer requiring corrective eyewear:

eliminating the inconvenience of contact lenses during sport (no more shifting position or irritation from dust),

no more worry of glasses falling off and breaking,

no expensive sport prescription glasses and prescription swim goggles, and

being able to compete in sports that don’t allow eyewear (such as martial arts).


Can I play sport after laser eye surgery?

If you enjoy sport and being active then laser eye surgery can improve your experience and quality of life. Many athletes who play rugby, basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, ski, or take part in multi-sports have undergone laser eye surgery.


How soon can I return to playing sport after laser eye surgery?

Each person has their own healing time and returning to sport may differ depending upon the type of laser eye surgery you had, the size of the correction, your healing response and the type of activity you wish to take part in.

We understand you are keen to return to the sport that you love but it is very important to let your eyes have their required recovery time after laser eye surgery. You don’t want your eyes to get accidentally bumped in a game disrupting the healing of the cornea.

As a general conservative rule we suggest:

After 3 days - gentle walks, stationary bike

After one week - yoga and pilates

After two weeks - light weights in the gym

After four weeks - swimming, although it is recommended that you wear goggles. It is safe to return to saunas and steam rooms as your eyes will be healed and the steamy conditions will not irritate them.

After four weeks - you may return to tennis, netball, cricket, football, skiing, snowboarding. Always wear protective UV eyewear when near the snow and on the water.

After six weeks - you can return to martial arts and rugby (for LASEK procedure)

After twelve weeks - you can return to activities where your eyes may be exposed to trauma such as rugby (for LASIK procedure).

What precautions should I be aware of when returning to sport?

There are precautions that every person needs to take immediately following their surgery. Make sure you get plenty of rest and sleep as this is when the body’s natural healing processes take place.

Here are a few precautions that are particularly important for those planning a return to sport.

Avoid all strenuous exercise and sport for at least one week. Give your eyes time to heal.

Avoid getting sweat in your eyes to reduce the chance of infection.

Avoid dusty or dirty environments for at least one week to prevent your eyes becoming irritated.

You can bathe or shower the day after your procedure, but avoid lakes, oceans, hot tubs, swimming pools for four weeks. This reduces the risk of getting an infection in the eye. There are chemicals in chlorinated water and particles that are found in salt and fresh water which can cause irritation, redness and corneal infection immediately after laser eye surgery.

What type of laser eye surgery should I have to play sport?

If your main goal is to play sport then it is important to have depth perception so treating both eyes for good distance vision makes sense. LASIK and PRK are the two most common procedures recommended for athletes and at your free laser suitability assessment Dr Reece Hall can discuss which procedure best meets your sporting needs.

If you have any questions regarding returning to sport remember to discuss these with your eye specialist. Dr Reece Hall will tailor your eye care treatment to your physical needs and lifestyle and is the best person to advise you about when you can return to playing sport during your laser eye surgery recovery period.

Follow your surgeon’s advice, attend all of your post operative appointments and always use the post operative eye drops as prescribed.


Phone Bowen Eye Clinic on 0800 69 2020 to book your free laser eye surgery suitability assessment with Dr Reece Hall in Wellington, Waikanae, Nelson or our Palmerston North clinic.