Laser Eye Surgery at the OlympicsAuthor: Dr. William Tullo
August 2, 2016
For Olympic athletes, every edge can be the difference between celebrating a gold medal on the podium, and going home empty handed. Athletes begin training years in advance with an eye on being in peak physical condition once their time in the spotlight arrives, and those preparations often include laser eye surgery. With the split-second decisions required to compete in world-class sports, it's no surprise that Olympic athletes want to make sure their vision is in great shape for the Games.
Over the years, many Olympic athletes have chosen LASIK surgery to address vision problems, promote clearer vision, and reduce their dependency on glasses or contacts during competition. Ahead, we've got a list of notable Olympic athletes who have had LASIK eye surgery, including quite a few gold medal winners.
Olympic Athletes and LASIK: Clear Vision for the Moments It Matters Most
- Amy Van Dyken (Swimming) – With six gold medals, Amy Van Dyken is one of the most successful American Olympic swimmers of all time. The US Olympic Hall of Famer had LASIK in 2011.
- Ryan Bailey (Water Polo) – Water polo is one of the most demanding sports in the Summer Olympics, and US Water Polo team member Ryan Bailey underwent laser eye surgery to prepare for the intense competition.
- LeBron James (Basketball) – Best known for his dominance in the NBA, LeBron has helped deliver two gold medals for the USA Men's Basketball team as well. LeBron had LASIK eye surgery in 2007, and has also won three NBA championships since.
- Dwyane Wade (Basketball) – A teammate of James’ during gold-medal Olympic runs and on championship-winning Miami HEAT teams, Dwyane Wade has had a hall of fame career of his own. He had LASIK in 2011 to help him stay on top of his game.
- Lindsey Vonn (Skiing) – Known as one of the best female Olympic skiers in American history, Lindsey Vonn owns one gold medal and one bronze medal in downhill skiing. She had LASIK in 2010, and is still winning races today.
- Brendan Hansen (Swimming) – While Michael Phelps earns plenty of the swimming spotlight, Brendan Hansen has had an exceptionally successful Olympic career of his own. His totals: three gold medals, one silver, two bronze, and one LASIK procedure (in 2009).
- Norm Lyduch (Wheelchair Rugby) – One of the most challenging sports in the Paralympic Games, wheelchair rugby demands the best from competitors. Lyduch had LASIK before taking home a gold medal with his team at the 2008 Beijing Games.
- Sergio Garcia (Golf) – Golf makes its triumphant return to the Olympics for the 2016 Rio Games, and Sergio Garcia is one of many stars set to represent their country. Garcia had laser eye surgery during the 2012 season, and has played some of his best golf since.
- Curt Tomasevics (Bobsled) – A key member of the 2010 US Bobsled team that brought home a gold medal, Curt Tomasevics gave LASIK partial credit for his performance, because it allowed him to take his training to another level before hitting the big stage.
The Olympics are about more than just sporting events. During every edition of the Olympic Games, viewers are delighted by the stories that lead individual athletes to the top of their craft. If past Olympics are any indication, we're sure to see a few gold medal winners at the Rio 2016 Olympics who thank LASIK for helping them reach the peak of their profession.