LASIK is not for everyone: the tale of an Olympic bobsledder

Posted by: West Georgia Eye Care Center in Frontpage Article on April 10, 2015

“LASIK is not right for you.”

These might be the most important words you’ll ever hear from your eye surgeon. While LASIK surgery is an overwhelmingly safe and straightforward way to get free of glasses and contacts, it’s not for everyone.

Consider Olympic bobsledder Steven Holcomb, winner of two bronze medals in the 2014 Sochi Olympics and a gold medal in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics*. Just a few years before the games, Holcomb’s sight was nearly stolen by a serious eye disease called Keratoconus, which results in gradual thinning of the cornea and could potentially cause serious loss of vision.

Hoping to remedy his rapidly-failing eyesight, Holcomb had LASIK in 2000. However, the surgery is not recommended for Keratoconus patients, as it may actually worsen the progression of the disease. This was true for Holcomb. LASIK accelerated his visual deterioration.

In an effort to mask how bad his vision had become, Holcomb memorized lines on the eye chart to pass required physicals and keep his place on the bobsled team. Eventually, his strategy of charades failed to manage his sport or his vision. Afraid of injuring a teammate, Holcomb opted for a corneal transplant, a very serious specialized eye surgery. Triumphant over his vision loss and back in the Olympic ring, Holcomb went on to claim 3 medals for the U.S. bobsled team.

An expert LASIK preoperative exam could help you avoid a situation like the one Steven Holcomb found himself in. You want to be one of the millions of patients who love their LASIK vision. Our eye MDs at West Georgia Eye Care Center can determine if you’re a good LASIK candidate, which is another reason it matters who you see!


*See Holcomb’s full story and read others here