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Keratoconus and sports: tips for athletes

Published on
January 8, 2023

Athletes with keratoconus may face challenges in participating in sports, as their vision may be impaired. However, with proper management and the right protective eyewear, individuals with keratoconus can continue to play sports and lead active lifestyles.

According to the National Eye Institute, it is estimated that keratoconus affects approximately 1 in every 2,000 people in the United States.

Keratoconus is a progressive eye condition in which the normally round cornea becomes thin 

and cone-shaped. This can cause distorted vision and may require the use of special contact lenses or glasses to correct it. Keratoconus is more common in individuals with certain genetic and environmental risk factors, such as a family history of the condition and prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.

Tips for playing sports with keratoconus 

Here are some tips for athletes with keratoconus:

Wear protective eyewear

It is important for all athletes, but especially those with keratoconus, to wear appropriate protective eyewear during sports activities. If you are using specialty contact lenses such as RGP or scleral lenses, make sure to wear protective goggles during contact sports to prevent eye injuries. This can help prevent eye injuries and further vision loss.

Use specialized contact lenses

If you have keratoconus, you may need to use specialized contact lenses to correct your vision. One of the best options for athletes is scleral lenses. These are custom designed hard contact lenses that vault over your eye creating a new optical surface, which leads to a dramatic improvement in vision for athletes with keratoconus. In addition to the improved vision, these medically necessary contact lenses have a distinct advantage for athletes. Due to their extremely large design they don’t move around or fall out during sports, which makes them a great option for athletes.  It is important to discuss your options with our eye doctor and find the best solution for your needs.

Have regular eye exams

It is important for athletes with keratoconus to have regular eye exams to monitor the progression of the condition and ensure that their vision correction is up to date.

Communicate with your coach and teammates

It is important to let your coach and teammates know about your keratoconus and any limitations it may cause. This can help ensure that accommodations are made and that you are able to safely participate in sports activities.

Do any famous athletes have keratoconus? 

There are many professional and amateur athletes that have adapted to living and thriving with keratoconus. 

Defensive tackle Brandon Williams received FDA approved corneal crosslinking in 2018 and played for the Baltimore Ravens until 2021 before moving to the Kansas City Chiefs. Even with Keratoconus he shined on the field, signing a $54 million dollar 5 year contract with the Ravens in 2017.

NBA star Steph Curry is considered one of the all time best basketball stars in the NBA. Among his many achievements, he is an eight-time NBA All-Star and eight-time All-NBA selection, two-time NBA MVP, a four-time NBA championship winner, and NBA Finals MVP. Steph was able to continue as a superstar using customized scleral lens contacts to improve his vision which was impacted by Keratoconus. 

MLB star Tommy Pham is well known as an outspoken ambassador for patients with Keratoconus. He successfully underwent corneal cross linking which stabilized his vision, and has had the most success with rigid gas permeable contact lenses to correct his vision. 

Can keratoconus be cured?

Currently, there is no cure for keratoconus. However, there are several treatment options available to manage the condition and improve vision. These may include the use of specialized contact lenses such as scleral lenses or RGP lenses, non-surgical procedures such as crosslinking, or surgical options such as corneal transplantation. It is important to discuss your treatment options with our eye doctor to determine the best course of action for your specific needs.

Schedule an eye exam for keratoconus near you at Amplify EyeCare of Greater Long Beach

If you don’t already have a trusted optometrist, you might begin your search online by entering “eye doctor for keratoconus near me”. Alternatively you can visit our specialty contact lens center in  Bellflower. Our team of experienced eye doctors and staff are dedicated to providing top-quality care for patients with keratoconus and other eye conditions. Patients with keratoconus visit our clinic from all over California, and we are proud to be a leading provider of medically necessary contact lenses for patients from Bellflower, Long Beach, Lakewood, and Los Angeles.

Testimonials


I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.


Claire A.

Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.


Jim K.

My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!


Teresa S.

The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.


Joe M.

I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.


Kayla W.

This is not for the eye exam but for the frames selection portion. I brought my prescription from Kaiser here with my VSP insurance. The reception staff was very polite and professional.  Manny helped me to pick out frames and explain my coverage.  Very helpful and patient not like the individual at the other place I rated here on Yelp.  I was running late and he still helped me and was not bothered at all.  I am so glad I came here ..........very pleased.

Very professional staff and pleasant.


Daniel G.
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