T Nation

Eye Surgery/Contacts Cheating?

Article by William Saletan on slate.

According to Saletan Mark McGwire wore high powered contacts to get his vision to 20/10. This means he can see at 20 feet what a person with 20/20 can see at 10 feet. I couldn’t say whether this is a 100% improvement in vision but damn, that is pretty significant!

Tiger woods had LASIK surgery to get his vision to 20/15… although he was already wearing contacts that gave him 20/15… And the list of athletes goes on…

I hadn’t even heard of this before! This seems like it would be an even bigger deal than steroids, as keen eyesight is a prime athletic attribute!

Is this stuff true? I feel quite ignorant (again).

[quote]Bhima wrote:
Article by William Saletan on slate.

According to Saletan Mark McGwire wore high powered contacts to get his vision to 20/10. This means he can see at 20 feet what a person with 20/20 can see at 10 feet. I couldn’t say whether this is a 100% improvement in vision but damn, that is pretty significant!

Tiger woods had LASIK surgery to get his vision to 20/15… although he was already wearing contacts that gave him 20/15… And the list of athletes goes on…

I hadn’t even heard of this before! This seems like it would be an even bigger deal than steroids, as keen eyesight is a prime athletic attribute!

Is this stuff true? I feel quite ignorant (again).[/quote]

(rant mode on)

Maybe it’s true, but WHO CARES?

Will this ever stop? Next thing you know people will start complaining about the fact that athletes use shoes when they run; or baseball players use gloves. Or helmets. Or bats. Or all of them at the same time.

So, unless you’re willing to propose we go back to Greek times, when athletes competed butt naked, SHUT UP!

(rant mode off)

[quote]hspder wrote:
(rant mode on)

Maybe it’s true, but WHO CARES?

Will this ever stop? Next thing you know people will start complaining about the fact that athletes use shoes when they run; or baseball players use gloves. Or helmets. Or bats. Or all of them at the same time.

So, unless you’re willing to propose we go back to Greek times, when athletes competed butt naked, SHUT UP!

(rant mode off)
[/quote]

You realize you are only supposed to take up to 8 HOT-ROX per day right? :wink:

I didnt know that was possible, ha, i will get it done if it is.

Personally, I’m going to wait until I can make a nanotechnology robot that exceeds human performance by a factor of ten and then I’m going to pass it off as me and win everything.

[quote]Beast2017 wrote:
I didnt know that was possible, ha, i will get it done if it is.[/quote]

No, don’t do it! It will surely cause you to become ultra-violent, and/or to commit suicide! Or, worse yet, gay!

I don’t use supplements! That’s cheating–they act just like steroids in your body! I get stronger with hard work and discipline!

You’ve all heard that one before, I am sure.

Anyhow, it is somewhat common for a person to have vision corrected to better-than-20/20 through the advent of surgical correction. If you had a vision correction process done, would you want your vision corrected to 20/20, or would you want it corrected to be as acute as possible? I don’t think that requires much thought. If you have the capacity to have 20/10 vision, that is great. It is just that most people do not. And keep in mind that even the most acute vision does not correlate directly with hand-eye-coordination.

~Terumo

I had LASIK in January, and my eyes were 20/15 at my three-month checkup. Guess that makes me a cheater. I didn’t even get 70 homers out of the deal.

I think its blown out of propotion. You don’t need to be able to see every little stitch on a football to ba able to throw it or catch it. Even in golf - What is it going to matter? It’s a sign that professional sports people get paid way too much when they can waste their money on this bullshit.

I remember when I got glasses in the sixth grade. I couldnt’ hit a baseball for $hit. It went from being this huge blurry thing to a tiny little white ball. How am I supposed to hit that little thing?

This argument can be made effective if you compare it to the idiocity of blaming steroids for the players performance. It’s a big controversy and certainly puts things in perspective in that if you want to start labeling all the unnatural enhancements athletes use, then using eye sight enhancement is certainly a bigger issue then AS. You can play with less muscle mass and speed, but you can’t play half blind.

And better eye sight is more then just seeing the stiches on the ball. Seeing an object clearly earlier gives you more time for a setup and a hit, it may only be a fraction of a second, but that fraction may be enough to get a home run vs a back field hit.

BTW: I don’t think it’s cheating, neither is AS imo, and i have many reasons that i don’t care to go into here.

mcgwire had 20/10, and his vision started to degrade (all the way to 20/20…) so he got the contacts.

[quote]hspder wrote:
Bhima wrote:
Article by William Saletan on slate.

According to Saletan Mark McGwire wore high powered contacts to get his vision to 20/10. This means he can see at 20 feet what a person with 20/20 can see at 10 feet. I couldn’t say whether this is a 100% improvement in vision but damn, that is pretty significant!

Tiger woods had LASIK surgery to get his vision to 20/15… although he was already wearing contacts that gave him 20/15… And the list of athletes goes on…

I hadn’t even heard of this before! This seems like it would be an even bigger deal than steroids, as keen eyesight is a prime athletic attribute!

Is this stuff true? I feel quite ignorant (again).

(rant mode on)

Maybe it’s true, but WHO CARES?

Will this ever stop? Next thing you know people will start complaining about the fact that athletes use shoes when they run; or baseball players use gloves. Or helmets. Or bats. Or all of them at the same time.

So, unless you’re willing to propose we go back to Greek times, when athletes competed butt naked, SHUT UP!

(rant mode off)
[/quote]

I completely agree.

20/20 vision is not the ideal vision or a natural limit, it is simply an average.

20/10 means someone can see an object clearly from 20 feet and the “average” person could see the object clearly from 10 feet away.

Ted Williams had 20/10 vision. That is one of the reasons he was a great fighter pilot as well as a great hitter.

I don’t think having 20/10 eyesight makes you a great fighter pilot or hitter.

I’m sure there’s a litle of people who have bad eyesight who hit balls. And alot of people are 20/15 or 20/10 for a period after correction.

[quote]Joe Weider wrote:
mcgwire had 20/10, and his vision started to degrade (all the way to 20/20…) so he got the contacts.
[/quote]

I wondered this myself, whether he was one of those people with naturally better than normal eyesight anyway. This is probably true of many athletes (interesting about Ted Williams, thanks).
Thanks for the info! Also thanks for all the other responses, very good stuff!

I don’t want to see any of these athletes compete naked. Well, maybe the female beach volleyball players!

It’s worth discussing how any technology, whether individually or in conjunction with others, affects the players and the games. I need only point to modern pro-bodybuilding as an example of what happens when technology runs amok. It really can change the nature of things. If you can’t stomach these kinds of questions, tough… what’s the word… noogies.

I’ll raise a couple other points.

-The amount of help given by this type of thing might not be that significant, by itself. But these guys are already in the top tenth of the top percentile in their profession (or higher). ANY advantage is potentially a relatively huge one. This shouldn’t detract from their status as top professionals. I don’t think it’s cheating, either. But it does help them in ways that weren’t previously available.

-When I read this article, I thought - DAMN, that is some scary/cool shit science can do! And the future will be even scarier/cooler. I bet that there will be a surgery “arms” race in sports one day. Artificial eyes, muscle grafts, augmented nervous systems. The sky’s the limit baby! It’s not here yet, but like cloning it might be worth discussing. Is there a fixed line that techs used in sports should not cross? Or will it just be a line of the times, changing as technology improves?

It’s hard to criticize the top players, who have worked harder and have more skill than I ever will. But for some reason, this stuff does lessen them a little bit in my eyes. With every new technology, the people seem a little less superhuman, a little less magical, and a little less interesting.

Peace :slight_smile:

[quote]Gregus wrote:
This argument can be made effective if you compare it to the idiocity of blaming steroids for the players performance. It’s a big controversy and certainly puts things in perspective in that if you want to start labeling all the unnatural enhancements athletes use, then using eye sight enhancement is certainly a bigger issue then AS. You can play with less muscle mass and speed, but you can’t play half blind.

And better eye sight is more then just seeing the stiches on the ball. Seeing an object clearly earlier gives you more time for a setup and a hit, it may only be a fraction of a second, but that fraction may be enough to get a home run vs a back field hit.

BTW: I don’t think it’s cheating, neither is AS imo, and i have many reasons that i don’t care to go into here.[/quote]

Yeah, this is what I was getting at with the “bigger deal than steroids” bit. Alright, it may still be a small deal, but it’s a bigger deal :slight_smile:

And, it’s interesting! Combine the strength and lean mass of steroids, their recovery ability, and now add better vision (or vision restored to higher than was previously possible). The sum total of this stuff is pretty cool/troubling.

And forget batters for a second. What about pitchers?

Okay, now it’s time to sleep!
Cheers.

[quote]Garrett W. wrote:
I don’t think having 20/10 eyesight makes you a great fighter pilot or hitter.

I’m sure there’s a litle of people who have bad eyesight who hit balls. And alot of people are 20/15 or 20/10 for a period after correction.[/quote]

Great eyesight plus great hand eye coordination does. It is much easier to hit a ball you can see or shoot down an enemy because you can see him before he see’s you.