Is lasik surgery the equivalent of steroid use by professional athletes? William Saletan of slate.com sure thinks it is.
Saletan recently wrote that Tiger Woods is a cheater because after losing sixteen straight tournaments he had lasik surgery then went on to win seven of his next ten tournaments. As a result he calls Tiger a cheater. I thought that the purpose of cheating was to win all the time or at least most of the time. In Tiger’s case he had the surgery in 1999 and did win a record $6.6 million dollars that year. He followed that up with some other very good years as well. But how does one explain the fact that in 2003 he lost thirteen of the eighteen tournaments he was in and in 2004 lost his number one ranking which he held for 264 weeks? Other athletes have seen similar spurts after surgery only to tail off over time. It seems that the effects of lasik surgery are as much pyschological as they are physical.
I am not a huge golf fan, but to compare athletes like Tiger Woods and others that have had corrective eye surgery with the ones that took steroids is utterly ridiculous. Lasik is legal and has helped millions of people improve their vision. Steroids have proven long term health effects and give the athlete an unfair edge while taking them. Look at the performance of the steroid less baseball players so far this year.
Mr. Saletan, we know who the real cheaters are and they aren’t lasik patients.
(In the interest of full disclosure I am not a lasik patient or an athlete)