HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. - 2000 NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year, Kevin Harvick underwent Lasik surgery on Monday, January 29th to correct his vision.
The driver of the No. 2 ACDelco Monte Carlo for Richard Childress Racing did not have particularly poor eyesight, but he did have one eye that was stronger than the other and he decided to have the procedure in order to improve his vision in both eyes.
"I've always been right eye dominant," Harvick said. "I tend to focus on the racetrack more with my right eye and I was susceptible to headaches so I thought it was time to get it done."
The procedure uses laser technology to reshape the cornea of the eye to correct vision. The surgery, which Harvick said was quick and painless, was performed by Dr. Keith Walter at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine and took just 40 seconds on right eye and one minute on the left. The doctor talked Harvick through the entire procedure, which helped him feel more comfortable.
"The doctor numbed my eyelid and eyeball with drops," Harvick said, "and propped my eye lids open with what seemed like jack stands for the eyes. He told me to stare at the little red dot. He explained everything the whole way. He explained how he would pull the flap back and it would go dark a little bit. There was a little pressure and it was over. It was that quick."
Harvick noticed almost immediately after the procedure that his vision had improved. He feels that, even though he had fairly good eyesight before the surgery, the procedure will only help him on the racetrack.
"I came home and went to sleep for four or five hours," Harvick said. "And when I woke up, I could see better. It's going to help me feel more comfortable in the car. That's only going to help my racing."
Harvick joins other NASCAR drivers such as Johnny Benson and Todd Bodine, longtime crew chief Buddy Parrott, and even professional golfer Tiger Woods, as people who underwent vision correction procedures.
Lasik will undoubtedly help Harvick focus now on what he wants most, the 2001 NASCAR Busch Series Championship.
-T. Kirk Lowry