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Rudy Gay discusses eye surgery, vision problems

Rudy Gay can see clearly now, the pain is gone. He could barely get a driver's license before April eye surgery, but his vision is now much better.


Rudy Gay underwent eye surgery back in April. He's now discussing just how poor his vision was due to a condition in his left eye, something that presumably hurt his ability to play effectively.

Gay spoke to Adam Figman of Slam about the surgery. It wasn't particularly fun for Gay.

"It wasn't even a regular operation," he explains. "It was some kind of crazy operation that took a lot more time to heal than I thought. It sucked. They had to patch it up [after], and I had to take eye drops, all stuff that I hated."

He also discussed just how bad his vision had been, as well as a phobia that prevented him from getting the surgery for several years even as his eyesight deteriorated.

"I did have vision problems," Gay confesses, sitting up on the trainer's table after Gray finishes stretching out his muscles. "Actually, it was terrible. I could hardly get my license." The National Post reported that he refused to wear the contact lenses he desperately needed, which was correct: "I have a stigma about that stuff - I can't put anything up my nose and I can't touch my eyes. I think that just comes from me growing up seeing people on drugs - I got over my stigma of needles, but I couldn't do any of that other stuff. I couldn't wear contacts. I wore glasses, sometimes."

I get that. I kind of have a similar fear -- I'm seriously grossed out by that one scene in Kill Bill Vol. 2 where Uma Thurman steps on somebody's eye -- but then again, I'm not paid professionally to play a sport that requires really good vision. Considering Gay's shooting numbers have tumbled -- he shot 39.6 percent from three in 2009-2010, and just 32.3 percent this past season between the Raptors and Grizzlies -- perhaps his failing ability to see played a factor.

However, Gay doesn't want people to think that way. He explicitly worried in the Slam piece that his numbers would go up, but "everybody's gonna say it's 'cause of my vision, not the hard work I'm putting in."

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