Steph Curry was a great shooter, and then he got contacts

Curry started off another season hot behind the arc, but that all seemed to go away post all-star break. After being diagnosed with Keratoconus, Curry decided to give contacts a try.

Stephen Curry is undeniably the best 3-point shooter currently playing in the NBA–a more consistent and efficient sharpshooter than his nearest rival, James Harden. With 354 3-points made during the regular season and shooting 43.7% from behind the arc, Curry is on a whole different level. Yet even after being affected by an eye disease his whole career, it couldn’t even prevent Curry from doing what he does on the court, until recently.

It all began back in February when Curry noticed he wasn’t putting up the stats he used to. After the all-star break, Curry had been in a slump, shooting 36.6% from beyond the arc on 13 attempts per game. That is a respectable 3-point percentage for most players, but not for Curry, who is known for his range and his ability to score from deep. Curry’s career average from beyond the arc is currently 43.6% and for it to dip below even 40% was concerning.

It turns out Steph had been suffering from an eye disorder called Keratoconus where the cornea progressively thins, changing from its natural circle shape to a cone. Keratoconus leads to blurred and distorted vision due to the cone-like shaped cornea deflecting light as it enters the eye.

Curry said he’d been aware that he should have been wearing glasses, but he confessed that “[he] had gotten used to squinting for so long it was just normal.” Even with his eye condition, he was hitting 200-300 3-pointers a season. But after the decline in his numbers, Steph finally decided to give contacts a try.

After Curry got contacts, he went on to put up at least five 3-pointers per game in a streak of nine games. An already impressive shooter had just gotten better.

Although his contacts have seem to fix his vision for now, his Keratoconus will continue to worsen. Dr. Maanasa Indaram, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of California San Francisco says, although Curry was able to shoot his threes, it was most likely caught early. If Steph’s Keratoconus remains untreated, it could have severe consequences, such as blindness.

Treatments include corneal crosslinking, custom soft contact lenses or hybrid contact lenses designed specifically for people affected by Keratoconus. A LASIK surgery would not be possible for Steph due to a part in the procedure that would require a removal of tissue from his already thinning corneas.  

Social media blew up shortly after the announcement of Curry’s “eye disease.” Athletes such as Patrick Mahomes, the starting QB for the Kansas City Chiefs,  tweeted, “wait so Stephen Curry was shooting like that his whole career with blurry vision?” Kyle Kuzma, a second year forward for the Los Angeles Lakers added, “this like adding a scope to a gun.”

Image by: Flickr/Joe Glorioso

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