Recently William Saletan wrote a well-researched article in Slate ("The Beam in Your Eye") that "If steroids are cheating, why isn't LASIK?":
A month ago, Mark McGwire was hauled before a congressional hearing and lambasted as a cheater for using a legal, performance-enhancing steroid precursor when he broke baseball's single-season home run record.
A week ago, Tiger Woods was celebrated for winning golf's biggest tournament, the Masters, with the help of superior vision he acquired through laser surgery.
What's the difference?
It reminded me of the use of "artificial aids" in mountain climbing. In 1978, Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler received wide praise for the first ascent of Everest without oxygen tanks. That's definitely an athletic feat worthy of high praise, but the classification of oxygen tanks as "artificial aids" always confused me. It seems that if carrying oxygen with you is artificial, so is carrying food and water.
Here is partial list of equipment needed to scale Everest. Wouldn't ice axes, crampons, and ladders better fit the bill of "artificial aid."