When the ball comes towards Chris Dawes this season, he’ll see it clearly and unaided for the first time in his career after successful laser eye surgery in October last year.
The 23-year-old Collingwood forward has relied on contact lenses since he started playing, with his eyesight blurring teammates and the ball, especially in night games.
But after last year’s operation, Dawes is playing without uncomfortable and gritty lenses threatening to pop out mid-game.
“I heard about the surgery and they told me there was no chance of me going blind and a 99 per cent chance of me having my vision permanently corrected,” Dawes told AFL.com.
“I jumped at the chance and got it done as soon as I could.
“It will help my footy in terms of being one less thing I have to worry about on game day.
I don’t have to worry if my contact lenses are stinging or anything, or am I going to get through the game … probably twice I lost one while playing seniors, a finger in the eye and it would come out.”
Dawes had the surgery in the week following the Grand Final and after an operation to clean out his ankle.
The decision to schedule the procedures close to each other was designed to reduce the amount of time he was off his feet.
“That whole week was just sort of a blur for me memory wise, because of the amount of different drugs I was on for the two operations,” he said. “I don’t actually remember much.
Dawes said the surgery had made an immense difference to his football, and life in general.
“(It’s made a difference) not just in footy but in life. Just being able to wake up and see clearly, not having itchy, dry eyes and having to worry about where your contacts or your glasses are.”
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