Illustrations by Hannah Johnson
Graphic of an eye
When Corey Robertson was 3 years old, his parents discovered that he was severely nearsighted, and thick glasses became an essential part of his everyday life. “Without my glasses, I could not recognize people from more than three feet away,” he says. Robertson’s poor vision was caused by astigmatism, a condition in which an irregular eye shape or lens curvature prevents light from focusing properly on the retina. At the time, contact lenses were not able to correct astigmatism-induced nearsightedness. Robertson’s glasses allowed him to function, but they hindered many of his daily activities, particularly when it came to sports, where good peripheral vision is crucial.
Recalling his days on the football, basketball, wrestling, and track teams, Robertson notes, “As an athlete, my vision had a negative effect on my hand-eye coordination. I had to compensate physically and adapt to slower reflexes. I was also forced to wear recreational spectacles that constantly fogged up from my body heat and sweat.”
In 2004, Robertson met with Dr. Neal Sher, a partner at Eye Care Associates in Minneapolis, who explained that 99.6 percent of the population had better vision than Robertson—and that it was fixable. He scheduled LASIK laser vision correction on the spot.
Seeing clearly has helped Robertson, now 40, in all aspects of his life, including in his career as a personal trainer at the Calhoun Beach Club in Minneapolis. When exercising and playing sports, “I am still surprised at my increased reflexes and improved performance,” he says. “Socially speaking, I feel more accepted, and while driving I feel safer.”
Robertson’s active lifestyle helps his eyes to stay healthy, too. “Regular exercise is important for maintaining healthy circulation in general, and healthy circulation helps maintain eye health,” says Dr. Omar Awad, medical director at both LasikPlus and Awad Eye Care. Exercise also helps prevent and control diabetes and high blood pressure, “both of which can result in eye disease, such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, retinal artery occlusion, and hypertensive retinopathy,” says Dr. Elizabeth Davis of Minnesota Eye Consultants.