Joe Swail sure laser eye surgery will help him get back to the top table
Joe Swail's season hasn't gone to plan so far, but he is convinced that laser eye surgery will give him a new lease of life - for the second time in two years.
In 2015, Swail got one of his eyes lasered and, revitalised, went on to reach the fourth round of the UK Championship in York and the semi-final of the Snooker Shootout event.
However, the vision in his other eye deteriorated and he has failed to get beyond the second round in any tournament in this campaign.
But, after laser surgery on his second eye last Thursday, the Belfast potter is full of confidence again and duly beat Itaro Santos 4-1 in the first round of the English Open in Manchester yesterday.
The 47-year-old believes it will still take some time for him to see the full benefit of his surgery, but acknowledges it was a decision he simply had to make.
"I wasn't expecting much coming into the event because I got my other eye lasered on Thursday," explained Swail after beating Santos.
"It was desperate measures because I've been struggling over the last six months.
"I was going to leave it until after the English Open but I had to get it sorted - I was getting down and I was seeing 30 reds rather than 15!
"I knew the laser surgery was ahead of me, so it was just a matter of the timing to get it done. I've only had three days with it and it's just a matter of both eyes learning to work together so that may take a wee bit of time."
Swail faces talented 20-year-old James Cahill in round two in Manchester tomorrow.
"You want to win your first match as that takes a bit of pressure off," added Swail. "It's just a matter of getting into it and enjoying it. So we'll see how I go.
"After this I've got three or four weeks off, so I'll have a bit of time and the surgeon reckons it will be about a month before my eyes gel together properly, so it should be perfect timing for the UK Championship."