Wednesday, July 11, 2012

An eye-deal solution

The time had come for my biennial trip to the eye doctor for a checkup (though considering the history of my absolutely stellar eyesight, this excursion really ought to have been more of a biannual venture).

As physicians with advanced degrees and their own offices are wont to do, my regular optometrist (and by "regular," I mean "the optometrist with whom I have had appointments since I was five") was slated to be on vacation for the entire time I was to be in Utah. And so I made an appointment with the other optometrist in the office. So much for my twenty years of loyalty.

The day of my appointment soon arrived. After waiting a usual--but, might I add, nonetheless extremely ridiculous--amount of time and allowing boredom to morph me into the person who randomly texts people when she's got no other entertainment options aside from rifling through February's issue of Better Homes and Gardens or a battered copy of Horse & Hound, I was at last led into the back where I endured the usual series of eye drops and air puffs. I was pleased when I received a more experienced technician than usual--he actually believed me the first time I explained that, no, I could not see even the top line (yes, the giant "E") without my glasses. This technician eventually led me to a side room where, at long last, (and after waiting several minutes more), Dr. Lewis came to see me.

He strode into the room, shut the door, and sat down on his small, swivelly chair, my charts and records in hand.

"Well, Britny, I don't believe I've seen you before," he said, glancing from my name on the folder in his hand to my face.

In an effort to break the ice, he made a little small talk (I let him carry most of the conversation, as my previous small talk experiences have been perhaps a bit less than...ideal, shall we say). As he glanced through my chart, he turned the top page so that he could see my previous record.

"I see that you wear corrective lenses," he said, reading the paper.

Well observed.

"And how long have you worn them?" he asked, turning another page back. And then another page back. And another page back.

And another page back.

And another page back.

Finally, he just got down to business and skipped to the very last page.

"You've worn glasses since your very first appointment when you were five?" he asked, his voice a strange mixture of mirth and pity.

I nodded and confirmed that yes, indeed, there was really not a time in my life that I could clearly remember not sporting hardware on my face. While some people may look through polaroids or scrapbooks and be able to tell how old they were in the picture by the haircut they had or the clothes they were wearing, my distinguishing factor is the variety of metal frames that have always been a necessary part of my visage. From large purple frames with black speckles to frames of dark orange and black tiger stripes, my glasses have always been a fashion choice over which my parents (sometimes a bit reluctantly) have given me free reign.

After Dr. Lewis checked my eyes, I was given some dilation eye drops and then led back to the lobby for a second round of my favorite waiting game. The technician rescued me before I had lowered my standards enough to pick up Horse & Hound, but after a test or two, I was merely led to another smaller waiting room where I did not even have Horse & Hound to pass the time.

After awkwardly spending nearly 45 minutes sharing the 10x10' waiting room with an unfortunate middle-aged man who was probably giving up his entire lunch break as he waited for his contact lenses to be adjusted in the lab, I was at last led back to my previous room where, once again, Dr. Lewis came in to see me.

After shining a painfully bright light into my dilated irises several times over, he declared my eyes to be perfectly healthy (other than the fact that they can't focus clearly on anything more than two inches away from my face), and flipped the lights back on. He showed me some pictures of the inside of my eyes, after which he began scribbling his findings on my latest chart.

At last, he looked up and said, "Well, your eyes have undergone minimal changes since you were last here. In fact, I'll leave it up to you whether you even want to get new lenses."

At first, the words that had just come out of his mouth didn't even register.

But I gave it a few moments, and before long, my mind began to go into an appropriate state of shock.

For the first time in my life, I did not need a new prescription. 

I was flabbergasted.






Thoroughly astounded.

Perhaps Dr. Lewis didn't sense the profundity of the moment. He barely even paused before he announced, "In fact, in another year or so, I would advise you to seriously consider Lasik."

By this time, I was in a state of delirium akin to what Edmond Dantes must have felt when he discovered the possibility of escaping the Chateau d'If. (Although, in all fairness, he was only imprisoned for 14 years, whereas my deficient vision has held me captive for more than 20.)

My latest diagnosis is nearly 20/800--the clarity of something that is actually 20 feet away looks as if it is 800 feet away to me. Without my glasses, someone sitting across the room might as well be two and a half football fields away. Literally.

Perhaps you begin to see the cause of my level of excitement over the possibility of acquiring a level of natural vision I never even remember having.

Needless to say, the $130 I spent on my checkup is solid proof that money can, at least, buy happy news...

And now, dear readers, I shall leave you with a highly fashionable photo. If you are suddenly overcome with a strong desire to donate to my Lasik fund, I will gladly accept.

In my defense, the sunglasses they gave me to protect my dilated eyes wouldn't fit over my glasses, so I had to get creative.

Like I said, highly fashionable.

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