What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Phoropters (And Other Instruments of Torture)

It was the minute I’d been dreading for a whole 24 hours. The day before, I’d gotten a reminder call from my optometrist’s office. I don’t remember scheduling an appointment... I think I blocked that out.

It was the minute I wondered if I really needed to get my eyes checked. Seriously, what could have gone wrong with them since last year?

I finally toughened up and walked to the receptionist’s desk, checked in, then sat down to fill out the paperwork. I miss the days when my parents would fill it out for me. There’s way too much writing involved in filling out forms. The last page of the packet was a release form. The most unsettling one was about eye dilation. I’d never had it done before that I could remember, so my number was up. Crud.

After turning in the paperwork, I had a bit of time to wait until my appointment. The man who had just come from the bowels of the office after his checkup was looking at glasses, trying to decide if he should buy any. He must have just gotten off work because he still had his DHL uniform on. Those are really hard to miss, quite bright and eye-catching. The lights of the office were glinting off his chrome dome, and I tried not to stare. I did notice when he told the cashier he would wait on getting glasses for a while, then he left.

Gulp. My turn.

The doctor came to retrieve me. Surprisingly, he was wearing a sweater and khakis today. I could hardly contain my shock as I followed him into the depths of the offices into a dimly lit room. Wordlessly, he motioned for me to sit in the examination chair. He put the phoropter in front of my face and proceeded with the “Which one looks better, 1… or 2? Which one looks better, 2… or 3?” test as I tried to find a difference between the lens choices he gave me. I’m pretty sure he tried to trick me by using the same lens strength twice in a row.

Then he said it was time to do the “air puff” test. If you’ve never had this done, basically, it involves holding your eye open while air gets blown out at high pressure at your eye in one short blast. How is this natural or safe? Really, I can see nothing good about getting air shot at your eyeball. But I was never consulted about the creation of these “tests”.

Time to get my eyes dilated. “This might burn a little,” he said as he put the drops in my eyes. I was tempted to cover my eyes and scream, “IT BURNS, IT BURNS!!” just to try to get a reaction from him. I resisted. However, for the next few hours, my dilated eyes could not focus on anything closer than 3 feet from me. I felt geriatric.

After a couple more tests (I can’t tell you about them since I blocked them out of my memory), I was released. “See you next year!” the receptionist cheerily called as I hastened away.

Exactly one week later, I drove past a two-car accident. As I tried to assess the situation, I couldn’t help but laugh at what I saw. There was a balding, glasses-less DHL delivery man standing by his delivery truck… what was left of it after it collided with a pickup truck. It was the man from the eye doctor's office. I bet he was regretting his decision to delay getting some glasses.

Perhaps eye doctors are important after all.


Christopher Yerziklewski said...

Yes they certainly are! I wouldn't be able to see today without my various eye doctors.

Anonymous said...

I cannot, under any circumstances, keep my eyes open for the "air puff" test. Last time I went, they had a new test that was supposedly easier. Again, I failed. Can I help it if my involuntary reactions are so much faster/better than anyone else?