This morning I had my annual eye doctor appointment. There are quite a few of my friends who have perfect vision. Myself, I’ve been wearing glasses and contacts since late elementary school. I’m no candidate for Lasik eye surgery because my vision worsens each year, though not drastically. The big reason for this is spending a large portion of my day in front of the computer screen.
I’ve been talking to some of my friends who have perfect eyeballs, and they can’t imagine what it’s like to not see well. Let me break it down for you:
At the eye doctor’s I first remove my contacts, sit down, rest my chin on a ledge and look into a machine at this picture of a beautiful hot air balloon. I don’t know what I’m looking at at first, but the machine takes pictures of my eyeballs and magically corrects the focus so I know it’s a hot air balloon. Once that’s over with I’m supposed to follow the technician down the hall while I’m nearly blind. We pass doctors and other technicians and I can’t see their faces – everyone looks like a mess. We go into the exam room. There’s a mirror so I can put my contacts back in. I sit in this dentist-like chair that’s connected to an arm with a bunch of bizarre gadgets. After covering each eye and using the other to read letters and numbers off a chart, the technician leaves and I wait for the doctor. I’m restless because soon the poking and prodding will begin.
My doctor enters. She’s a tiny little thing and only one year older then myself. I know this because I went to high school with her. It doesn’t matter to me, I never knew her personally but I do know she’s good at what she does.
She begins testing my eyes with a series of gadgets hooked to the chair. I try to think pleasant thoughts but I’m pretty sure this is what it feels like to be abducted by aliens and experimented on. She puts drops in my eyes that make them sting. “Your eyeballs will be numb in a moment,” she says.
Then I rest my chin once again on a ledge. There’s a band around my head so I can’t move around. “We’re just going to apply pressure directly to the eye for a moment. Don’t blink. Watch the blue light,” she instructs. I see the probe advancing slowly toward my eyeball. I think to myself, She’s not an alien. Don’t piss your pants. Oh fuck, the probe has almost made contact. There it is. THERE IT IS. Ahhhh! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!
“And we’re done with this eye.”
Ok we’re pee-free, good job Lauren. You didn’t even feel it. One more to go.
Once again the probe begins its horrifying journey toward my eye. The suspense is killing me. Outside the room I can hear a song playing faintly on the radio. It’s Phil Collins, “In the Air Tonight.” I change the lyrics and sing, I can feel it, coming at my eye right NOW…oh Lord. And I’ve been waiting for this moment, to be over with all my life…OH LORD.
“Good, we’re done with that.” She grins at me.
As the probing is complete, she moves on to shining insanely bright lights into my eyes while my head is still trapped. It’s so intense that tears start cascading down my face. She hands me a Kleenex. After the unpleasant business is over with, she has me look into various lenses and read the eye chart again. She confirms my eyes are a bit worse and writes a new lens prescription.
Aside from that, imagine waking up in the morning and everything’s a big blurry blob until you slide your glasses on. Instant world! I am nearsighted so I am unable to see things clearly unless they are very close to my eyes. I can read a book for instance if it’s several inches from my face, but everything else in the room is blurry. Being out in the rain can prove to be difficult. Either your glasses get droplets on them or if you’re wearing contacts, a raindrop falls directly into your eyeball and your vision gets screwed up for a bit.
Today’s lesson: Don’t take your vision for granted! On the bright side I look extra smart wearing glasses and they can be quite fashionable.