My new eyeglasses are proving to be a (small) monster. The prescription changed ever so slightly and I’m trying to work out the kinks now, squinting my eyes and yelling at myself for doing so, but also following doctor’s orders to give this new RX a good 48-hour run to allow my vision to be trained (his words, not mine). As with any adjustment period, I am impatient and looking forward to Tuesday when either a) I will be able to see clearly, or b) I can rightfully return to the doctor and get all patched up again. Patience is not one of my strong points.
Seeing as I am a creature of habit and resistant to change, I went approximately three years before picking out this pair AND willingly having an eye exam. The fact that my last pair of eyeglass lenses were beaten and scratched never motivated me to get an updated pair of specs because I just knew those eyeball people were going to try to talk me into getting dilated again. If you’re not familiar with the dilation process, it involves drops being put into each eye so that the pupils open (they naturally stay constricted when light is brighter). This allows the doctor to look into your eye to see if certain problems exist. The procedure itself doesn’t hurt but someone really should have warned me about the consequences of driving home while my pupils were dilated, especially because I was heading west during sunset. It’s not easy to operate a motor vehicle during rush hour with your eyes mostly closed and all gooped up with ointment and tears. And because of that experience, I vowed to never have the procedure done again. (yet I can take a barely-numbed root canal like a champ!)
This last eye exam was hardly that bad. In fact, it wasn’t bad at all. There is a new machine thingie out now that takes a photograph of the inside of your eye. I LOVE IT. Sure, it costs more money but sometimes forking out the dollars is worth it. I don’t mention it much anymore because my eyes turned out to be just fine, but my Macular Degeneration Scare of 1996 left me reeling with the possibility that I was going blind. An ill-fitting pair of contact lenses from my high school days did some serious damage to my cornea, rendering my eyes as nothing but two swollen lumps. I mean, swollen enough in the micro-measurements with which eye damage occurs, but enough to leave me with double-vision and no solutions. The specialists I saw back then considered MD as a diagnosis, even though I was decades younger than anyone who might even begin to develop symptoms. It all worked out with a few years of rest from contact lenses and I found myself back in the optometrist’s chair once again a few weeks ago, modeling my beautiful little eyeball for photographs on their new fancy-schmancy picture taker.
Then this happened:
Of course, the technicians all get quiet because suddenly being hush-hush is a sure signal that something (like that big blob of scar tissue showing up) has gone wrong. Also, it’s their way of not having to say, “Don’t bother asking because I’m not allowed to tell you anything,” so instead we joked around about how my eye looked like a nebula in space (she compared it to a mammogram). I was ushered into the doctor’s exam room and he calmly walked in, brought the photograph of my left eye onto the screen, and studied it before telling me, “Well, that’s not supposed to be there.”
Oh, really??!?!? I kinda figured.
I turns out that it is scar tissue, something I was probably born with. That doesn’t really give me many answers but the doctor assured me it is nothing to worry about. Of course, if certain symptoms start to occur (seeing stars, flashing bright lights, etc.) then I am to come back to see him right away. All of that is unlikely, though, and for that I am very grateful.
I enjoy having functioning eyes which makes this 48-hour adjustment period a little frustrating. But I do know firsthand that it could be much, much worse. Also, I wanted to get it out there that this technology is available now, that we no longer have to be subjected to having our eyes dilated. I wonder how many people were just like me, walking into an eye exam but very strictly against dilation (it had been at least 10 years) because of how uncomfortable the whole thing is. Besides, this new kind of photography can see things that our dilated pupils never could make visible. And the technicians will email you pictures of your eye so you can post them ALL OVER THE INTERWEBZ!
P.S. I don’t know the difference between an optometrist, an ophthamologist, or an orthopist. It’s just easier to call them all one thing.
P.P.S. This picture taker thingie is called the Optomap Retinal Exam, not the picture taker thingie as you might have believed. Sorry if you were misled.
(Is it just me or does Rockwell’s song Somebody’s Watching Me pop into your head when you see a photo of an eye?)