I love the optometrist. I hate the optometrist.
If you’re like me and wear glasses or contacts, then you’ll understand. If you’re not like me and was born with perfect vision then, first, up yours, and second, you may still find this interesting. Getting the eye exam done is something that’s supposed to be done yearly, although when I went to the optometrist they found that I hadn’t been back since 1999. Thus, my prescription was out of date. My glasses haven’t bothered me at all, but I figured that four years was enough time to put off the exam. That and it was time to get new contacts. Plus, everyone was telling me, “Dude! You’re supposed to go every year!” My insurance covers part of the exam, so I didn’t see why I shouldn’t go.
Eye exams are mostly automated, save for the last part which is a test that actually measures your judgment. For the first part of the exam, you’re placed in a darkened room so that the machines can shine bright lights into your eyes and take measurements off of your cornea, test your peripheral vision and blind you. Then the second part of the exam occurs, where you’re placed in a darkened room so that the optometrist can shine bright lights into your eyes and look at your retina.
My favorite part of the exam is the machine that checks for glaucoma. The test consists of you placing your chin and forehead in a brace. You remain motionless while the eye health provider aligns a small metal tube directly in front of your eye. That metal tube is an “air” gun that shoots a “puff” at high velocities towards the surface of your eye. This causes your eye to blink, negating the test and forcing you to take it again. Somehow, this checks for glaucoma. Somehow, I am okay with this.
My least favorite part is when they attempt to find out what your prescription is. This part of the exam utilizes a piece of machinery which holds all possible prescriptions of lenses and assorted filters on rotating wheels. Although I’ve never seen myself while in the chair, I assume that I look like a clockwork owl. They dial the lenses to what is supposed to be your “correct” prescription. Then while you’re in the dark, looking at a sequence of letters on the far wall, with a mechanical device which may or may not shoot needles into your eye, they ask the questions.
“Okay, which is clearer? 1?”
The questioning is the maddening portion of the exam, primarily because it is too much like an exam. I also feel that sometimes the optometrist is actually trying to trick me by not changing the lenses at all and just making a “click” noise.
“Or *snicker* 2?”
“Are. . . Are you laughing?”
I got the eye exam about a week ago, and the new prescription was giving me a headache. More accurately, I felt like my depth perception was off. Even more accurately, after about two hours, it felt like the right lobe of my brain was going to secede from the union. So I went back, and they did an even more thorough testing of the vision. What they found was that my eyes are a little more sensitive than most, noticing a .25 difference in the prescription. So they changed it a bit. It turns out that my eyes test for stronger prescriptions than they actually need, so they had to bring them back down.
To the exact same prescription that I had four years ago.
Well, at least I’ve got new lenses now. I guess.